Monday, January 24, 2011

Taking The Cake/Making That Bread

Ok, so I'm throwing a lot into this entry, since I didn't have a chance to talk about the last couple days of cakes, and we already started with bread.

On our last day of the cake unit, we made two deliciously awesome cakes. A flourless chocolate cake and a chocolate hazelnut mousse cake. The first, the flourless chocolate cake, was surprisingly easy to make, although there were a couple tricky parts to it. First, since there was no flour in it, the structure is highly unstable and therefore, it collapses as it cools. The way we hid that was actually pretty interesting. First, we covered the whole cake in creme d'or (whipped cream and chocolate), and then we covered the whole cake in chocolate meringue sticks. I have to say, the look of this one was really impressive. It looks like a forest, almost. It was a big hit with Adam's office, although I stupidly didn't take a slice for myself to try.

Next up is the chocolate hazelnut mousse cake. It's pretty straightforward. We made a chocolate hazelnut cake that we divided into 5 layers and filled with a chocolate hazelnut mousse. We decorated the outside with chocolate that was melted down, drizzled on a sheet pan and then chilled. It was like a nutella cake!

Next up is the cake we made for our test. I had a rough time with this. I think I need to sit with a cake for a while and just frost it, remove the frosting, and refrost until I get the hang of it. Anyway, it's a plain genoise cake with vanilla buttercream (pate a bombe style, aka French buttercream), filled with raspberry jam, and decorated with rosettes and marzipan roses. We then wrote "happy birthday" on a sugar plaque. As you can see, my writing needs some work. All in all, this was not my best unit, but I have no doubt that I'll be able to figure it out.

Well, that's it for cakes. On Saturday, we started our bread unit, and I was so excited. We made three kinds of breads...a pain de Provence, petits pains, and Irish soda bread.

The pain de Provence was made with a levain, which is sort of a French version of a sourdough starter. Into the dough, we incorporated herbes de Provence and a lot of olives. Seriously, as we wer trying to knead the dough to get the olives in the bread, they kept popping out the other side. It is necessary to put that much in, though, since once the dough rises, there's more space for them to fit. Anyway, we formed two loaves...a batard (literally, bastard, although really it's just a long bread) and a boule (round bread).

We also made petits pains, or little breads. These were like little baguettes, although not as crusty or airy. They were delicious, though, right out of the oven!

Last, we made Irish Soda Bread, which is a quickbread that is kind of a like a big scone. Ours had currants and caraway seeds in it. It was good, although think we could have toned down the caraway. It was too overpowering, if you ask me.

Anyway, that's it. I'm excited to be doing breads again. It's really fun, and on top of it, we manage to get out of class on time, which is a plus.


  1. The flourless chocolate cake, well I've never seen one disguised like yours. How interesting! Didn't even get to taste it?!? Breads, that's my weakness. Crusty warm nutty/seeded breads. There's a bakery across from the White House in AC called Formica Brothers Bakery Cafe-the best cranberry everything nut boule. You can't eat one slice. When are you making croissants? The best ones I ever tasted (I haven't been to Paris) was at a corner deli in NY near the Waldorf. Buttery, flaky! REading your blog puts me in food memory heaven! Love it! Eileen

  2. I really enjoyed the Irish soda bread. Unfortunately, I don't like olives so I didn't taste the olive bread (Oh, excuse me, pain de Provence avec des olives). The cakes look amazing!


  3. Eileen, we made croissants in December, and I've actually made them at home for a brunch with my friends. We're making more tomorrow, though! Yeah, the breads are my favorite, too. Mom, maybe I can make you the pain de provence sans olives.