Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Not Your Usual Birthday Song and Cake

Thanks to this month’s DB challenge, brought to us by our fearless founders Lis and Ivonne and newbies Fran and Shea, I was able to make my in-laws a special birthday cake for their double birthday. In the spirit of the Opera cake challenge, we brought the cake to the table while singing “Happy Birthday” in our best operatic voices. The singing was hilarious due to our almost tone-deaf rendition, but the cake was a huge hit!

Like what I imagine a well choreographed opera would be to bring to the stage, there was much preparation in advance of the birthday dinner. I was grateful for a recipe that could be prepped and assembled mostly all in advance and I took advantage of that by spreading out the steps over 2 days.

I decided to keep the flavours clean by sticking to an almond and vanilla palette. The simple syrup was flavoured with almond extract and the buttercream had hints of almond as well. The jaconde was a pleasure to make. I mistakenly bought whole almonds rather than blanched so the texture was a little “grittier” than I would have liked but it still turned out light and moist.

The buttercream was fabulous although I did have my first curdling experience. My mixture cooled down too much before I added all of the butter resulting in a disappointing mess in my mixer. Thanks to past DB challenges, I figured out the problem and solution quickly. I reheated 25% of the mixture and whipped it back in to bring it all together. It was silky, smooth and I would double the amount next time to make sure everyone got a generous helping.

The white chocolate ganache/mousse was a wonderful addition to the cake. The delicate flavour was enhanced by the addition of Baileys. I think this was my favourite layer of the cake. My only disappointment was the white chocolate glaze which I found a little too sweet and overpowering – especially covering the delicate flavour of the underlying mousse. I would either make a thinner layer in the future or try to find a substitute. Thanks again to my talented neighbourhood photographer Jason who took stunning pictures again this month. The DB experience wouldn’t be so much fun if I had to muddle my way through the photography and food styling process with my little point and shoot camera!



Mary said...

your cake is so pretty! Nice job!

Dolores said...

Wow... what a stunning contribution to a double-birthday celebration. Your "simple" cake is breathtaking. And kudos to Jason for his beautiful photographs.

Sandicita said...

Wow! I'm in awe... Those are some fantastic pictures of a fantastic cake. Great job!