A confectionary tale of do's and don'ts. My journey is to cake perfection. Here's how I'm getting there!
Monday, October 10, 2011
Two Cakes Part Three!
Onto the Pumpkin Roll!
Another surprise party, another surprise cake! My sister-in-law had the idea. I elaborated on it. Her idea: A pumpkin roll with a toy gun sticking out for her hunting husband. Sometimes an idea presents itself that you wouldn't have considered, this was just that! But with a little reflection an idea surfaced. Pumpkin roll - Pumpkin log- Yule log- Tree log- Pumpkin tree log... thats it Pumpkin Tree Log with a gun resting on it! Perfect!
Here goes nothing!
I've never made a Yule log ( a traditional Christmas dessert consisting of a chocolate roll, iced and decorated to look like a log) but was excited to try this variation. Google image searching is one of my favorite ways to come up with or borrow ideas from others. I googled yule logs, real logs, pumpkin rolls, and recipes. Its interesting to see a slew of other chefs, home chefs, pastry chefs, and everyone inbetweens' take on an idea. Some very impressive others much less inspiring. After finding a few good pictures of real and cake logs. I went to work!
Early that week I made three pumpkin rolls. The best thing about these rolls is just how good they are! The rolls freeze beautifully. Wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and then a freezer bag, the rolls will stay fresh frozen for a few weeks.
Caramel Buttercream is first up on the list. The cool part of this recipe is that to end up with caramel buttercream you end up making caramel sauce, italian meringue and buttercream. It sounds daunting but a quick Martha Stewart recipe spelled it out nicely and concisely.
Bring 1/2 cup plus 2 tbs sugar and 1/4 cup water to a boil. Cook until dark amber color. Remove from heat, and slowely add 1/4 cup heavy cream, stir until smooth. (aka caramel) I love cooking sugar, especially caramel. The first time a recipe said to cook to a dark amber color, I had no idea when 'caramel' was coming.... sugar cooks fairly quickly. Once the water is boiled out, the sugar can reach scorching temperatures fast. When you think your at dark amber, take the sugar off the stove and give it a swirl, in this case it's better to err on the side of too light then burnt.
Beat butter with a mixer until pale and fluffy. Lots of recipes require 2 bowls of action. My kitchen aide will always be my first love, but I also enjoy having my hand mixer on 'hand' when cooking. It saves lots of time instead of washing and cleaning your mixer.
Place 4 egg whites and 1/2 cup sugar in a bowl set over a pot of simmering water. Whisk until sguar dissolves and mixtrue registers 160. I over cooked my whites, without them ever getting up to 160 on my candy thermometer. Cook for about 5 minutes whisking until the whites start to form peaks. Attach bowl to mixer and whisk until stiff peaks form about 6 minutes. (aka Italian meringue) Beat in butter in a few additions. (aka Buttercream)
Drizzle in caramel and beat until smooth (aka caramel buttercream) Since the whites were a tad overcooked the finished buttercream was a little grainy, but it was hard to tell unless you really studied it and even then it was still pretty tasty.
Back to the log......
Milk Chocolate Buttercream; beautiful and super easy. The hardest part is buying the chocolate with the amped up prices at the grocery store! Milk chocolate, dark chocolate and soft butter! Done.
Building took three rolls for two logs, held together with more chocolate buttercream
Decorating was much easier than I had anticipated. To get the 'wood' look I covered the rolls in caramel buttercream then with the chocolate buttercream. The chocolate was much softer and very easy to spread. The ridged look came from a fork and a little practice, but the results were pretty accurate.
One thing I love about caking is the learning process. Like I've blogged before I'll probably never make the same cake twice...BUT.... next time I make caramel buttercream I won't over cook the eggs... next time I want to cover a cake board with fondant I'll do it BEFORE I put the cake on it :/ ! There will always be a next cake so there will always be a next time!