52 Weeks of Cake (Week 5): An Empty Plate and a Coffee-Filled Cup


Most of the time, people would like to be successful in the things they would like to achieve. And people tend to be in over their heads whenever they do. So sometimes, the universe gives them a kick in the ass just to bring them back to how real life is and that we need to make mistakes to learn and to stay grounded. Unfortunately, Mr. Universe gave me a good kick. And maybe a smack as well. You’ll know why as I go on with the story.

Since the time I attended Heny Sison‘s class (see post here), I have been on a ‘God-like’ streak (pardon for the Warcraft DOTA reference) whenever I do my 52 Weeks of Cake Challenges. It was really a confidence-booster considering my huge fear of baking cakes. It made me realize that I am really good at what I am doing. And I love that feeling. It feels great! Routinely, as the day of the challenge approaches, I glance at the recipe, takes notes on what ingredients I have and what I have to purchase and then organize my gameplan in my head. Simple. On the day itself, I do the mise en place so that once I start baking, the momentum is there. I sifted the dry ingredients, separated the egg yolks from the whites, combined the wet and dry ingredients, whipped the egg whites to stiff but not dry and folded the aerated egg whites to the mixture. I placed the pan in the preheated oven and left it on its own. Mid-way in the cooking time, I smelled a burning smell so I decided to change the setting of the oven from having the top and bottom heat sources on to only the bottom so that the top won’t burn. And when the timer rang, I took out the cake and discovered that it was not cooked enough so I decided to remedy the situation by baking it for another 15 minutes hoping that it would improve, which it kind of did.

That’s just the beginning. After the cake disaster, I went on making the frosting. It was a no-melt mocha frosting. Traumatized from the previous coffee frosting I have made, I made sure I won’t be using so much coffee this time. So the recipe called for whipping up the egg whites with the sugar just as the sugar is about to dissolve. I don’t know if I missed how Chef Heny taught us to do this however, as I was about to finish the frosting, I tasted it and the graininess was apparent. The frosting was not bad. It was not overwhelmingly sweet and it certainly did not have that overpowering coffee flavor. It was good except for that grainy texture. As I dirty-iced the cake, I definitely knew that there was something wrong with the cake. The top part of the cake was spongy, as what a chiffon cake was supposed to be. The bottom half was dense and heavy. I was like, ‘I baked this in one pan. Why did it bake like it was baked separately?’. It was disheartening since this cake was also made by Chef Heny whom I brought home a sample. There is a point of comparison and what I did is far from hers. Yup. I was disappointed by my result. The good thing though is that the frosting worked out and that I was able to finally pipe my first decorations for a cake using frosting.

Mocha Chiffon Cake with No-Melt Mocha Frosting

Again, this cake is really good taste-wise. What disappointed me was the texture that the cake and the icing turned out. Maybe there was something wrong in my part, and not with the recipe. Try it out and let me know how yours turned out (scroll down for the recipe). This may feel like I was crushed by the unwanted results however, I look at this as a glass half-full rather than half-empty. After all, one can only learn through their mistakes for experience is the best teacher. These things push me into being better at my craft and be the best at what I do. These continue to keep the fire aflame.

Mocha Chiffon with No-Melt Mocha Butter Icing

From Chef Heny Sison’s Basic Cakes and Icings for Beginners Class

Chiffon Cake:

2 1/4 cup cake flour, sifted
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup oil (vegetable or corn)
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon instant coffee
7 egg yolks

1 cup egg whites (7 egg whites)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

Preheat oven to 325°F.

Grease and line with waxed paper one 10″ round pan.

Sift flour, baking powder, salt and 1 cup sugar three times. Pu them in the bowl and make a well in the center. Add the oil, egg yolks, and coffee and water mixture. Stir at low speed until smooth and no more trace of flour.

In a separate bowl, beat egg whites, 1/2 cup sugar and cream of tartar. Beat until stiff but not dry.

Fold egg yolks mixture into the egg whites mixture. Blend well. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 45 minutes or until done.

Mocha No-Melt Butter Icing:
2/3 cup egg whites
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 cup shortening
1 cup butter, softened
2 tablespoons instant coffee dissolved in water

Beat egg whites and sugar until sugar is almost dissolved. Add softened butter and shortening. Beat until very well blended then add the dissolved coffee. Spread on cake.

Let your simple failures turn you into greater people. Do not let anything hinder you from reaching for what you want.

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One response to “52 Weeks of Cake (Week 5): An Empty Plate and a Coffee-Filled Cup

  1. Do not grease the pan, especially the sides. Dot the bottom of the pan with shortening or butter and line it with grease paper. Pre-heat oven for 15 minutes. Use oven thermometer to check if it is really 325 degrees. Let me know the results.

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