Clockwise from bottom left: Woody's Lemon Luxury Layer Cake, Dulce de Leche cheesecake, Moist Chocolate Raspberry Genoise, Genoise Tres Cafe, A Taste of Heaven, and Blueberry cheesecake
I baked a few delicious cakes that I got from Rose Levy Beranbaum's cake books for my mother-in-law's family reunion last Saturday and I was told that these cakes were a hit! I asked my husband, who attended the event, to bring home a few thin slices of each so I could have a taste since it was the first time I ever made these. Now, after eating all of them (during breakfast I might add LOL) I could now say that they were really good and I know now which ones I would be baking again and again. I made Moist Chocolate Raspberry Genoise, Genoise Tres Cafe, and Woody's Lemon Luxury Cake from Rose's Heavenly Cakes and another genoise from RLB's Cake Bible called A Taste of Heaven which is her version of a Swiss favorite called Zuger Kirschtorte. All of the cakes were a little tedious to make and were also in a way a gamble for me since I pretty much have zero experience in making genoise. But given how well-received the cakes were and how appropriate they were to the formality of the occasion, I'm glad I took the risk! I am also thankful that I got the chance to practice making genoise and understand the complexities involved in creating these fragile cakes. When it comes to these cakes, definitely practice makes perfect.
Here are the pics of the cakes as well as my feedback regarding taste, etc. I wasn't able to take detailed photos of the steps in making each of them (obviously due to their fragile nature) but I did have a little fun with the decor...
1. Moist Chocolate Raspberry Genoise (This is my favorite out all of the cakes I made for that night)
|Brushed the berries with a little thinned corn syrup to add shine|
|Ran out of red raspberries so I used blackberries instead|
|Taken at the event, prior to plating|
Rose's description of this cake in her introduction is absolutely true: this cake is intensely chocolatey. And why wouldn't it be? The entire recipe uses about 18 ounces (!) of 60% chocolate (and I used the best that I could find) not to mention the unsweetened cocoa powder mixed into the chocolate syrup. The raspberry sauce and Chambord liqueur that flavored the ganache and chocolate syrup was just the right amount for the quantity of chocolate used that you get just a flavorful hint of berries in the end. I think this would be absolutely yummy eaten with a glass of champagne flavored with Chambord.
2. Genoise Tres Cafe
I decided to make 2 layers of this cake instead of a single 9" round cake called for in the recipe as I found it quite small for a cake that's supposed to feed a party of 50. I also doubled the chocolate ganache recipe and syrup to accommodate the changes I made. Icing the layers with the ganache was a challenge because the ganache would melt within just a few minutes at room temperature (thanks to our very high humidity) so it was difficult to create swirls or other designs. I ended up encircling the cake with chocolate twigs (which I had on hand) and dusting the tops with cocoa powder which did a nice job concealing the flaws LOL. I really would've done more if the ganache was a lot more forgiving but looking at the photo of this cake now I think adding shaved chocolate would've added a nice effect on top. As for how the cake tastes, it's really good if you're a coffee lover. I find that the longer it stays in the refrigerator the more mellow the coffee flavor becomes. I also can't really distinguish the difference in taste between instant espresso and coffee. Can you? I used Medaglia D'Oro and honestly, it tastes just like any other instant coffee I can buy here in our supermarket.
3. Woody's Lemon Luxury Layer Cake
The white chocolate buttercream was so delicious and really goes well with the lemon curd. I wonder why the icing turned out whiter than the picture in Rose's book though which looked really yellow. I thought I was going to have issues with the white chocolate custard as it wouldn't blend with the melted butter but adding the eggs even when the two were separated actually helped the mixture emulsify. I wonder if others who made this buttercream had similar issues.
4. A Taste of Heaven (The Cake Bible)
This is a very elegant cake which utilizes some of my favorite ingredients -- Almonds and Kirsch. This is composed of a 9" heart-shaped genoise cake sandwiched between 2 layers of heart-shaped almond dacquoise which I found surprisingly easy to put together. I loved how intense the flavor of the almonds were because of the Kirsch (a match made in cake heaven!) and the added texture of the dacquoise and toasted almond coating. Next time though I will lessen the Kirsch as it made the icing a bit watery.
Baking all of these cakes in one weekend made me miss baking healthy wholegrain breads....off to the kitchen again!