Monday, August 9, 2010

The Plum and Blueberry Upside-Down Torte

This luscious creation was beautiful, beckoning – For me, it was among our least difficult preparations. The Green Gage plums' pits held their ground until I decided the cut the slices all around, and then pried them loose - it was worth it as the honeyed juices came forth. The blueberries were plump and sweet.

The 10 x 2" pan worked fine. 
Caramelizing went well. I didn’t use my copper sugar pot this time. It provides great heat. That same great heat manages to permeate three silicone mitts at a time, however, so I have resorted to a cool-handled, nonstick small pot. I am finding, also, that the Thermapen temperature-taking over and over is also very hot. So, I took fewer temps and watched more for color and even scent. That worked for a lovely medium amber.
The batter was easily put together in the food processor; then placed atop the blueberries. Even with the oven set at 355’ the cake was taking more time than it should. Finally at 50 minutes it appeared not quite done, tested to be 200’+. Although I was concerned, I gave in and quickly removed it. It’s still a constant oven battle. I am threatening 360' next time.
Finally, in spite of my concerns, the torte turned out beautifully. Served with whipped cream, stabilized with cream cheese and creme fraiche, it was greatly enjoyed by all. 

Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Lemon Meringue Cake Repeat Post & Woody's Lemon Luxury Layer Cake aka 'WLLLC'

The cake was Heaven from beginning to end. There was, however, one thing amiss:  It was the wrong cake! Or, one might say, it was the right cake at the wrong time. Marie kindly informed me, when I sent her a picture of it, that it wasn't the one she had in mind for that date. After laughing and laughing, it was, of course, apparent that I had just seen "... Lemon .... Cake" on the Heavenly Bakers' calendar, and happily went off, bought lemons - and baked the cake. So, sometime in the future, I now hoped, perhaps I could make "Woody's Lemon Luxury Layer Cake" while the group makes the "Lemon Meringue Cake."
Briefly, the cake:
Rose's lemon curd is velvety and just tart enough. 
It was great fun to finally heap the beautiful Italian meringue on top of the cake, swirl it, and watch it turn golden in the oven for a few minutes. Magical!
So, a happy ending for this Lemon Meringue Cake. It was so well received that there actually was not enough to go around. "Next time," they said, "please make two." I just smiled and winked at Rose.
And now to the task at hand: 

Woody's Luxury Lemon Layer Cake. . . 

 I shall reverse in time and prepare Woody's cake. What better way to get on track again?  Since the Heavenly Bakers have already done this, I will keep my descriptions, step-by-step comments, and photos brief.

Here is the finished cake for my friend's birthday:

What you see for decoration are white currants and curd swirls.
It was late or I would have piped with my new blue polycarbonate tips.

I love this cake! However, I would not do it all in one day. For me, it worked better doing the curd and the buttercream the day before. This curd is absolutely perfectly luxurious for the 'luxurious' cake. I have tried Tiptree, and in emergency it is fine, but for serious curd! This is it.
I didn't photograph the buttercream process for this cake. I will say that next time I will double the buttercream since I ran out after crumb coat. It would be fine to freeze the leftovers.

A small mis en place
Still battling my oven, I decided to trick it and set for 355' instead of 350'. I timed it for 30 minutes, between the 25-35 minutes specified by recipe. By Jove, it worked.

And then a peculiar thing happened - the recipe tells me to cut the two layers in half. Spread the curd on the bottom layers. Add the top layers. Place one 'set' on top of the other. And -What? I counted. I drew. I summoned my husband from the tv. Whatever I came up with, I ended up with an unfrosted center layer, to which I finally applied buttercream, which wasn't all bad an idea, even if I had misread the recipe. This cake is, indeed, luxurious with it's 17 eggs, and white chocolate, and is now one of my favorite cakes of all time. So very light, layered flavor of lemon and white chocolate. My friend expresses the same sentiments. This birthday girl-friend allowed me to bring home a piece each for my husband and myself, hid two pieces for herself - And ~~~ nobody knows where the rest of this fabulous creation is to be found! 
Thank you, Woody.