Sunday, June 27, 2010

Pastry Research and Development

I am going to make a wedding cake in August for a friend, so I've been experimenting with a few recipes.

The bride wants the cake to have a chocolate hazelnut filling, which I haven't made before. Time for Julia to put on her apron and dust off the ol' KitchenAid mixer. I love the research and development phase of baking projects. My friends do too. Well......most of the time. But then, that's the nature of R and D, right? Some results are better than others, I guess.

So here's a slice of experimental wedding cake number one:

The cake is a vanilla/sour cream from scratch recipe. The frosting is vanilla buttercream, and the filling made from Nutella spread mixed with toasted hazelnuts and blended with buttercream. Mmmmmm. Wonder how it tastes with a glass of ice cold milk....

So, that would be YUM.

I have sent generous slabs of this cake to various friends for their input. All were happy to oblige, I might add.

And the verdict?

John liked it. All of it. Terese pronounced it tasty but thought she might need additional samples for future research. Dave was salivating hours later as he thanked me during a phone call.

I thought the vanilla/sour cream cake layer had a good texture - substantial but not gummy, moist, and very flavorful but not overly sweet. It was a little hard to remove the cakes from their pans, but I think the flavor and texture of this cake make futzing around with the pan worth the effort.

I'm thinking that both the buttercream frosting and hazelnut filling need a little more experimentation. The frosting was tasty, sweet without being sickening, and easy to make and handle. But the finished result, although smooth, looked grainy after a few minutes.

The bride requested a very simply decorated cake, so the finish on this frosting will be very noticeable. Grainy just won't cut it.

The chocolate hazelnut filling tasted exactly the way that I hoped it would - fudgy and crunchy with toasted nuts. But the consistency was too thick and difficult to spread.

Oh, darn. I suppose this means I'll have to turn out a few more experimental cakes over the next month or so. And give them some intense taste-testing sessions.

It's a tough job, but somebody's got to do it.

1 comment:

Jenny P said...

I might move across the country just so I'm close enough to be a research assistant. I wish I could bake, I don't have the patience to follow exact proportions in recipes and always overmix because I can't stand lumps. Ah well, I guess I'll have to stay on the tasting side of tests:D Enjoy your research!