so on Christmas Eve, i set about to make the big fancy cake. i had gotten home from the Lakers game and made the white chocolate the night before because it was supposed to cool for 4 hours. no way that was going to work the day of, so i made it early. i started on the cake about 10 am.
i didn’t realize until i added it to the bowl that the butter had to be room temperature. i googled on how to go from refrigerated butter to RT quickly, and that worked. once i started mixing the butter and sugar with the eggs, the consistency was cake batter-ish, which was good.
i added the cocoa as instructed and then it started to look like fudge.
i did the whole flour/ice water alternating thing, and i quickly learned to mix the water in with a spoon before taking the mixer to it. otherwise it would splatter. by the end the batter was totally cake batter. i was impressed. it even tasted good, so i knew at least the cake part would come out okay.
i buttered and floured the cake pans, poured the batter between them, and slid them in the oven. once that part was over i went to the ganache. that was probably the easiest stuff to make out of the four parts. i used my blender to chop up the chocolate, and after learning to only chop small amounts at a time, it worked very well. i had done the same for the white chocolate the night before. with the ganache done i was rolling.
the cake was easy, the ganache was easy, the white chocolate had been easy. little did i know how ridiculous the frosting would be.the recipe called for mixing the frosting then immediately applying it to the cake. so i had to wait until the cakes were cooled and cut, then apply the ganache and the white chocolate. when the cakes came out of the oven they looked fabulous. once the cakes were out, i was able to flip them onto the cooling racks by placing the cooling racks over the pans, then flipping the whole thing. it totally worked.
i got out my big serrated knife and cut the first cake. it worked very well, and i placed the first layer on the tray. i applied the ganache. the white chocolate though did end up runny, just like Melanie said it would. i couldn’t find the high quality stuff though, so it was the best i could do. the white chocolate chips just didn’t have the consistency they probably should have for this recipe. i ended up with a lot left over, but i think some of that was factored in also by me maybe not putting enough on. possibly there was too much cream added? i don’t know, but that was one of the things i would change if i made this again.
i had the cakes cut, the ganache and white chocolate added. i even cut around the cake to smooth out the edges, which sort of worked.
now it was time to make the frosting. i whisked together the frosting ingredients, and then set up the bowl over the big pot to heat it up slowly. i learned to also do this for chocolate, which i wish i would have realized when i tried to make Brandi’s chocolate brittle. talk about COMPLETE kitchen failure! ANYWAY, so i’m heating up the frosting and it’s turning white like it should, and i noticed the recipe called for using a stand mixer for the final mixing. i don’t have a stand mixer. it said use the whisk attachment, but i don’t have a whisk attachment for my hand mixer. well, i figured i could still do this, and just mix at a high speed, which is what the recipe said. i start with the mixer and the frosting is just not coming together. it’s too thin. it cools off but it’s still too thin. it looks like it should, just doesn’t have the thickness.
the recipe said to spread it as soon as it cooled, so i did that. the problem with spreading frosting that’s too thin is that it runs off the cake and pools at the bottom. not good. i applied the frosting and had a lot left over. the amount of frosting that ran off the cake though was almost overwhelming. i spent way more time than i should have cleaning the mess up. it was all over the tray, all over the counter, everywhere. i think the frosting was what the lady was talking about when she said making this cake was kind of like a war.
i put the cake in the refrigerator and hoped that would help solidify the frosting. it did, totally. after being in the fridge, the frosting had the thickness it should have. the whole applying the frosting right after it’s cooled is what i would change also. i would have put the frosting in the fridge and let it thicken before putting it on the cake. at least until i get a stand mixer with a whisk attachment.
with the cake tray cleaned up, i brought it to my family’s Christmas Eve party. everyone was asking “you made that” and i said “all of it”. they were in awe. my aunt’s (i have three of them) boyfriend’s grandson (i know, it’s weird), who is in 7th grade, started saying “push him over” until i said “if you do that i will punch you in the face, i’m not even kidding”. that shut him up and everyone laughed, but i think at that point i wasn’t totally joking. since the fridge was full, the cake was going to have to tough it out sitting on the table.
after dinner and presents, it was time for the desserts. i opened the cake container and looked at the cake with the sad frosting. oh well, surely it would taste good.
a couple of my uncles volunteered to get the first pieces. they both liked it. “it’s like a york peppermint patty.” that was kind of the signal for other people to get some. it was a tall cake, which made it pretty fancy. i tasted it and it was really good. the frosting melting off wasn’t as bad, because you could still taste the peppermint enough, and it wasn’t overpowering. the cake was fantastic as was the ganache. the cake was probably drier than a box cake, but that made it seem more gourmet, does that make sense? maybe next time i could make the cakes with the ganache and do something else for frosting. either way, the cake was a moderate success, only because of the frosting crisis.
if not for the frosting, the total time to do the cake might have been 4 hours. it really wasn’t that hard to do. it was fun to make, i just wish the frosting would have worked better. here’s my magazine shot:
after the desserts, my cousin gave my uncle a leg lamp, so it was a pretty good night for him. she couldn’t get the whole ‘fragile’ thing down, which i guess isn’t a big deal, because she doesn’t speak Italian.