Friday, August 21, 2009

Julia Child's Challenging Cambridge Cake

Hello Sweet Readers! I wanted to post this earlier, but as it turns out, I know many sweet friends that all had their birthday this week. So.... I was busy baking and sharing sweet things with them instead of blogging. But here is the crazy Julia Child Cambridge cake I attempted last weekend for a party honoring Julia. Well, the party was a showcase potluck of all Julia Child's appetizers and yummy wines with which to accompany them. It was so much fun! Most of us had seen the movie "Julie & Julia" and were excited to get together and discuss it while enjoying her recipes (thank you so much Arnie and Ann, for organizing it and putting on such a wonderful party). Each couple brought an appetizer, but are hosts were kind enough to allow me bring the dessert because, well, they know that is what I like to bring :)
So here is the cake I brought along. It might look unassuming, but this cake was very time consuming and laborious to make. But it was fantastic! Especially the Mocha French Buttercream. I borrowed the book "The Way to Cook" from a friend and the photo of this cake was so beautiful, I had to try it. In the notes, Julia said that this is the cake that made her like cake. She said she had previously only had cake with yucky shortening-based frosting and had no desire for it. After this one...and in particular the buttercream...she was hooked! So, the buttercream took about an hour and a half itself. The cake...which is a cake that I had never made, about the same. The cake was a Genoise cake and she was very particular how everything was done. I watched a couple YouTube videos on making one, but hers was more complicated. Trust me. I then "imbibed" the cake with a rum based sugar syrup, which was good, because from what I had read, the Genoise cake tends to be dryer than other cakes (my question was, "then why make one?!"). The chocolate you see around the edges did not look like the picture. It is supposed to be a chocolate wrap. Turns out that you need to chill, in the refrigerator, two 27 inch strips of melted chocolate until it is almost set and then wrap it around the cake and peel off the paper, revealing a beautiful chocolate wall. Also turns out that in Sacramento, nothing like that will "chill" on the counter. And a side-by-side refrigerator won't accommodate flat, 27 inch long strips of wet chocolate. And apparently sticking ice coolers under them won't work either. Oh well. That is why we have walls of chocolate that look like 2 by 4s. Live and Learn (and hope for a different fridge one day..):) End result? It may not look so hot, but it tasted great. The buttercream was very flavorful and creamy and delightful. The cake was infused with an interesting sweetness from the syrup and it all went together for a very pleasant experience that everyone said they enjoyed. Will I make it again? Likely not. But I might use some tips I learned and will definitely flavor my buttercream with espresso, dark rum and chocolate again!


Nina said...

very nice! This looks awesome!


Kristin said...

it looks great! i think the pieces of chocolate on the sides look good too. If it was one big strip of chocolate, how would you cut into it?

i am curious about this buttercream... ill have to see if the book at it my library.

Allyson Rae said...

I actually think the "chocolate shingles" look really neat--but maybe that's just my taste.
That looks fantastic though. :)

I've never commented you before, but I've been following for awhile because my college friends and I like to bake cupcakes when we're bored at school. & well--you have a multitude of cupcakes :)

A Cupcake Life said...

Glory was telling me about this incredible cake! I am looking forward to seeing the movie!



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