Friday, 15 July 2011

The day of the cake monster and the monster cake!

So, because I don’t have a job I can make these wonderful plans with my time, like take an entire day out to build an amazing cake! But because I’m still human, sometimes these great plans don’t work out so well……
Allow me to explain.
Once upon a time there was a girl, (that’s me) who was watching a DVD, (food safari) and she was witness to the most beautiful cake in all the land! This cake, it turned out was a German Prince and all the other cakes admired him greatly, for he was both rich and handsome. That night this girl, lay her head upon her pillow and believe it or not, she dreamed all night long about the German cake Prince.
(Really and truly, I did go to bed and dream about this cake…..It actually permeated my dreams!)
His name was the ‘Black Forrest cake’.
Ladies and gentlemen, I am no stranger to the black forest cake, or at least the version of it sold in our cheap bakeries around town. What I have not met is the R E A L black forest cake. I’ve heard the talk around town, I’ve heard rumors that black forest cakes were something much greater and that they were even something to be revered! But when my eyes finally fell upon such greatness, I confess, I quivered.

Therefore, with now enough time on my jobless hands, two flat whites, a boxful of ingredients and the dedication of my dear friend Kate for the entire ordeal……we began….

It started off a pretty easy day, make butter cake, bake, cool, make chocolate cake, bake, cool. There was a lot of standing around, DVD watching, pots of tea, amazing girly chats and cider guzzling. Things were looking up.

But then the conversation turned slightly.

 There was talk about how the recipe I had acquired off the Internet, perhaps lacked a few minor details (like whether the flour was of the raising sort or the non raising sort). There was also the fact that I had left my electric beater at the church kitchen and then lent out my car for the day leaving us with no way to go retrieve it! There were eggs to beat stiff, whipping cream to whip, butter to cream with sugar and the two of us staring dismally at a whisk. There was the fact that the recipe asked us to make a syrup but then forgot to tell us what to do with it once completed.  A lot of confusion about being asked to beat ‘egg yolks till stiff’ lead to a complete slandering session of ‘food safari’ and it’s clearly incompetent host. Then to top it off, I missed the small note at the bottom of the recipe requiring me to buy more whipped cream and some kirsch! A black forest cake with no alcohol?! Why that isn’t a black forest cake at all!

I am a 'Pollyanna'. I will soldier on despite almost anything that is thrown at me during the journey.  I will soldier on despite the fact that I don't have half the information needed and despite the missing ingredients. I will soldier on despite the fact this cake is going to insult every German baker and black forest cake lover that has ever, and ever will live on this earth.

There is a point when one must admit they have been defeated.

I failed. There is no point dancing around the fact that the cake was a complete disaster.

We began to realize this halfway through the ‘construction’. Things started well, as indeed they had at the dawn of the day, but soon we realized that the mousse perhaps was a little runny. The ganache was far too firm and the layering? Well, how can I say this? It just looked…..’off’.

As the construction went on we tried desperately to rescue the poor cakes physical appearance, but with each new attempt we somehow made it worse, till finally we fell on the floor in tears of hysterical laughter at the monstrosity that we had created.

I, the cake monster, had in return created a monster cake.
“Oh c’mon”, you might say, “how could it be that bad?”
Well, I will let the cake speak for itself:....

Perhaps this would have been a better picture huh?

Okay, okay, let me make this worse by putting it in comparison. Here’s what should of happened:

Point made? I think so.
You know what was really disappointing? The saddest truth of all was that it didn’t even taste that good. We shared a slice between us and it was completely forgettable.

Boring! Dead boring monster cake!
The only good thing that came of this whole adventure was that for all our slandering, it was the mousse recipe, the one that asked us to 'beat the egg yolks till stiff', actually turned out to be the best mousse recipe I have ever come across. We even relented all our slander it was so good. Therefore this part of the recipe I will pass on to you. Enjoy.

Better luck next time cake monster.

Monster Cake Mousse:
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 100ml whole milk
  • 150g top quality dark chocolate
  • generous pinch of salt
  • 200ml whipping cream
Beat egg yolks with sugar till stiff (ish).
Meanwhile, gently warm milk in a saucepan. Remove it from heat and stir in beaten egg yolks, then return to a medium heat and cook for a further 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently. (Do not let it boil!)

Finely chop the chocolate and place in a mixing bowl. Pour over warm milk and stir till all the chocolate melts. Add salt then leave to cool.

Whip cream till soft peaks form, then fold the cream into cooled chocolate mixture.

Refrigerate till needed.

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