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Old 03-23-2009, 09:13 PM   #1
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How to finish cake?

So I'm making a cake and I'm totally stumped as to how to finish it.

Basically, it's a combination of a chocolate hazelnut sponge, walnut coffee buttercream, and caramel filling. It's all layered into a large bowl (like a charlotte) that's basically a hemisphere with a flat top (like a volcano). It will be frozen and then unmolded.

I just can't think of how to finish the thing. I could glaze it with chocolate ganache, but that's just boring, and besides, I don't really want it to be a chocolate dessert. I want chocolate to be kept to a minimum and to let the caramel and walnut and coffee speak for themselves.

But now I don't know how to finish. I can sprinkle with ground walnut, but that just seems like it will be messy and ugly. Piping borders is not very practical with a hemisphere, so I'm not crazy about that idea. I could top it with an Italian meringue and blowtorch it, but again, I'm not sure that's going to look much better than just leaving it uncovered, and I think the meringue might make the taste cloying.

Can anyone think of a coffee or walnut themed topping or any glaze / topping that will compliment the ingredients and still look slick and classy? Simple is best.

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Old 03-23-2009, 09:25 PM   #2
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Wow. Tough one. What about sprinkling a design on it with espresso? I can see what you are looking for, but I'm not feeling terribly creative at the moment. Hopefully Laurie will swing by with some great ideas.
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Old 03-23-2009, 09:30 PM   #3
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Wow. Tough one. What about sprinkling a design on it with espresso?


I like that idea. It works with the coffee theme, but I'm just not sure how to do it. Do I just dust it on and hope for the best? Do I go for some kind of pattern?
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Old 03-23-2009, 09:38 PM   #4
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I'd find a nice doily (paper one) and put that on the cake then shake the espresso powder over that. Gently lift the doily and the design should be there.
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Old 03-23-2009, 09:40 PM   #5
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I don't know... I can't really cover the whole cake with a dolly. It would only be the top, right?
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Old 03-23-2009, 10:16 PM   #6
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The espresso idea is a good one.

I have a caramel mousse recipe that I can PM you. It is very light and wouldn't take away from the flavours of the cake. You could "ice" it with that and sprinkle some chopped toasted walnuts and espresso powder.

Let me know. I just remembered I owe Barbara L. the recipe so I will start typing it out!

Your cake sounds wonderful by the way!
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Old 03-24-2009, 01:50 AM   #7
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I am not the best at comming up with ideas for decorating cakes, but i will try and help.

How about you put another layer of buttercream on top. It could be same flavor one you made before, or maybe a similar one with a little variation. I know I can never have too much buttercream on a cake for my tastes. What about a simple carmel chocolate sauce. Maybe don't cover the whole cake with the chocolate carmel sauce, just pipe a cool design out of it.

If I come up with any ideas I will share them. Not sure if they are good ideas, but I might come up with one good one.
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Old 03-24-2009, 01:53 AM   #8
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Do you need a topping or can you just add some garnishes? Maybe some sugar designs, or tuile, or maybe even some cool chocolate decorations. You can mix in some coloring to make the chocolate decorations different colors.
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Old 03-24-2009, 09:31 AM   #9
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jasonr, a big enough doily will cover the whole cake, top and sides. Try the dollar store, they have all sizes.
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Old 03-24-2009, 10:28 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alix View Post
Wow. Tough one. What about sprinkling a design on it with espresso? I can see what you are looking for, but I'm not feeling terribly creative at the moment. Hopefully Laurie will swing by with some great ideas.
What a great idea! You might cut the espresso powder 1/3 with sifted confectioners sugar. You can use a shaker to get the stuff on the sides, and cut a circle from a lacy doily and shake the mixture through that for the top.

Or, you could frost it with Kahlua Whipped Cream.
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Old 03-24-2009, 10:29 AM   #11
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The espresso idea is a good one.

I have a caramel mousse recipe that I can PM you. It is very light and wouldn't take away from the flavours of the cake. You could "ice" it with that and sprinkle some chopped toasted walnuts and espresso powder.

Let me know. I just remembered I owe Barbara L. the recipe so I will start typing it out!

Your cake sounds wonderful by the way!
I "need" that Caramel Mousse recipe, too, Laurie!
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Old 03-24-2009, 08:03 PM   #12
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Quote:
The espresso idea is a good one.

I have a caramel mousse recipe that I can PM you. It is very light and wouldn't take away from the flavours of the cake. You could "ice" it with that and sprinkle some chopped toasted walnuts and espresso powder.

Let me know. I just remembered I owe Barbara L. the recipe so I will start typing it out!

Your cake sounds wonderful by the way!
I'd love to see the caramel mousse recipe.

I've decided, by the way, to cut out the caramel from the cake as a filling. I'm worried that the caramel will be too hard when chilled in the fridge, so it's out.
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Old 03-24-2009, 08:22 PM   #13
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Ok, I think I know where it's going. The charlotte idea is out the door. It's pointless to use the mold since it just makes finishing a pain in the butt.

It's going to be a straight layer cake.

Two layers of flourless hazelnut sponge, filled with coffee milk chocolate mousse. Then I can do a border using masking ganache (either straight or squiggly lines around the sides) and on top I'll pipe out some shells using stabilized chantilly cream flavoured with hazelnut liqueur.

I can finish with a sprinkling of caramelized hazelnuts.
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Old 03-24-2009, 08:35 PM   #14
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Pictures please Jason. Since we don't get to taste it we need to at least SEE it.
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Old 03-24-2009, 08:37 PM   #15
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I would love to see a picture of it as well. It sounds delicious.
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Old 03-24-2009, 08:41 PM   #16
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I'll definitely take a photo when I make it this weekend.

It's going to be one of the desserts at my parents' passover seder coming up in a few weeks.
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Old 03-29-2009, 01:05 AM   #17
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Well here it is.

I thought it worked pretty well overall, even if there were a few glitches with the masking ganache on the side. (I probably should have let the cake freeze a little longer before pulling the acetate off, which is what caused some of the stripes not to imprint). Next time I will use caramelized hazelnuts instead of the drizzled dark chocolate on top.

So the final cake:

Three layers of flourless chocolate / almond sponge, filled with coffee milk chocolate mousse, topped with frangelico whipped cream (stabilized with gelatin) with ganache stripes on the sides and drizzled dark chocolate on top.
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Old 03-29-2009, 09:22 PM   #18
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gotta tell you that cake is awesome. now can i have a piece?
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Old 03-29-2009, 09:45 PM   #19
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A virtual piece :)

Actually, I've now decided that the cake is out the window. It is being replaced with something much simpler and better.

Flourless chocolate cake discs (3 inches) topped with a scoop of home-made Tahitian vanilla bean ice cream, drizzled with a generous amount of hot chocolate sauce.

I just tested the flourless cake tonight. It's not as rich as the cake I usually use for this recipe (which uses flour) but it should still do the job.
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Old 03-29-2009, 11:20 PM   #20
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Oh, Jason, that cake looks gorgeous and your new idea is oh so decadent.

Sorry everyone who wants the caramel mousse, I will get it to you - I have been snowed under with tastings for my weddings, baking for two events this week and looking after my Dad.

It will come very soon!
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