Sunday, January 1, 2012
stump de noel
I've had my eye on this cake ever since I opened Baked Explorations. The picture is so pretty! I wanted to make it then and there, but then I read the recipe and found out it's not simply a 3-layer cake decked out like a tree stump, but rather two pans of sponge cake, cut into four strips, coiled together to make the stump with some malt buttercream holding the whole thing together, and chocolate buttercream covering everything. It seemed too complicated at the time, but since it was on the Baked Sunday Mornings schedule, I happily obliged, especially since I skipped the past two recipes...
I had planned to make the stump over a few days, since there are a few components and it has to set for at least 8 hours, but I ran out of time and made it all in one day.
Although there is two kinds of frosting, it's made in one batch, then divided into two and flavored separately. I was so happy that the buttercream turned out ok! It's always 50-50 for me. I don't know what I do to mess it up, and when it does work, I don't know what I did differently that it works out! I have to admit that the Baked recipes are really well written, so I'm sure that helps! For some reason, the buttercream has to be chilled, then taken out of the refrigerator and brought back to room temperature before being used.
The cake part was pretty straightforward, the only part I found weird was adding the dissolved espresso powder to the melted chocolate... It made my chocolate seize up and was a bit difficult blending it into the batter. I wish I had added the chocolate first, then the espresso... Oh and also... cake calls for 12 eggs! plus the 5 egg whites that went into the icing with the entire pound of butter... yeah! friggin rich cake!
I have almost no experience making sponges or roulades, so I wasn't sure when the cake was done... It might have been a bit overbaked because when it was time to assemble it, it cracked pretty much everywhere. I was losing patience but decided I had nothing to lose and finished rolling it. I was worried that it would unravel, but the malt buttercream kept everything together nicely.
I had just enough chocolate frosting to spread on the outside of the stump, and had to steal some from the sides to cover the top. I like that the look of the finished cake was supposed to be rustic, so no pressure to make it perfect! Once frosted, the cake had to set overnight, but since I was running out of time, I finished decorating it before letting it set in the garage overnight.
We were supposed to make meringue mushrooms, but I was running low on fuel by then, so since I had a batch of white royal icing leftover from class, I used that to make the mushrooms instead. My icing was really thick, so kinda hard to pipe clean mushroom caps, but it make for very stiff stems. As soon as the caps were dry enough to move, I set them over the stems and let them finish drying. A quick dusting of cocoa powder and those were done. I still had some poinsettia leftover from the poinsettia cake, so I added some of those for color, and piped in green leaves with the leftover royal icing.
Overall, I was pretty satisfied with the look of this cake. After a huge Christmas eve dinner, not many people had room for a piece, but hopefully it got eaten at my sister-in-law's family's house!
For the recipe and to see how the other Baked Sunday Mornings bakers fared with their stump, click on through to the Baked Sunday Mornings webpage.
There's been a lot of cake in my life recently. And although I'm taking a break from the cake decorating classes, we're celebrating two birthdays in January, so I won't be spared. It's a good thing I like cake!