Zombies and Mummies and Ghosts, Oh My!
I spent the better part of the weekend putting together three small cakes for a friend for Halloween gifts. Having completed them late last night, but with time to spare to watch Nigella Express from the DVR (my previous opinion is solidified) and put together my recipes for my class tonight, I find I am fairly pleased with my first effort with fondant. Admittedly I have a long way to go. But as pastry and cakes is not my specialty area, I don’t know that there will be loads of additional practice.
Of the three cakes, one is orange with orange buttercream, one is spice with maple buttercream and one is chocolate with ganache. The orange and spice are covered with white chocolate fondant (purchased) and the chocolate is covered with dark chocolate fondant. The fondant itself is not terribly “all natural” though it is at least made with couverture chocolate and not “chocolate flavored.” Which is good, as it was bloody expensive. I made the cakes and buttercream from scratch. I forgot how time consuming making real buttercream is but it tastes really good and buttery where as, I am certain, if I had made the decorator’s buttercream suggested to me where I bought the fondant, my cake would taste like plastic nastiness. I know that “buttercream” made with shortening and powdered sugar is easier to work with but, yuck, it tastes like shortening with powdered sugar in it. Though I wanted them to be spooky and beautiful, I wanted them to taste good as well.
I was a little disappointed with the chocolate and orange cakes. They both had issues in the recipe & method which I recognized but trusted the cookbook writer. I know better. I think we would all like to believe all cookbook recipes are tested and retested, but they are not. Typos can also creep in that significantly change the equation, especially when baking. The chocolate one-bowl cake from The Martha’s baking book had too much water and it rose very fast and cratered in the center. Easily leveled when I torted the cakes, but still annoying. The orange cake was from a British cookbook collection that generally has been very good, but the method was completely wrong and even realizing that, I followed it anyway and the center of the cake had more butter than the edges and when I torted it there were hard spots in the center that were just butter, I think. It also tasted a little doughy from the trimmings. I tried to console myself with the fact that I really don’t like orange flavored anything and moved on. The spice cake was perfect, looked perfect, tasted perfect and had enough leftover to make a few cupcakes along side.
Overall, I think this one is my favorite. Simple. A little spooky and, well, chocolate.
I hope everyone has a Happy Halloween with the desired balance of tricks and treats.
*edited for retouched photos (tech guy)