Monday, November 30, 2009

Guava and White Chocolate Mousse Cake



This cake was actually made short after the previous cake for another good friend of mine, Hengky. Their birthday is only three days apart and every year, we always combine the celebration including the cake. So we usually pick the day in the middle of the two birthdays od pick one of them, depending which one falls on weekend. They were always okay with it (I think, it's not like they have a say in this :D), but this year, they clearly said that they wanted a separate birthday a few weeks prior to their birthday. So, that means two cakes, two celebrations, two everything, sigh..\. One of the reasons that I got from them is that they wanted two cakes, they don't want a combined cake (talk about spoiled again :P). H like cheesecake in particular, while A likes pretty much everything.

This one was no different than the previous one, I mean he literally said that I need to be creative and surprise him with something that he didn't expect. I thought he was going to say that he wanted cheesecake for sure because he's been talking about it for several times already. So I wasn't really worried since cheesecake is easy, but after he said that I should be creative, my brain started to work hard. When someone gives me that opportunity to be creative, I'll think of something that I've never tried before, but this time, I chose something that I've already made previously, twice!



Remember the two guava cakes I made before, here and here? If you read those posts before, you would know that I wasn't satisfied with the result. I mean the cake tasted great, it's just that I barely tasted the guava flavor. I used guava extract for the first one (which tasted like candy), and guava juice concentrate for the second one (this one has a bright pink color but nothing taste like guava). I think I mentioned this before, but I brought back some pink guava puree from Indonesia that I pureed myself. The color was so vibrant and sweet, and strong and I was saving it for special occasion. Well, I think it's time for me to use it. Things didn't go as well as I thought, mainly because of the grainy texture of guava puree. If you've had guava before, you would understand the "grainy texture" that I'm talking about. I didn't notice it when I pureed it back then but when I thawed the puree, the juice actually separate from the pulp and I ended up using the pulp only. You can see from the picture above the grainy bits in the mousse. This is not what I had imagined. I imagined a soft pink mousse that smooth and creamy and light. The texture was really bothering me, and I mean REALLY bothering me the whole night and the whole day after, but there's nothing I can do about it. All I could do was just wished that the taste is fine. Oh by the way, the inside is a base of joconde with white chocolate mousse in the bottom layer, then goes the second joconde with smaller size 6" (I had this in my freezer :D), and on top of it is thin guava jelly, and guava mousse on top of that. The top surface was glaze with clear glaze.



I brought it to another friend's house, where the dinner was held and gave it to someone to put in the fridge. When the dinner was over, I was looking for the cake because it hasn't even decorated yet, the cake ring was still intact (yes, I was that busy) and I was gonna finish everything off before the cake cutting. I couldn't find the cake in the fridge and to my surprise, they put it in a room temperature under a hot lamp for about one hour!!! I almost passed out. I knew that the white chocolate mousse needed more gelatin and that it's not firm enough, let alone letting it sit under hot lamp for an hour??? Luckily the cake ring is still there and so there's something that hold it in place. After giving a short "speech" to some people not to let a mousse cake sitting at room temperature, I began decorating it. As expected, the mousse was really soft even after I put it in the fridge for ten minutes. I know it won't help, but that's the longest time I can put it in there since everybody was waiting.

The cake was still super soft when cut, and thus making it look ugly. I couldn't stand watching it butchered but I'm still glad that everybody liked it, except one person that's skeptical about anything irregular (he didn't even taste it). Oh well, his loss as the cake was well-received by everyone. Well, we come from the same tropical country and I know for sure that we do love this exotic fruit. I still have some puree left that I planned to make guava chiffon cake with it sometime. But I'm still curious about the texture though. I'm going to order those pink guava puree online and see it they have the same texture. Only then I can rest assured that my guava puree was normal :). Anyways, Happy Birthday Hengky!



ps: Sorry for the bad picture quality. It was really difficult to get a good shot at night
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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Caramel Mousse Cake with Flambeed Bananas and Creme Brulee Filling



Early November is always a busy time for me as so many birthdays are happening in the first two weeks of November. We have quite a few people among our group of friends, and when you have about 15 of them or so, you will need to make lots of birthday cakes! Sometimes I wonder if it's a mistake giving your friends so many cakes to try. At first, I thought that I had the advantages because I'd have "victims" for all of my experiment cakes, but maybe it is not always true. You see, when you spoiled them with many cakes, their taste buds started to grow and become more picky. They know what they like and what they don't and that's when you know that they're really spoiled.

It was Aldo's birthday this time, it was on November 6th. Having eaten so many of my cakes, this guy knows enough to know that I really like to use strawberries and raspberries and its friends, especially during summer. You can really tell by the amount of pink cakes I have on summer. You won't see any chocolate or caramel or winter flavor at all when summer is here. So I guess he got a little tired of it and requested that his birthday cake must be different. He allowed me to experiment but not with fruits again, the exact words that he said was "surprise me". Oy! But okay, I guess it's an opportunity for me to get a headstart on fall flavors. To be honest, even though I have the advantage of finding berries pretty easily at this time of the year in California, I got pretty tired of it too. I'm ready for something different and for some reason, I always thought that caramel is the perfect flavor for fall.

I made caramel mousse once before but the caramel flavor wasn't too pronounced, although overall, the cake turned out great. I wanted more this time so I began to think of what other flavors go great with caramel. I immediately thought of banana, and creme brulee too. Since I couldn't decide which one goes better, I decided to use all three flavors in the same cake, brilliant! The hardest part is that I didn't have any solid recipe that I have tried before. So since Aldo was kindly "allowing" me to experiment, I thought hey, it's your own fault if it doesn't turn out great, right? :D



But anyways, I started with a base of chocolate sponge (thank God for leftover sponge which makes my life a lot easier). I moistened the cake with brandy and topped it with caramelized and flambeed bananas. A thin layer of caramel mousse goes on top of it, then I put vanilla bean creme brulee that I have frozen beforehand on top of the mousse. More mousse layer on top, apply the cocoa brush, and a layer of clear glaze. I felt that there wasn't enough mousse because the end result was not as high as I expected, but it turned out ok afterall. I used to associate caramel with sickly sweet, sticky stuff that makes your teeth screaming when you bite into it, but it was nothing like it. It is nowhere near "too sweet", I added salt since I didn't have salted butter (salted butter goes great with caramel), not because it was too sweet but just to balance the flavor.

In the end, I was pleased with the result. Although the decoration is super simple (I didn't want to overcrowd it with lots of stuff on top), I think it looked okay. I was so glad that it was a hit with everyone. I don't normally like to eat banana by itself, but you really can't go wrong with banana cake or dessert, especially when it's paired up with caramel and creme brulee! I have the picture of the inside this time. Happy Birthday Aldo!


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Mocha Chiffon Cake



This one will be a short post.

Kiki emailed me on Wenesday/Thursday two weeks ago if I would have time to make a birthday cake for Karen, one of our friends at church. The birthday was actually a month ago, but we're so bad that we forgot about it :(. So Kiki and friends were planning on having a belated birthday lunch on Sunday, well, it's better late than never right? :D

Karen likes anything mocha, and she loves mocha chiffon cake. I was originally going to make another type of mocha cake since it's for a birthday (besides, she already had a plain mocha chiffon cake for her birthday too last year), but the term "mocha cake" is so general. We decided last minute that we'll just go ahead with mocha chiffon cake due to time limitation. I love making chiffon as it is very easy and the result is always satisfying, not to mention very very light. This time, I made it into mocha-rum chiffon cake and frost it with rum buttercream. A little dusting of cocoa powder and pirouette cookies, and it's done. It's very very simple in my opinion, but I hope everybody enjoyed it :).



I made extra batter so that I can use this mini chiffon pan that I bought a while ago. They're personal size, about 4" in diameter, aren't they cute? :D. I have not been doing a good job in posting new cakes lately. It's not that I don't make as much cakes because I do. But some of them were just plain pandan chiffon cakes and Indonesian cheese cake that I'm sure you all are bored with already. I didn't even take any picture of them because I made them so often. But I will be posting quite a few cakes in the next few days as I have them waiting to be posted already :)
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A Lovely Bridal Shower for Kathy





It seems like everybody around me is getting married now and I feel so happy for them!
This bridal shower happened almost three weeks ago (yeah, I know it was a long time ago and pardon me for my lack of post lately :( ). It was a week after Yossi's bridal shower, but I didn't need to make a dessert table for it, and also it was on Sunday which made it a lot better because that means that I have the whole Saturday (or almost) to work on it, yay! This cake was pretty straight forward and not as stressful as the dessert table (don't get me wrong, I totally enjoyed making it) since Kathy, the bride-to-be, has decided from the very beginning what kind of cake she wanted, which is Indonesian cheese cake with vanilla and pandan sponge alternating between layers. It's the same cake that I made for her sister, Vicky's wedding cake a while ago. Deciding what type of cake has always been the hardest part for me, so I was so relieved that she knew what she wanted, and an easy one at that too!

Decoration is the second hardest thing after the type of cake itself, but this time, it wasn't as difficult. There was no theme or anything, the invitation mentioned to wear something pretty a.k.a dress, colorful one if possible to match Kathy's cheerful personality. I immediately thought of pink and brown cake. I have been wanting to make a cake with these two color combo for the longest time. I had seen a lot of cake with these two colors and I totally fall in love with it, but so far, I had never get any opportunity or the perfect occasion for it. The color is modern, but still has femininity and girlishness to it. It also gives a cheerful and playful feeling, which I think totally matches Kathy's personality (she LOVES Disney too :D). So the cake and the color are set, next, I need to come up with the design.



After a few days of trying to find inspiration here and there, I decided to make something similar to this .http://carriescakes.com/cakes/399.jpg. This site has been my inspiration and it has a lot of gorgeous designs that I can only dreamt of making. Everything in their side is perfection. They have a pink and brown cake design that I really like. It is simple, clean, and yet so elegant. I have seen similar cake out there with similar design as well. Since Kathy's cake would be 9" and 6" tiered cake only (instead of 4-tiered cake), I need to think how to incorporate the color and the design without making it looking too busy or too plain, and here's what I came up with.

It was my first time using chocolate fondant (it is chocolate-flavored fondant and not just brown-colored fondant). I want to thank Hany SO MUCH for giving me this chocolate fondant for this cake. She even gave me more thatn what I needed! I couldn't imagine how many bottles of coloring I will need if I were to color it myself and it wouldn't be as good either. I would imagine the texture will be too soft due to the amount of the coloring. She has been a HUGE help in helping me out with almond powder (for Yossi's shower) and this chocolate fondant, not to mention the other tips she has. I learned that it's a bit harder to work with dark-colored fondant because the white from confectioners' sugar that doesn't dissolve, will really show in the finished products, making it look dirty. It is not so much of a problem before because I always used pastel color and it wasn't so obvious. I wish I could make the ribbon a lot thinner and a lot more neat, but overall, I think it's acceptable :). I brushed the ribbon with pink pearl dust to give it that shiny look, but I guess it wasn't really showing no matter how much dust I applied. oh well....




I also made a strawberry panna cotta dessert for this shower. It is the same idea as the mango panna cotta for Yossi's shower, but made with strawberries (the idea came from Cannelle-vanille). I was thinking that a light fruity dessert would fit really well since there will be other desserts that were more filling. This time, I didn't use that wine glasses to assemble my dessert (I have learned my lesson) and instead uses this mini 5.5oz tumblers. This is the smallest size I could find, even though I opted for something smaller, maybe 4 oz, but no luck. I was just glad the I found these because I didn't when I was looking for it for Yossi's shower.

It turned out that the cake and the dessert fitted really well with the decoration. There were red roses in a bucket, pink tablecloth, red plates and napkins, even the drink is pink! So the cake and the dessert have the perfect color to match! There were some Indonesian savory snacks too made by Yeye that were really yummy and everything was really sweet and nice. We only cut the bottom 9" tier for the guest to enjoy after the event, and Kathy took home the top 6" tier ( she later informed me that she and Vicky, her sister, finished the cake in one day!!).



In the end, I was so glad that everything was going great and congratulations again to Richard and Kathy! Wish you both all the happiness and great life together.




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