A run-down of last week’s cakes and chocolate you can vote for if you’d like to see them up on the blog with adapted and simplified recipes! 🙂 There’s the delicious multi-layered Opera cake with joconde sponge, coffee buttercream and syrup then chocolate ganache and glaze. The chef liked my cake but we both agreed my chocolate cornet piping soooo needs practice. Sob. I’m working on it. Apparently there are no shortcuts and I just have to practise, practise, practise. The three chocolate Bavarian mousse cake was an even greater decorating disaster – my glaze gunged up because it was too cold so it was thick and ugly as opposed to the smooth mirrors all my classmates produced. Again sob. But the cake was still delicious in a very creamy way.
Of course you can make these yummy cakes without piping lettering and using an easier glaze. 🙂
The importance of chocolate
Chocolates are an integral part of pâtisserie here in France. During Season 2 of Le Meilleur Pâtissier TV show (the French counterpart to the Great British Bake Off) the contestants were expected to produce elegant tempered chocolates filled with caramel. The special guest judge was the French chocolatier Patrick Roger, who creates some amazing chocolate sculptures for his boutique windows. You can watch a brief wacky youtube video of him working on some chocolate monkeys here. Various chefs at le Cordon Bleu in Paris have spoken admiringly of this ‘crazy genius’ and his work, hinting he might be smoking something stronger than cigarettes. Ahem. Here’s his chocolate sculpture of the Thinker currently in Patrick Roger’s Madeleine shop window, with me next to it also thinking hard … about chocolate. 🙂
The secrets of chocolate
Genin is another prestigious chocolaterie and there’s a lovely illustrated storybook Les secrets du chocolat about him, which includes tips on tempering chocolate. Always handy. It’s not difficult and you just need precision when you follow the temperature curve. If using an ice-bath method together with a hot bain-marie you have to be very alert to avoid overcooling or overheating your chocolate so you get it glossy and snappy to decorate with, but apparently it’s a very handy system if you’re living in a hot or humid country. I’ll post instructions when I’ve practised some more. My main recommendation for now is wear a disposable plastic apron! Lol.
The chocolates and my giant Ferrero Rocher
My new cake tester enjoyed the crescent-shaped milk chocolate pralines and to a lesser extent the square dark chocolate almond paste chocolates. I finally got the hang of decorating them but most of them look like they’ve been attacked by a fork! 🙂 Anyway my favourites were the creamily yummy muscadines and truffles, which don’t require dipping in tempered chocolate and are easy to make. Yay! Then one of my favourite cakes was the Douceur Chocolat (Heavenly chocolate cake) with a hazelnut dacquoise filled with crispy praline, topped with an easy chocolate mousse and tempered milk chocolate discs. It tastes like a creamy Ferrero Rocher and I’m thinking of adapting the recipe to make it even simpler, using crushed Ferrero Rocher chocolates for the praline layer. This cake is delicious and was highly appreciated by the new resident cake tester I mentioned earlier: Mum, who arrived over a week ago and has been enormously helpful with the cake eating. 🙂
She also loved the rum baba and happily poured an extra tablespoon or so of rum on each slice to make it even yummier. I’ve posted savarins in the past so probably won’t put this baba recipe up soon but let me know if you’re interested…
Quick savoury break
If you haven’t seen it yet, the recipe for my savoury bacon crumble cheesecake just went up on the blog. Complete with illustrations for making this super easy and tasty treat. Yum.
Now back to le Cordon Bleu cakes. I was really pleased and interested to see the results of the voting for last week’s line-up, so thanks so much for taking the time to choose your favourites (see here if you’d like to add your vote now). The winners so far are the Fraisier, Almond cake and Apricot Streusel tart, followed closely by the Jamaique then the macarons. So adapted recipes for the first three will be going up on the blog early next year. And for the others a bit later. Yay! I hope you’ll vote for your favourites from this chocolate collection. Thanks!
Well I’ll be getting back to cake production and eating now. It’s a hard life. This afternoon we’re making an amazing walnut caramel mousse cake. And I should go and practise piping chocolate lettering and borders!! Aaargh.
Just want to apologise about not posting many recipes or visiting other blogs much right now. The course is quite stressful with some long hours so we’re a bit exhausted. We have the exams coming up too… Would you believe my right eye is almost starting to twitch! lol. But I’m happy to be learning so much and surrounded by cakes. 🙂
Farewell sweet reader and thanks for stopping by! Hope you’ve enjoyed all the chocolate and it brought a smile to your face. Have a happy week baking, eating or just looking at cakes! 🙂 x