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We've had so much fun with this. Miss Allie is already planning the next one!
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What a week! The end of the school year brings so much chaos and stress- finals, AP tests, cheerleading tryouts, school parties, and of course just normal LIFE.
Among other things this week I had to make the desserts for a party celebrating the retirement of someone working with my mom. I decided on a platter of Pina Colada cheesecakes and was trying to figure out what kind of cake to make. The guest of honor has ordered from me in the past and requested my special Bavarian cream filling. The cake was a simple sponge and it was frosted with whipped cream and surrounded with a chocolate lattice. I dotted the top with leftover chocolate after I made the lattice and ringed the finished cake with glazed strawberries. This is not a difficult cake, but does take some time. Well worth it.
Allora! Tutti a tavola!
1/2 cup milk
2 teaspoons plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
8 large eggs
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
dash teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a small saucepan, warm the milk and 2 teaspoons of the butter together over medium-low heat. With an electric mixer fitted with a wire whip, beat the eggs and 1 cup of the sugar on medium-high speed in a large mixing bowl until the mixture is pale yellow, thick, and tripled in volume, about 8 minutes. This is about 8 on my stand mixer. With the mixer on low speed, beat in the warm milk mixture. Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt into a small mixing bowl. Add half the flour mixture to the egg mixture and blend thoroughly until smooth. Repeat with the other half. Add the vanilla and mix gently. Grease 2 9 1/2 inch cake pans with the remaining 2 tablespoons butter. Sprinkle evenly with the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar. Pour the cake batter into the pans, dividing it evenly. Bake until the cake springs back when touched, about 20-25 minutes. Cool for about 2 minutes, then gently flip it out onto a large sheet of parchment paper. Let cool completely.
1 envelope Knox unflavored gelatin
1/4 cup cold water
2 egg yolks
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp vanilla
In a medium sized bowl, sprinkle gelatin on cold water to soften. Place egg yolks in a small saucepan; blend in sugar, salt and milk. Cook over medium low heat, stirring constantly till mixture thickens and coats a spoon (between 175-200 degrees on a candy thermometer). Stir hot egg mixture into gelatin and blend well. Stir in vanilla. Cool and chill in refrigerator until mixture starts to thicken- remove immediately
2 egg whites
1/4 cup sugar
Beat egg whites on high speed till frothy. Slowly add sugar and continue to beat till stiff peaks are formed
1 cup heavy cream
Beat till stiff
Fold egg whites into egg/ gelatin mixture then fold in whipped heavy cream. Pour into a well greased (I use Pam) 9 1/2 inch cake pan identical to the ones you baked the cake layers in. Refrigerate several hours till firm.
2 cups heavy cream
whip until stiff with some confectioners sugar and vanilla to taste
To assemble: Place one cake layer on top of Bavarian cream in panPut serving plate on top and invert all together; remove pan. Top with second layer. Frost sides of cake with some of whipped cream using a spreader. Using a pastry bag with a large star tip, pie remaining cream on top of cake to cover. Refrigerate while making lattice.
To make chocolate lattice: measure carefully around circumference of cake. Also measure height (for this cake I made the lattice extend higher than the cake- you can also make it a narrower band around the cake). I've found that freezer paper works well for this as it has a highly waxed side that releases the chocolate easily. Cut a strip of paper the length of the circumference and as wide as you want the height to be. To prevent any overflow mess, lay the strip on top of another piece of paper on your counter
Now melt 4 ounces of good quality semi-sweet chocolate and pour into a pastry bag with a closed bottom- you need to cut a very tiny bit off the tip to pipe the chocolate- you don't want big globs. What I do is place the chocolate in a Ziploc freezer bag (quart sized) and microwave for 30 seconds at a time till melted. Then snip the tip and I'm ready to go. Now here's the fun part- just pipe out a random squiggly pattern all across the strip of paper being sure to connect all the lines and cover the whole expanse with your design. Don't make the lines TOO thin- this will be fragile.
I have, on several occasions traced a scroll or lattice pattern on the paer for a more "regular, symmetrical look, but today was just a more rustic, natural "squiggle".
Allow to sit on your counter till the chocolate is well set, but not HARD- do not refrigerate at this point or you'll never get it around the cake. On my granite counter, this usually takes 45-60 minutes.
Now- remove the cake from the fridge and CAREFULLY wrap the strip of paper, chocolate side in, around the cake. Just lightly press to the side so it touches- don't press to hard. Put the cake back in the fridge for about 15 minutes. remove and carefully (and slowly) peel the paper off leaving the cake surrounded by chocolate lattice. Today I added some strawberries glazed with melted strawberry jelly on top, but that's optional.
Don't forget to enter the Giveaway and join us tomorrow night for Tablescape Thursday at Susan's!
Buon Alimenti, Buon Amici,
Pattie and Allie