Saturday, September 3, 2011

Almost Peachy perfection & how I got there

It was almost a masterpiece, it was almost perfection personified by peachy and apricoty, dare i say, devilishness. Could have been, should have been, will be the next time around, but will there really be a next time around? Surely the next one will have to be different, human nature dictates that us the most complex creatures of habit enjoy just that the habit of eating what we love.  The next person, inevitably, selfishly will want a cake for themselves, a flavor that they like.  I say selfishly of course only becuase secretly and of my own selfish desires do I need a reason to reach the pinnacle of Peachy perfection, but even my own motivation doesn't drive that deep as to recreate over and over the same cake for the same captive audience; my husband and puppy. So with that 'said' here's how I almost mastered that cake and what i would do, will do if ever the chance presents itself again.

It started with a Mousseline buttercream.  Just the name sounded smooth and rich, just what I had in mind.  The peachy apricoty bliss started with a simple question; What does your grandmother like? My audience always has the first say in what to make, I have the last. I've been reading and following almost to the letter "The cake Bible" by Rose Beranbaum.  My favorite part of her books is that each and every recipe works out just like its supposed too.  The rest of the cake fell neatly in place after this.  Peaches, apricots, white cake, Schnaps, mousseline and delight!  The first thing was to find just the right apricots my goal was to find California apricots but even at the local farmers market found nothing but smaller staler turkish ones.  I'll save you all the trouble of looking in different places, look in any chain grocery store. They sell dried fruit and bags of California apricots, the price is the only downfall of these more plump more orange dried fruits.

The apricot puree was wonderful, the peach simple syrup peachy, and the two layers of white cake level.  All the components just right.  I decided to put about 1 1/2 cups of simple syrup over the cooked cakes to ensure they would be moist even after the freezer.  Yes the freezer. I much rather imprison myself in the kitchen the day before and bring the finished freshly baked cake to its destination, but real life and babies make that mostly impossible, most definitely improbable. The cake was scented with peaches from the Schnaps but hopelessly crumbly when it thawed.  The cake was still attached to its parchment paper wrap to keep it from sticking to the pan, the syrup seemed to pool too much around the corners making it hard to frost even with a crumb coat set in place.  It also was a hassle to cut the 9x13 layers in half to fill, and then even more of a hassle to stack them again once the filling was in place.  SInce it was a 4 layer cake, pre-freezing next time I think I would rather have cut the layers in 1/2 immediately filled them with the apricot puree then froze the 2 layers.  Thawing the layers out later, I would have only had to stack two- two layer cakes instead of 4 layers.

The last oversight was the bueatiful mousseline buttercream.  It came together perfectly, but the attention I paid to making it perfect got lost when it came to quantity made.  I had planned on doing a apricot layer, a peach buttercream layer followed by another apricot, but looking at my half filled mixer bowl, I realized this was just not going to work.  Quickly scrouging to see what I could do (and not having time or stamina to make more buttercream) a frozen tub of cool whip came to my rescue.  ( Later my father-in-law asked what the light creamy middle was, when I told him cool whip he looked surprised, I think because he couldn't believe in an entirely made from scratch cake I would use such an ingredient, but also because it tasted just right and really good... I was surprised too) The coolwhip was the light layer the cake needed. The mousseline was delicious but very rich and almost too much.

After frosting and placing peach slices on the top, I found my next skill I needed to master or at least attempt.... piping and decorating with buttercream.  The smoother I tried to get the sides the more uneven they seemed.  I went the route of casual mishmash white buttercream with a little peach tinted swirl, but only because my skill was laking in any other design. In her book Rose has a 'practice buttercream', and that is exactly what I intend to do.  Just one more skill to learn on the road to cake perfection.

No comments:

Post a Comment