October 24, 2010

High time for tea...

After much ado about wedding cakes and some mental recovery on both our behalves, Miss Rose and I finally managed to realign our calendars for a spot of Sunday baking. This time we both had wants. Miss Rose wanted to use her newly acquired cloches, I had a saucy cake stand begging for some attention, and with Melbourne temporarily settling on a glorious spring day it seemed only natural to call time for tea.

Summoning our inner ladies of leisure we stuck with tradition in the form of asparagus tarts, chicken, smoked salmon, and cucumber finger sandwiches, scones with jam and clotted cream, and, of course, tea...







As Miss Rose was "all donged out", our additional sweeties took the form of Delia's delightful preserved ginger cake covered in maple Swiss meringue cream cheese buttercream. 




Well I presume it was delightful, because having been absent from TPB-proper for some time I have evidently lost some conditioning and simply couldn't manage a single slice. However, if the spicy aromas wafting from the oven were anything to go by, I imagine it was rather heavenly indeed.

When it came to the finishing touches, while Miss Rose had far greater intentions for her cloched creation, the Swiss meringue buttercream inevitably proved a fickle and near untamable beast, and for the sake of Miss Rose's sanity, let's just leave it that the less said about the cream cheese variety, the better. I suspect we won't be seeing the likes of it again in this town any time soon...




Nonetheless it was lovely getting back in to kitchen TPB, to spend some time enjoying the company of a dear friend at a gorgeous new coffee local, and to feel as though spring is finally on its way. I'm not sure what's next in store for we ladies of TPB, but if the last little while is anything to go by, I suspect it's going to be something rather good...

October 10, 2010

Happy birthday TPB...



Two years on and it's been crazy, it's been fun, and I most certainly couldn't have got here without you. Thanks for providing a light when it was needed, and for sharing the laughter, the love and a passion. We've done a lot these last two years, and I can't wait to see what we do next.


 

October 3, 2010

Cake week, take 2...


My apologies for it having been a little quiet here of late, but as you’re all no doubt aware it was wedding cake season, and so things have been a little busy.

A few months ago, as you watched Miss Rose unveil her incredible masterpiece I hinted as to what K&T’s wedding cake may comprise, and in saying that it would “involve an awful lot of this” I was by no means exaggerating. I’ve never bought five dozen eggs before, let alone the two kilos of butter, four kilos of white chocolate, three kilos of berries and the two and a half litres of cream that went with them. But it was certainly a sight to behold, and to think that it was my responsibility to make it all become cake was admittedly rather daunting. I suspect the providore who said “looks like there’s some serious baking going on here” didn’t fully appreciate how much of an understatement that really was... 


 This becomes cake…


Now I must confess I was a little nervous about this one, and for a number of reasons. It wasn’t until the first layers were in and baking that I actually stopped to think about the fact that I’d never made a four-tiered cake before, let alone dessert for seventy people. And even ignoring all fears of transport and structural calamities, personal standards of execution meant I wanted to deliver something that tasted good, looked good, and was frankly above and beyond everything K&T had hoped for. 

So there was a reasonably high bar to be met, but it wasn’t this pressure of expectation that was the only source of nervousness. You see, things had started to go a little awry in the pre-wedding lead-up, to the point where it seemed inevitable that something would go drastically wrong. I mean, how often is a football grand final replay scheduled for you wedding day? (For the record, only twice in the history of the game, and just this once for K&T.) Add to that the travel agent stuffing up the honeymoon booking, and the best man calling a week before the wedding to say that he’d just broken his ankle, and to my mind at least, this certainly did not bode well.

But there’s nothing like a bit of a challenge (I haven’t even mentioned my bridesmaid responsibilities yet), and since the plan was to deliver a four-tiered white chocolate raspberry cake, layered with strawberry white chocolate mousse and covered with white chocolate ganache, then that was exactly what I was going to do. 


 I’m sorry, what kind of chocolate?


Day one, and the cakes baked according to plan. A lusciously rich mix was spread between a number of pans, and while the resulting layers turned out without ado, I will most certainly be happy not to be double lining cake tins for a while. 




A quick visit to the fridge meant the cakes cut like a dream, and the double layers of strawberry mousse went in to each tier surprisingly uneventfully. At the day's close, the resultant mountain of dishes was conquered, the floor mopped and the dowel cut, and while evidently I had inherited my father’s talents for misadventure when it comes to home handiwork, barring a few minor incisions, the cakes were sent without fuss to chill out overnight, and all was in readiness for day two.




The following morning was met with perhaps the largest pot of ganache I have ever seen and the revelation that wedding cakes are indeed the mother of repetition, for not only must tins be doubly-lined for baking and then setting with mousse, but three or so coating of ganache are also required for the desired finish.





I did, however, manage to make it through the many tedious hours of palette work, at which point it was time to get serious. Already weighing in at over twelve kilos, my little lovelies were in need of a bit of support, and so the lower layers were measured and doweled, and I took great delight in performing one of the more enjoyable baking activities - that which requires a hammer.




So with construction near complete, and each layer suited with ribbons and bows, it was time to pack up and drive the few dreaded hours through the Victorian countryside to the home of the main event. Thankfully the journey concluded drama-free, and after a day filled with glamorous girliness, a beautiful ceremony, and more photo poses than I ever imagined were possible, it was time to stack up the tiers, rejoice at the lack of imbalance, and emit a little ta-dah!




Admittedly while I was a little disappointed the reception centre's choice of service meant the guests missed seeing each tier in all its layered glory, by all accounts it was delicious, and I could not have asked for anything more.


 

And so after a very long and happy day, the second of our wee wedding cakes had finally come to fruition. It was an honour to share in K&T's special day, not only as head cakestress, but as a friend and witness to their commitment to each other. Thank you, and congratulations. You are both beautiful people, in every way...