This morning's session wasn't a lot of work in terms of baking, but we did spend some time on assembling and garnishing. Chef began by taking the thawed sponge cake layers from last week and demonstrated how to cut circles out of it. She used a 6" cake ring to mark the diameter on the sponge, then cut out circles about 5 ½" in diameter. As they're quite expensive, many students, including myself, used a springform pan instead. The cake ring was lined with a parchment collar slightly shorter than the ring and kept in place with a dab of butter.
To assemble the cake, we placed a circle of cake inside the ring. We brushed it with the syrup from a tin of canned peaches rather than make a simple syrup. Sliced peaches, patted dry with paper towels, were placed on top, but not touching the edges. Chef explained the types of gelatin (powdered vs. leaf) and how to soften gelatin in cold water then melt it over a water bath. To make the yogurt mousse, we combined the melted gelatin mixture, plain yogurt, sugar and soft whipped cream. We didn't want to make the cream too stiff, as the runny mousse was necessary to fill in the gap between the ring and the cake. After spreading the mousse on top of the peaches and down the sides of the ring, we repeated with the other cake layer, more peaches and a final topping of mousse. These went into the freezer to set up, and we took a half hour break.
When we came back, Chef demonstrated how to finish the cake. She took sliced peaches and arranged them in a fan on one cake, and a rosette on the other. Then, she took a parchment cone and demonstrated various chocolate decorations. After making teardrop-shaped pieces, she draped them over a cylindrical object. When they hardened, Chef dusted them with icing sugar and used them as fancy garnishes. Even more spectacular was how we decorated the sides (Chef pronounced the course recipe's usage of sliced almonds as boring). Because the cake layers were smaller than the ring, the mousse envelops the entire cake and the ring and parchment gives it a smooth surface. Chef drizzled chocolate in a lattice pattern on a strip of parchment the same height as the cake. Working quickly, she wrapped the strip around the cake, with the chocolate on the inside. As it cooled, the chocolate hardened and pulled away from the paper but adhered to the cake. Simple, but it drew a round of applause from our class!
I sampled a small piece of the cake and found it quite plain. The mousse tasted like we had mixed whipped cream with yogurt. I think flavoured yogurt would be a good experiment. Chef suggested key lime, and other fruits as well.
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