Sunday, August 8, 2010

Cake Weekend: Round Two

So...belated update. After my first weekend post, I had another weekend of mini-cake experimentation. I had two friends from law school in Chicago stop over, and I made three cakes to celebrate. I made a "Hazelnut Crunch Cake with Mascarpone and Chocolate", a key lime vanilla cake, and a remix o the Aztec chocolate cake from last time:

Hazelnut Crunch Cake with Mascarpone and Chocolate:

This cake, from Giada de Laurentiis of Food Network, is a chocolate cake with marzcapone frosting and toasted hazelnuts. I cheated, and again used a cake mix, this time the organic chocolate from Arrowhead Mills. I then oven toasted hazelnuts and made the marscapone frosting per the recipe. I used about 1/4 of the cake mix; really 1/2 the box split into two 4 inch mini-cakes. I made half the marscapone frosting and chocolate garnish. This was a crowd pleaser. I especially like how the orange infused chocolate garnish and orange peel brightened the flavors, so I stole them for later...

Aztec Chocolate Remix:

I again used the chili (with an i) infused chocolate ganache for a frosting and between the layers. I use the same ganache base recipe from Alton Brown, my personal food deity. This time I frosted the other mini-chocolate cake. I finished it with orange zest/ peel and the orange infused chocolate bits from the above recipe. The result was better than the original, and tingled oh so nicely.

So the week before, I made an apparently awesome key lime pie with a ginger snap crust and meringue topping. I say "apparently" because I made it in my Mom's kitchen(where I spend an inordinate amount of time), and she served it to my Dad's business partners that weekend. They loved it, but I didn't get to eat any of it.
So, based on that dessert, I made a third and final cake:

Vanilla Key Lime and Ginger Snap Cake.

Again, I started from the Arrowhead Mills Organic Vanilla cake mix, and made a mini-cake that I cut into 2 layers.

12-14 Ginger Snap Cookie
1/2 tsp Candied Ginger

2 limes(~4-6 key limes)
2 Cups granulated sugar
3 1/2 Cups Water

Put the cookies and the candied ginger in the work bowl of your food processor and pulse until crumbled and combined.

Next, I made a quick marmalade. I peeled the lime zest and cut it into very thin and short strips. I the juiced the limes, getting approximately a 1/2 cup of fresh lime juice. I then combine the juice, water, sugar, and zest in a medium saucepan, over medium to medium high heat for about three hours. This tasted fine, but the zest wasn't nearly as candied as I had gotten in a lemon marmalade a few months back, so I suggest cooking longer and lower. The marmalade will thicken when done, enough to coat the back of a spoon.

I next spread the marmalade on both the upper and lower sides of the inner layer, then sprinkled in a hefty layer of the Ginger Snap crumbles before reassembling the cake.


8oz Heavy Whipping Cream
1/4 Cup Granulated Sugar
Pinch of gelatin
1/4 Tsp Lime Zest
4-8 Crumbled Ginger Snap Cookie

I poured the cold whipping cream into the work bowl of my Kitchen-Aid stand mixer, added the sugar, and began whipping it to med-stiff peaks. I took about 1/4 of a packet of gelatin, placed it into a 1/3 cup measuring cup, added water and heated over the stove to "bloom". I added about 1/3 of the gelatin to the cream as I was whipping it to have the foam hold its coherence. After 2-3 minutes, I grated a small amount of lime zest, probably about 1/4 teaspoon, into the whipped cream and mixed for a few seconds to combine. I then added the Ginger Snap crumbles from before. Finally, AFTER COOLING both the whipped cream and cakes, I frosted the cake to completion.

And, just in case you think I live on cake alone (insert Marie Antoinette joke here), later we sat down for dinner with two other friends, and enjoyed salad and Alton Brown's "40 Cloves and a Chicken."

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