(and some reflections about the cake disasters)
Every time when I start baking a special celebration cake I worry that something will go wrong. In the majority of cases the project indeed doesn’t follow my initial plan due to unexpected (or not well planned) situations. But in all these cases I’ve managed eventually to make the cakes edible and representable, even if I wasn’t then completely happy with the results…
Same thing happened this time. I haven’t baked cakes for many months and now I had the perfect occasion: the party for the new born baby of one of my best friends. My initial idea was to make a rolled cake covered with fondant and elegantly decorated with butterflies and flowers: not too much details, just few nice and light shapes in pinkish shades over a white background.
In addition I wanted to bake also some cookies and to decorate them with fondant.
The cookies preparation went relatively fine, as there was nothing too much complicated. The only “fail” was that the taste was not very impressive. I made honey cookies with citrus flavor instead of cinnamon to avoid feeling a typical Christmas aroma in July, but apparently the experiment wasn’t too successful. It’s not that they weren’t good at all, just the honey-citrus taste seemed a bit unusual to me.
I started the cake two days before the event, as I wanted to avoid rushing in the last moment in case baking didn’t go well. And the issue came up soon: the baked base, rolled and filled with the cream, ended up too small for my cake ring. On top of this I didn’t manage to cut it in even stripes and it became higher on one side. But the situation didn’t worry me too much: I am now more experienced in cake disasters after having handled several of them. I suddenly remembered that I had in the drawer a pack of savoiardi biscuits (waiting for a tiramisu that will not be prepared soon) that could resolve the current problem. I arranged a layer of these biscuits all around the cake and some more on the top (as it wasn’t even). Then I turned the cake upside down and the first problem was fixed.
Very happy with the solution, I covered the cake with butter cream to get it ready for the fondant. On the next morning I started to prepare the covering sheet. Strangely the fondant challenged me quite a lot this time. As I have already used the same brand before without problems, it was quite surprising for me to realize that this time I wasn’t able to cover the cake without the sheet getting all cracked and broken. After the second try I decided to leave it with the cracks and the holes and to patch it with the decoration… This wasn’t ideal, but I couldn’t find a better solution. To cover well the holes I had to put many butterflies on one side, too many actually. This was against the initial idea for elegant and simple decoration. The cake ended up quite showy with so many butterflies and flowers spread around randomly. It wasn’t really too bad, but I haven’t imagined it this way.
The good thing was that my friend liked it very much. The taste was also well appreciated so at the end the cake wasn’t a disaster. The little lady probably would have appreciated it too, but she is still too young to care about cakes. I will certainly ask for her opinion in a few years, as we have made enough pictures to remember this nice event 🙂
Base (the recipe is from Dimitrana’s blog)
8 egg yolks
4 egg whites
100g white sugar
1vanilla powder (I admit that I didn’t use lemon zest because I was lazy to grate it)
pinch of salt
Preheat oven to 230°C. Whisk the egg yolks with the salt, vanilla and one spoon of the sugar. Beat the egg whites with the rest of the sugar until stiff peaks form. Add gradually the yolks, the flour and the starch to the egg whites and mix carefully. Pour the batter into a big rectangular pan (the best size is 30×40 cm, but mine is 30×37) lined with baking paper. Bake around 8-10 minutes, depending on the oven. When ready, take the base out of the oven and roll it on a humid towel after removing the baking paper. Cut it in equally wide stripes (3x10cm or 5x6cm). When the base is completely cooled spread cream on each stripe and roll them one over another (I guess my rolling technique was not good so I ended up with a very small cake).
In case the savoiardi biscuits are required as well: they have to be arranged all around the cake with some cream spread between them and the cake base.
100g morello cherry jam
3-4 tbs caster sugar
Mix all the products using a food processor (especially if there are whole cherries in the jam). Spread the cream on the cooled base and arrange the cake.
Under the fondant sheet there should be always a layer of butter cream. This time I prepared it with around 150g butter, 100g caster sugar and 50g biscuit crumbs. The crumbs are useful especially in cases when the cake is too moist, but I often add them just in case.
I hope everyone enjoyed eating the cake as I enjoyed preparing it 🙂 You can enjoy some pictures, if you like them 🙂
The cookies recipe is same as this one but I substituted all the spices with liquid citrus flavour.