What better than a fail story to end the blog for the year?
For my birthday/Christmas, BKH made a two layer mousse cake surrounded by ladyfingers and topped with fruits and whipped cream. It was very fancy looking and pretty.
But this isn’t about that cake, this is a cake that came from failures.
The sponge used in the fancy cake is a regular sponge with eggs whipped up to about 3-4 times of its original volume and a bit of baking powder. Simple enough right? The sponge collapsed after rising a bit in the oven, we googled for a solution and the answers ranged from oven temperature is wrong or not enough whipping. So sometimes sponges don’t work out, that is fine we just needed to try again.
The second sponge also turned out exactly the same way of failure. The edges are nice and high but the middle was a sad sad dip.
BKF had enough and just went with a different sponge for his cake. And we were left with two concave sponges. They tasted fine, just no idea what to do with them. I had a party that I am going to yesterday so planning ahead, I thought I can make something out of these sponge cakes.
Of course it would be quite difficult to use the concave sponges as is, so I opted for cutting the sponges to 6″ and make a smaller cake with them. The outer ring then was cut down into cubes, I think maybe at some point I can make a trifle with them? I just wrapped them up in parchment and then clingfilm and pop them into the freezer for the time being. The one good thing about sponge cakes is that they freeze really well for a few weeks especially if you wrap them tight enough. When you are ready to use them, just leave them out in room temperature is good enough.
I ended up making a nice cranberry orange mousse to go on top of the sponge. The original idea was to use both layer of sponges and two layer of mousse and make a tall cake. But I made them inside a springform tin and I misjudged the height. I thought it was tall enough with one layer so I will make two small cakes instead. As you can see here, this is SAD HEIGHT all over again.
My great idea is then to stack the two layers with some meringue in the middle as glue. If I had stack the cake before the mouse has time to set it’d probably be enough to keep them stacked. But now the mousse is so smooth and solid it probably won’t hold the top layer together with no help. Meringue has always been in the plan for this cake for topping, I even reduced the amount of sugar in my cranberry mousse so it’d go well with the meringue. … and I made a swiss meringue just so it’d be nice and thick and safe for everyone to eat.
Look how pretty it is! The meringue wasn’t as stiff as I wanted it to be so the tips didn’t hold up but rather sorta curled down. It didn’t matter because after I toasted it it looked amazing.
So I did this on the morning of the party (which is in the afternoon). I finished the cake, popped it into the fridge. Made up some other snacks instead and then wanted to text my friend to show up what a lovely cake I made.
EXCEPT THIS HAPPENED.
I was near tears. I was so upset. HOW DID THIS HAPPEN! WHY IS MY MASTERPIECE RUINED?!?!?!?!?!?!? I was so upset I only got a cellphone picture instead of documenting it properly with my camera.
The saving grace of me being me is that I did leave myself plenty of time for anything, so I had about… almost an hour to do something about it. Then also get changed and get ready. I thought the cakes are sorta ugly now, especially the one on the bottom, the mousse got squished on the top. So I’ll just take the top tier cake, cover it in a regular french meringue just to make my life easier.
…. well you know how when you rush you tend to do something wrong?
I weighted out the eggwhite and sugar in the same bowl. Instead of whipping up the white first then add sugar gradually. I don’t know if it makes a difference in the end product, but since I made this mistake I had no choice but to do the meringue in the swiss meringue method again JUST SO there is no unpleasant surprises. I don’t have time to fix it again!
I was so distraught BKH asked if there is anyway he can help? Well, I asked if he felt comfortable enough to put the meringue on the cake. He said no, not really. So I did the cake I was gonna bring to the party and let him do the one that is staying home. I like my meringue really rough on cakes so when I blowtorch it it’d look interesting. The only problem is that mousse was made to stay in the fridge, and by the time I put the meringue on they have been out of the fridge for at least 40 mins. So when I blowtorch the meringue I am sure I melted some of the mousse. >.>
It turned out alright though? The cake was a hit at the party (at a very very warm house so the overall presentation is a bit… melty. What mattered is that I saved a fail cake, twice! GO ME.
BKH and I reviewed what my biggest mistake was. And he thinks that is I got cocky and made last minute changes instead of playing it safe. Like, you know, not stacking the cakes on the day instead of sticking to the plan of having two cakes. He is probably right. A lesson to keep in mind for the new year I guess?!
And so ends another year of me trying to bake stuff. More to come in 2018!
Have a great new year everyone!!