Cake day today and I have to admit the cake won!
Cake day actually started yesterday with baking and basic assembly. I altered the recipe quite a bit to fix moisture balance in the cake. The seasoning blend got changed up as well. After the earlier test run and comments from 12 tasters their bottom line was that this was too highly spiced. They didn't like the clove flavor and found the rum was overkill and when I asked them about the coffee they could not taste it at all. Too many flavors soooo... I cut the nutmeg in half, took the clove out entirely, added some red pepper and used walnuts instead of pecans. My version has no coffee, traditional buttercream (no rum) and a prune and dried cherry purree between the layers.
8 AM Yesterday: I made 2 complete recipes of cake in 4 10 inch pans. Yup - I doubled the recipe.
11 AM: I made the fruit filling, chocolate buttercream and then after some tasting added cocoa pwd and some butter to the fruit filling (not too much) but it deepened the flavor nicely. heck what's a little extra butter when there's 6 sticks of butter in the cake already.
2 PM: I assembled the layers making a dam of butter cream near the edge of each round. I only used 3 layers - not 4, and added a generous layer of fruit between each. Then I put a crumb coat of buttercream on the whole thing and stuck it in the fridge. The fourth layer got halved and treated the same way. It will be decorated and served at the kids table with some toffee icecream.
3 PM: Dish washing commenced. OMG!!! I have never used so many dishes to make a cake in my entire life! The big chocolate cake they sell at costco is looking better and better. 12 bucks - no dishes.
4:30 PM: I sit down to watch the youtube video of the ribbon making process in prep for the next step.
Almost every comment I read at Bon Appetits blog regarding this cake said "the cake was fun to make but time consuming and used a lot of dishes. They also said they never bothered with the ribbons....
Today was ganache and ribbon day. I've never actually made modeling chocolate before. Can you buy this stuff premade? What a hassle! I would like to point out that the youtube video never really shows the ribbons being made.... just the before and after. There's a reason - I'm sure they couldn't show all the cussing. The recipe says to heat chocolate, mix in corn syrup, cool and then knead. Kneading implies some sort of supple product that you can bend to your will. Instead I got hard, crumbly, miserable %$#*&(#@! Oh never mind.... eventually it came together.
So - the cake is finally done. I have to say, I haven't eaten any yet but could never imagine that any cake would be good enough to warrant this level of hassle - ever. My kitchen is a mess, there is chocolate everywhere. I'm tired and it will be a long time before I'm interested in a project that involves modeling chocolate... But it's done. In the last 2 days I've used 16 eggs, 9 sticks of butter, unspeakable amounts of chocolate - maybe 6 lbs, 3 cups of nuts, cups and cups of sugar and flour, 2 rolls of paper towels, and the list goes on. I've washed loads of dishes, cleaned counters more times than I can count and invented some new 4 letter words. That which does not kill me, etc.
Here are some pics. Clearly I have a lot to learn about working with modeling chocolate still... one pic before bows - one after.
Forget love... I'd rather fall in chocolate!