Have you ever experimented with cakes or desserts? One of my girlfriends reckons most of her baking is experimental, and whether any meal turns out to be edible is a bonus.
Creating a new cake or flavour combination is where my baking is headed now, and I'm really excited about it. I've been baking and decorating tortes for family events since I was around 15 years old, from very traditional European butter-custard cream tortes, yeast cakes with fresh yeast (no bread maker!) fancy cream decorations...the works.
Now, that I've got the hang of whipping up the basics, I'm onto carving my niche in the kitchen...developing my own repertoire of recipes that I can call my own.
So, here's my first go at my mocha torte in the making- I'll give it a proper title when I've finished creating it. For the moment, this cake has layers of vanilla flavoured genoise sponge, laced with a coffee liqueur and coffee syrup on the layers of cake once they have cooled. Each layer is filled with a mocha mousse, made from melted dark cooking chocolate and espresso. The outside is coated in a 70% cocoa dark chocolate ganache. Then the perimeter of the cake is edged with pieces of cappuccino flavoured waffle rolls.
1) Flavour: The cake was lovely, great soft light texture, very happy with my fool proof recipe. I wanted a very vanilla tasting sponge, and not coffee flavoured so that it offered a difference that was warming and complimentary to the mocha flavours in each layer; but not repetitive.
2) Flavour of mousse: Good, but next time I'll add less cream to the rich custard base, I was making it on a half-half ration and while it was yummy, I want to really taste the velvety chocolate/coffee flavour.
3) Flavour of the ganache: Really strong! This was my most experimental part, trialling different cooking chocolates. Usually I use Plaistowe's 70% dark cooking chocolate (I used this in the mousse),
but I tried Lindt's 70% cocoa dark cooking chocolate. It was very strong, but delicious flavour of
bourbon vanilla- making it different from regular dark chocolate. I had to add a little icing sugar to cut down the bitterness, but I feel this chocolate was a perfect contrast to the sweeter filling and cake.
4) The waffle sticks were a bit grainy in the filling inside, and got soggy (I completed the cake the day before it was served). Might try a different brand, and put them on just before serving. The looked great though.
5) Visual appeal: The colours look good, the texture of the waffle sticks I liked, I did a little bit of chocolate random lace, but I needed more time to come up with something with more wow factor.
Maybe a little Adriano Zumbo in the making, I'll have to check whether his book is out yet. Let me know what you think? Have been experimenting and having fun with your favourite recipes?