Monday, January 5, 2015

Alpha Bakers -- Chocolate Cuddle Cake

Drifting into 2015...
In my storytimes at the library, I talk. A lot. Most of it goes over the heads of the kids, but at my best moments I like to think that I'm embellishing their worlds with rich language. In the winter, I find myself using words that fall in the 'hibernation' spectrum: snuggle, huddle, wiggle, shelter, and cuddle. I like to imagine us as a pile of soft sleepy baby bears under a pile of leaves, warm and safe for winter.

In that kind of mindset, the Chocolate Cuddle Cake from The Baking Bible couldn't be better named. What can I say? I come from a family that has a tendency to lie in a heap, frequently while watching A League of Their Own. Since some of my heap-mates recently had a baby bear of their own, I was on my own for this baking, and while I can't say I hit a home run, I made it around the bases (mixed metaphor alert! don't care!).

The Chocolate Cuddle is a pillowy soft cocoa chiffon, baked in a parchement-lined springform (see above). Aside from some lazy egg-white mixing (see white spot in photo below), mine came out perfectly. I did not measure how tall it was, because, as our bake-through leader would say 'there's nothing I can do about it now'. I did trim the sides a bit to ensure an even rise, as it sagged a bit like a turban or a decorative squash.
The lovely squashy cake was then frosted with a quick ganache--I followed Rose's recipe but made mine on the stovetop instead of the food processor. I notice a slight difference in texture but it's not enough to make me get out my food processor. All extra ganache becomes truffles, by royal decree.
Things were going so well and then I tried to make the caramel whipped cream, which sounds like a good idea, and probably is, except that I screwed it up royally. Royally as in epically, not as in by royal decree. I am not, in fact, royalty.

Ideally, the caramel whipped cream goes like this:
1. Make caramel.
2. Soften gelatin.
3. Whip cream.
4. Whip in the caramel and the gelatin.
5. Oooh, ahh, frost.

Instead, the whole thing seized miserably and looked like vomit.
Note to self, be more careful of temperatures. I made some half-hearted attempts at rescue, but in the end I just whipped up a little extra cream, added a bit of the lumpy mixture to it, and frosted away. Next time.

It was very pretty all the same--a light and easy cake to carry, make, and eat. One co-worker commented that its spongey nature made it a bit difficult to cut, but everyone seemed to manage all right in the end. There you have it.
Please do forgive any whiff of brimstone or verbal loopiness in this post--I'm high as an off-brand DayQuil kite can be, and most of my internal monologue looks like this.
"I'm Leslie Monster, and this is Nightline."


Unknown said...

What a great post. Sorry about the whipped cream and the cake still looks delicious.

Rosa V. said...

hi katya ,your chocolate cuddle cake looks great and the cake looks fluffy and high, love the pictures they are nice and your post .please stop by when you have a moment see my results.

HanaĆ¢ said...

Sorry about the whipped cream. The frosted cake still turned out looking good!! I giggled at your vomit comment :)

evil cake lady said...

This may be your most entertaining post yet...perhaps the off brand day quil is a good thing? I'm glad you were able to salvage the whipped cream. I miss that stuff already.

Patricia @ ButterYum said...

Lol - love parks and rec! so you had a coworker who complained that this light and airy cake was hard to cut??? Were they using a letter opener? Lol. Dayquil - hahaha.

Patricia @ ButterYum

Jill said...

Oh my goodness, your post makes me laugh! Your cake looks great, in spite of the vomit. ;) I shared your post with my 7 yr. old son. He loves it too! Overall, I think you recovered beautifully and the final product looks great!!
Hope you feel better soon. :)

Fabulous Sweet Fillings

faithy said...

Sorry to hear about your whipped cream. Mine also was like this..i added a bit more of whipped cream to it and whip again. lol!
Your cake still looks delicious too!

Michele at The Artful Oven said...

Hi Katya: What is it with the whipped cream?! I had trouble with it too!! It sure does taste heavenly, though. I love this cake and will make it often. I cracked up over your "royal decree!" In our family when we make those pronouncements, we say, "The Great and Powerful Oz has spoken!!" Take a moment and see my results if you have the time.

Katya said...

As a die-hard Ten Commandments fan, I'm also partial to 'So let it be written--So let it be done,' and have been known to mutter 'spit-spot!' on occasion. Here's to childhood obsessions ruling adult lives.

Noah said...

Caramel Whipped Cream.... the caramel's got to be just the right consistency and temperature. If it's too warm, say goodbye to the whipped part of your whipped cream. If it's too cold, it's tends to be too solid to be able to mix into whipped cream. One could, theoretically, add a little bit of liquid cream to it when it's still warm, so that it's soft enough to whip in even when it's cold.

inthekitchen said...

Your post was hilarious (especially the last sentence) and your cake looks lovely regardless of the whipped cream difficulties :)

Alpha Baker Joan said...

My whipped off the cake cream tasted absolutely divine. I piped out four gorgeous stars on the top of the cake and they melted in front of my eyes -
I have been reading most of the posts because I am just back and had made that cake. And I was surprised {and admittedly a little gratified to see how many of us were having such trouble with the caramel whipped cream. What do you think was causing it. I would be happy to drink it it was so divine, but also would like to know what happened.

Katya said...

I think whipped cream is just very tempermental and slight temperature differences are enough to make it seize, especially with the acidity of the caramel.