When I first saw the picture that the client sent to me of exactly the kind of cake she wanted, I immediately felt confident. After all, how hard can be? most of it is made ahead - the plaque and letters, the numbers, the bow and the roses, so once all that's done, the rest of it is just stacking, right?
I've always struggled with getting straight edges and sharp corners, so I have no idea why I thought it would be quick and easy. This time I even attempted a variation of the upside down ganache method and while it was better than my previous attempts, it wasn't so much better as to be a noticeable improvement on doing it without the stress of flipping a heavy cake. I found that when I took my cake board off the top of the cake (which was previously the bottom) there were so many air bubbles that with puttying all those little holes, I ended up having to re-ganache almost all of the top anyway, defeating the purpose of starting upside down on a flat surface in the first place.
Don't even get me started on the corners and edges! I don't know what I did wrong, but they were all wonky and when I tried to sharpen the corners with 2 smoothers, all I ended up doing was creating air bubbles. Maybe I'm pressing too hard - I don't know. All I know is that it's very frustrating!
And to top it off, the pre-coloured pink fondant I bought rolled out streaked with white (as though it hadn't been mixed in properly), and though I use The Mat, I find that recently, my fondant has been coming off it with lots of little pitted marks. So streaking plus pitting = not smooth sides. To top it off, one side even has little cracks all over the edge and I have no idea why or how that happened! Crazy!
Nothing I can do about it though as, working full-time during the day I have limited time in terms of starting over or going to the shops to buy more materials (the limited number of cake shops here in Perth close between 5 and 5.30pm on weekdays).
So the lady who requested this cake is coming today to collect it. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that despite its little deformities she'll still like it overall. If you stand a few metres back and cross your eyes slightly it's actually quite a sweet looking little cake haha
|Each tier is 3 layers of almond cake coated and layered with white chocolate ganache|
In any case, even if she's not so impressed with the exterior, I believe the proof will be in the pudding. Her request for cake was "pate d'amande" or, if I couldn't do that, white chocolate mud. A quick search of cake recipes including almond paste turned up an excellent one by David Lebovitz. I highly recommend anyone who loves almonds to try it as it's definitely one I will be baking over and over again.
He recommends against using store-bought marzipan instead of almond paste, but as almond paste is not easily found here, I cheated and used marzipan made with approx 20% almonds (but use real marzipan, not almond flavoured icing as that's completely different - the paste is not a pure white colour but more the colour of ground almonds) and the result was an amazingly moist, tender and very finely crumbed cake. It cuts and freezes very well and on defrosting is just as moist as the day it was baked. Yummo!