I had trouble sleeping last night because I was anxious about fine piping with writing chocolate on top of my cake this morning; my border actually came out okay, though it is a little too thick. The thinner you pipe, the less noticeable mistakes are; also, the more intricate your design is, the more flaws it hides… it seems counterintuitive, but I think it is true. I never write in cursive, so writing my message was super challenging for me… it pretty much looks like chicken scratch, but at least I fit it all on the cake! And you know what, this is the first cake I’ve ever built, and I am going to be proud of it. When we sliced the cake open, my layers looked good and you can see how thin the frosting is even though I did three coats of frosting, which is what we were going for (the entire cake itself is only two to three inches tall). The cake was super moist from the almond pastry syrup that I flavored it with, and it tasted delicious! I don’t know why I was surprised by this; maybe because it was sponge cake.
We spent a good portion of the day reviewing recipes; we made another batch of croissant dough that we are going to shape and bake tomorrow, and we made more of that Italian buttercream, though today I wasn’t scared about sticking my finger into the boiling sugar (yay me!). Some of you asked why we don’t use a candy thermometer… the reason is that most candy thermometers are inaccurate. The standard candy thermometer cannot be calibrated, so it may be off. If you do have a candy thermometer, you should check what it reads when you place it in boiling water. At sea level (East Coast) it should read 212° and just be aware of any difference when using your thermometer in the future. You could also use a spoon to scoop out some of the boiling sugar, but apparently you will get laughed out of any kitchen you work in. We also pulled out the school’s large mixing bowl and made a brioche recipe six times our normal size! It was neat to see an industrial sized piece of equipment, which we may see in the kitchens of our future employers.
The other new technique we worked on today was a new method to temper chocolate; we already learned how to temper chocolate over cool water. Today it was the tabling method, where you pour 2/3 of melted chocolate onto marble (or granite) and reserve the other 1/3 warm. Using a spatula you spread the chocolate out over the marble and using a scraper you move it back together. The chocolate cools down MUCH more quickly than the cool water method, but the problem with this method is that my chocolate got too cold and set before I could get it back up to temper, leaving in chunky.
We used the tempered chocolate to fill chocolate molds today; we worked on filling bon bon or candy trays, and also spinner molds, and larger hollow molds. Below are some of our creations (though because my chocolate was out of temper my candies did not look anywhere near this good)!