Monday, July 22, 2013

Feliz Cumplianos a Mi, Tartine Bakery Style

A few months back on Netflix I was able to watch a Best Bakeries show. They were the top 10 in the country. One bakery in particular had me pausing to get a paper and pen so I could take notes. It was Tartine Bakery in San Fran. The cake was a Tres leches. Watching chef Prueitt assemble the cake on the show was magical. Layer after layer of cake, moistened with coconut milk, followed with cajeta and filled with a Bavarian cream. I was in awe &  I was inspired. What made it even better was the puff pastry she used for the bottom of the cake to give it not only support but a flaky crunchy element. This is what a dessert should be, different flavors and textures coming together. Not only did it look elegant it was delicious, and I decided that before I even had a bite. 
Look at this beauty (Image from Yelp)

Unfortunately my brief time in San Fran did not take me to Tartine and I do not have any plans for cross country travel in the immediate future so I had no choice but to make it myself. The elements consisted of;
  • Cajeta, a Mexican caramel made from goats milk. Thank goodness for Wegmans on that one. 
  • Chiffon cake
  • Coconut milk to drench the layers
  • Bavarian filling, but doing research online a lightened pastry cream is used. 
  • Crunchy element, puff pastry. I found that Tartine uses a flaky pie crust for the base. I may need to watch again because she said puff pastry on the show. The darkness of the crust indicates to me puff pastry. I decided to make Tartines flaky pie crust, recipe.
  • Whipped cream topping. Simply whipped cream and confectioners sugar. 
  • Time, Time, Time 
Cajeta: I started with this first a few weeks before I even made the cake. It is worth the effort. The taste from homemade caramel is like reading a book rather then watching the movie if that makes sense. 
The only issue I had was that I was simmering the milk sugar combo for about 5 hours before I got the color development. I used the recipe of trusted WETA personality Rick Bayless.  

Chiffon Cake: I just went with my trusted sponge.


Coconut Milk: Simply coconut milk sweetened with sugar. I used this recipe MINUS 1 Tablespoon of sugar. I'm highly sensitive to overly sugary sweets. 

Bavarian  Filling: I used a pastry cream I had on hand with whipped cream folded in. Thanks to Baketard on that one as well. I use beef gelatin if anyone is curious it can be found on amazon.

Pie Crust: 

The trick to flaky pie crust is keeping everything cold so the butter does not melt into the flour. Notice the marbling of the butter before it goes to rest in the fridge. This is what will create pockets in the crust making it flaky. I rolled it out and cut a 10" circle rather than a 9" assuming I would get shrinkage. The dough held up extremely well and there was minimal shrinking. Next time I will cut the dough to size. Recipe found online from Flour & Flowers.

And Now the Assembly 
Unless you start really early in the morning this cake is best when it's allowed to sit overnight. It gives the flavors time to combine and develop as well as allowing the gelatin to set in the pastry cream. 

I brush on the coconut milk rather than pour
Assembly Line Ready, spring form pan ready

Spreading it on thin
Gooey Caramel
Spread it thin
Pastry cream blob
And repeat up to the last layer, almost done!

At this point the cake gets sealed in plastic wrap and allowed to sit for 4 hours or overnight.....

Pie Crust Ready, I added some caramel for adhesion purposes

Whipped cream, the end is near.
Smooth it on

Caramel drizzle just for looks. I thought I was going to pipe some nice intricate design but the caramel had other plans.
Notice how caramel melts into cream

Notice how crust is slightly larger, Tartine would never let that happen.

Although I started this cake on my birthday it was enjoyed the following day. 

Kids asleep and totally enjoying a late night slice and a Japanese flick

This cake holds up extremely well in the fridge. It can be enjoyed for days.

Day 3 of Cake, It tastes as dreamy as it looks. 

  • My husband cut me a slice that was incredibly large. After I complained, his response was that the slice he cut was smaller than the cake. Could not respond to that.   
  • I found the crust difficult to easily cut through with a fork. Either it required more baking time or puff pastry is the way to go. 
  • Cajeta: some crystallization may occur in the fridge, simply reheat in the microwave and stir to dissolve any hardened sugar. 
  • Pastel de Tres Leches: Simply translated to a three milk cake in Spanish. This cake consisted of coconut milk, heavy cream and goats milk. I think traditionalists would argue that condensed milk would be required for it to officially be considered a tres leches. I have made a quatros leche cake in the past that included the condensed milk. It is much more sweeter and can only be enjoyed by people with a real sweet tooth. For the rest of us only a small slice would suffice.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Jabba the Hutt 3D Cake

I a such a poor blogger but I thought I would share some work in progress photos I took during my creation of Jabba. There is no reason to be intimidated from 3D Cakes as long as you understand the process and ensure that the cake support is adequate. Luckily this cake served about 12 so I did not have to devise any crazy supports. It was pretty straight forward so I used bubble tea straws. 

Strawberry Cake ready for action 4 layers of a 6" square and 2 layers of a 4" square.

Stacked and Carved. I just go with the flow. I had some Jabba images next to me on my computer for reference. Rice crispy treats molded for the head.

I crumb coat with swiss merengue. Make sure you chill the cake before adding fondant.

Forgot to take pics before this step. Before I added the fondant I added peices of fondant in places of the head there is movement. Like eyebrows, nose, chin and eyes. After draping the fondant I cover with saran wrap as I work on the head details. This prevents the fondant from drying out.

This guy is ready to be painted. I used a combination of petal dust and liquid food paint for this guy.

Being July fourth and all, I thought this was most appropriate :)