Sacher (not soccer) Cake

So, when I was first told that I would be preparing this cake, the instructor said the name so fast I thought we were making a cake, in the shape of a soccer ball. I quickly found out that that was not the case. I give a CHOCOLATE CAKE to end all chocolate cakes. Sorry some of the pictures didn't come out so great, I'm taking pictures in class with my iPhone, and well... get over it.

RECIPE: Chocolate Glaze

4oz unsweetened chocolate
4oz semisweet chocolate
4oz unsalted butter
4 tsp light corn syrup

Melt all ingredients together over a double boiler, remove from heat and allow to cool - stir occasionally. Use immediately before the glaze dries or stiffens.

RECIPE: Sacher Cake

10oz A/P flour
3oz cocoa powder, alkalized (more expensive chocolate than sometimes available)
12.5oz unsalted butter, softened
18oz sugar
14 egg yolks
hazelnuts (I used pecans), toasted and finely chopped
14 egg whites
18oz apricot jam/glaze (or as needed to glaze tops of cake)

Grease (2) 9" spring foam pans, line with parchment.
Sift flour and cocoa powder TWICE.
Cream butter and 7 oz of sugar until light. Slowly add egg yolks and beat well.
Fold in sifted flour mixture and nuts by hand (mixture will be really hard/tough).
Whip egg whites to soft peak, than add remaining sugar and whip until stiff.
Stir in 1/4 of egg whites to flour mixture, to lighten mixture. Repeat.
Fold in last 1/4 of egg whites.
Pour batter into pans, bake at 350 for 35-45 minutes. Cool cakes before removing from pan.
Split cakes in half (or thirds) and glaze the tops and sides of each cake with apricot jam/glaze. Cool cakes completely.

*OPTIONAL- frost tops and sides of cakes (additional) with chocolate ganache.
Layer cakes on top of each other, and "ladle" chocolate sauce over sides and then top of cake.
"Shock" the pan the cake is on, making the chocolate even out over the top of the cake. Replace cake on a clean surface, and refrigerate to set.

"Torch" the top of the cake when ready to serve, in order to have a nice shiny cake.

Use a HOT knife to cut through all layers and give a clean cut.

(Ladyfingers were used to decorate the cake, and you can also use some left over ganache to write on top of the cake, and on a random piece of paper -see????!?!!?!!!)

Ganache filled Ladyfingers

Even though I wasn't a really big fan of the ganache we made, I still think it turned out pretty good. The ladyfingers could have been piped better, there was way too many different shapes (meaning some were longer, fatter than others) but HAY! ... they all tasted the same when I dumped them into my mouth.

RECIPE: Ladyfingers
3oz cornstarch
4oz bread flour
6 egg yolks
6oz sugar
6 egg whites
1/2 tsp lemon juice

RECIPE: Ganache

1 lb bittersweet chocolate
1 pt heavy cream
1 fl oz almond/coffee liquer

(bring cream to a boil. Pour hot cream over chopped chocolate stir with rubber spatula to blend; stir in liquer. All to cool before using)

Sift flour and cornstarch together.
Whip egg yolks with 2oz of sugar until thick and creamy.
Whip egg whites until foamy. Slowly add 2 oz of sugar and lemon juice.
Whip until soft peaks form, then add remaining sugar until soft peaks form.
Fold 1/3 of whites into whipped yolks, then fold in remaining whites. Fold in
the flour mixture.
Place mixture in pastry bag, and pipe as desired.
Bake at 425 until lightly browned.
Flip cookies on back side. Pipe ganache in center and sandwich between two cookies.
Sprinkle with powder sugar.

Orange Chiffon w/ Chantilly Cream

This cake is wonderfully light, and has a great orange/lemon compliment flavor.
The normal chiffon cake is suppose to be made in a bundt pan, however we decided to make it into a 'jelly roll' and have a little fun. You could also fill this one up with a lemon curd... and it would equally as great!

8oz cake flour, sifted
12oz granulated sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
4 fl oz vegetable oil
6 egg yolks
2 fl oz water, cool
4 fl oz, orange juice
1 tbsp orange zest, fine grated
2 tbsp vanilla extract
8 egg whites

Sift together flour, 6oz of sugar, baking powder and salt.
Mix together oil, yolks, water, orange juice, orange zest and vanilla. Add to flour.
Beat egg whites until foamy. Slowly beat in remaining sugar.
Stir 1/3 of egg whites into batter. Fold in remaining whites.
Pour mixture into parchment lined baking sheet or jelly roll pan.
Bake on 325 for about 8-10 minutes.

Allow to cool (can place in refrigerator overnight).
Line the entire top of cake with chantilly cream.
Roll cake, sprinkle with powder sugar, slice and enjoy.


Vennoise Baguette

The last of the projects made this week in bread class was the "Vennois."
At first glance its made almost exactly like a standard baguette.
It has an egg wash (that you first brush on; refrigerate the bread for a couple of minutes, and then re-egg wash the bread) that makes it incredibly shiny.

The other difference is in how you "slash" the bread. If you slash it almost straight across it looks like mine (pictured here). If you slash it downward, towards the length of the bread, it almost made an "S" curve down the bread (which was very beautiful... sorry no pics).

1 kl bread flour
20g salt
100g sugar
40g yeast
2 eggs
500g milk
150g butter, cold and cubed.

Again, just make this bread dough as you would any other. Add butter last.
Allow to rest for 1 hour. Portion your dough into 300g. Preshape into baguette
shape. Final shape bread into baguette and egg wash. Refrigerate for 3 minutes, then egg wash again. Slash bread and proof for 20 minutes. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes.

Baguette Rolls

Using pretty much the same recipe as in my previous post HERE, we made some baguette rolls, to be served with dinner at the local bistro (on campus).
There is a slight difference in the recipe, but basically you make the baguette the same way, however after you slash the tops of the bread, you then cut the bread into smaller pieces to create the "roll" effect.

RECIPE: baguette roll
1 kl flour
650g water
25g salt
350g fermented dough
30g yeast


(unbaked) Brown Sugar/Cinnamon Curls

You would think that as much money as we (all of the students) are paying to go to school all, or most, of our ovens would work properly - EVERYDAY. Well for the past few days only the bottom layer of our 3-tiered deck oven have worked. This only truly affects the classes that bake bread. In addition to that oven not working, only (1) layer of our convection oven is working also.

With this in mind we had to decide which bread we were NOT going to be able to bake, and who would wait until next week to go into the oven. The choice was either chocolate or cinnamon/brown sugar (what a choice)... alas the chocolate won.

Using the MILK BREAD RECIPE from the previous post (chocolate chip swirls).
Using the other half of the dough from the recipe.

Spread pasty cream over the entire 1/2 of the dough.
Sprinkle a mixture of brown sugar and cinnamon all over the dough and then fold 1/2 of the dough ontop of the other.
Cut the double folded dough into long strips and separate.
Holding both ends of the stips, begin twisting the dough into tight twists.
Circle around one edge until the dough makes a circle round.
Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.
You can top the bread with more pastry cream and fresh fruit.

(we didn't, because we couldn't bake them... so they just went into the fridge).

Chocolate Chip Milk Bread Swirls

I really enjoyed making these in class last night, mostly because I was able to eat large portions of quality chocolate chips while waiting around to do "stuff."

Again, the steps to making bread by hand are far too long to list (and my arm is damn near numb from doing all of the kneading).

1 kl bread flour
20g salt
100g sugar
40g yeast
6 eggs
275g milk
200g butter, cold and cubed

After mixing and kneading the dough, leave out in a floured bowl for 30 minutes. Then refrigerate dough overnight.
Remove dough from refrigerator, divide in half and begin rolling it out on a floured surface.
Roll out the dough until it covers the bottom of (2) sheet pans (cookie sheet).
Place pan back in refrigerator for 20 minutes.
Place dough onto countertop and egg wash the middle of the dough (about 3-4 inches).
Brush both sides of egg wash center, with pastry cream all the way to the edges.
Sprinkle chocolate chips over the pastry cream and roll in both sides to the center.
Refrigerate for 20 minutes, then slice roll into sections; twist the center and
place back on the baking sheet flat side down.
Egg wash tops, and bake for 10-15 minutes on 350.

Brioche Braid

So... because I truly hate having to make bread by hand, I'm not going to write down instructions on how to prepare... trust me, you'll thank me later. Just make this bread the same way you would any other loaf, except add the butter in last, after the dough comes together for the first time.

1 kl bread flour
20g salt
150g sugar
40g yeast
12 eggs
125g milk
500g butter, cold and cubed
*egg wash (brush right before proofing - before baking)

This recipe will yield 2 large, braided loaves.
Bake at 220 degree celcius for about 20-30 minutes... be sure the bread is cooked
in the middle... this will mean the outside of the bread will look a little dark, due to the egg wash.

Armaretto Genoise

Last week in pastry class we were focusing on specialty frostings and unique cakes: genoise and classic sponge cakes. Both can be flavored to taste like just about anything, and both are used in a variety of designs and ways.

We also had our first lesson using gelatin sheets (these looker boogers are fun and interesting). To bad you can't purchase them locally, only in UBER-specialty stores. If you're located in the Los Angeles area, "Surfas" (corner of Washington/National) is the only place that will sell them to the public.

They are these long, see through sheets that add texture and more structure to whatever they are added too (mostly frostings).

Lastly, we worked on a variety of frosting and fillings: Chantilly cream, Bavarian cream and pastry cream (the latter can be used for almost anything).

The result was Armaretto Geniose w/ Bavarian cream filling & Chantilly cream frosting

RECIPE: (to dissolve gelatin sheets)
- Place hard gelatin sheets in a ice bath to soften; 15-20 minutes
- Mise en place the remaining ingredients
- Use about 1/4 of "whatever" liquid that's in the recipe, warm it up in the
microwave (be sure to get it hot - not boiling)
- Place dissolved gelatin in hot liquid and whisk until it dissolved, completely
- Add dissolved gelatin to the egg mixture/custard (whichever you're preparing)
- Whip the cream until stiff; use right away

Here is a picture of a dry gelatin sheet... very thin, with ridges in it.

RECIPE: Classic Genoise
10 eggs
8oz granulated sugar
1.5oz butter, melted
.3oz vanilla extract (or whichever one you want to use)
9oz cake flour

Sift flour, set aside.
Whisk the eggs and sugar together in large bowl. Place bowl over double boiler and heat mixture until 100 degrees (don't cook eggs) - stir frequently.
Replace the bowl back on the mixer and whip until mixture is triple in volume.
Fold sifted flour into egg mixture (gently - do not deflate mixture).
Add melted butter into vanilla extract. Pour vanilla/butter mixture onto the sides of the bowl and fold into the batter. Use batter immediately.
Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 8-15 mixtures (time vary dramatically).

RECIPE: Chantilly cream
1 qt heavy cream
2 ea gelatin sheets

Bloom gelatin sheets, dissolve sheets in small portion of (hot) heavy cream.
Add gelatin to rest of cream. Beat on high until stiff peaks form.

RECIPE: Bavarian Cream
3 lb pastry cream (see recipe below)
1 qt whipped cream
3 ea gelatin sheets

Bloom gelatin sheets, dissolve sheets in small portin of (hot) whipping cream.
Add gelatin to rest of cream. Beat on high until SOFT peaks form. Fold in
pastry cream until well blended.

RECIPE: Pastry Cream
1 qt milk
1 vanilla bean
7.5oz sugar
6oz egg yolks
2.5oz cornstarch
2oz butter

Warm milk with 1/3 of sugr, until hot (do not boil).
Combine egg yolks and rest of sugar in a bowl, and whisk until sugar is dissolved.
(never leave sugar alone in yolks, it will begin to cook them)
Add cornstarch to egg mixture, slowly; make sure there are no lumps.
Temper hot milk mixture into egg mixture slowly, and the pour egg mixture into
hot pan.
Continue whisking cream on the stove until it begins to thicken.
Remove from heat and then add butter, whisking until well combined.

NOTE: you have to chill pastry cream before using, either place in bowl and cover with plastic wrap (be sure and place a film directly on top of cream; place the entire pan/bowl in a large bowl of ice water (to chill quickly); or pour hot cream into plastic wrap and wrap up and refrigerate until needed.
To reconstitute cream, just re-whisk cold cream until smooth again.

Uncooked Wheat loaves

While looking through my iPhone, to get ready and post some more pics from class, I forgot to post these "naked" pictures of the wheat loaf before baking (also pre-proofing - they deflated).

No recipe here, just some more pictures.


Happy Birthday Hubby!

All day long, I've wanted to post about my hubby's birthday. I've been running around from doctor's appointment, lunch date (with hubby), picking up Ryann from school, Big 5's, making birthday pancakes, and baking in school for 5 hours.

During the very short, moment I got to spend with Cliffy-Clif I was able to give him his gift and a birthday cake made out of pancakes (he doesn't care for sweets). Chris even helped to blow the candles out with "Dear Old Dad" (the only rugrat missing was Sugar Raye).

This is the first moment I've had all day to write this post, and there's only 9 minutes left in his birthday. Well babe, I just wanted to tell you that I love you so much, and I hope you had a wonderful birthday.

I truly am blessed to have a great husband... one who deserves to have wonderful day, and great birthdays. You're the best-est!

Here's what the Old Man received as a gift...

...a grown up gift, for my growing up hubby!


Wheat Loaf

As you can see, it's been pretty busy at school... all of this and it's only our 2nd day of class (I'm not even blogging about the 36 rolls I had to make + the additional 24 I had to make (me and the other 19 students in the class) to supply the "bistro" with enough bread to make it through the dinner shift.

600 gm bread flour
400 gm wheat flour (it's tricky to use an "all" wheat recipe; doable - but tricky)
300 gm fermented dough (see previous post for recipe)
30 gm yeast (use 1/2 this ingredient if using "active/dry" yeast; explanation in previous post)
20 gm salt
50 gm butter, cubed
650 gm water

Activate yeast in water. Combine dry ingredients. Add wet ingredients and butter to dry ingredients. Knead until dough forms. Add fermented dough; knead again until dough is formed and you no longer see fermented dough. Place dough in a floured bowl and allow to rest 1 hour. Scale portions to 300 gm, and preshape to large rolls.

Shape dough into rolls and proof for 20 minutes. Score tops of dough into different designs. Bake in 220 degree celsius oven for 20-25 minutes. Cool completely and enjoy.

Country Baguette

Nothing says "Welcome back to pastry school" like a fresh bread.

(sorry... we use the metric system in school)
800 gm bread flour
200 gm rye flour
300 gm fremented dough (recipe to follow)
650 gm water
30 gm yeast (1/2 this ingredient if using "active/dry" yeast)
20 gm salt

Activate yeast in water. Mix dry ingredients. Add wet ingredients. Combine until dough comes together. Add fermented dough. Knead until you no longer see the fermented dough. Pre-shape dough into petite pain. Rest for 1 hour. Portion dough into 250 gm pieces. Shape dough into large navette.
Check out this cool video on shaping bread. Click HERE!
Cover with plastic wrap for 20 minutes. Score the tops of the baguette, bake in 220 degree celsius oven for 20-25 miutes. Cool completely.

RECIPE: Fermented Dough (almost forgot)
1 kl bread flour
650 gm water
30 gm yeast (remember what I said about "live" vs. "active/dry" - 1/2 recipe if using the latter)
30 gm salt

Activate yeast in water. Combine dry ingredients. Add wet ingredients and knead until dough forms. Place dough in covered bowl and allow to sit, overnight, in refrigerator. Use as needed.

Cheesecake - Party of 1!

Ok, so here is a way to have your cheesecake and eat it to.
What better way to have more than 1 cheesecake (when you're craving)... just make "mini" cheesecakes. Then you can have 2 or 4 and feel good about yourself
(or is this just my twisted logic?)

1 c graham cracker crumbs
1/4 c sugar
7-8 tbsp butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350.
Combine above ingredients thoroughly, and spoon into the bottom of mini pie pans (you can also use this mix for (1) large cheesecake - recipe yield (1) 8 inch springform cake pan).

Press mixture up against the sides of the pan.

Bake for 5 minutes (8 if using a cake pan). Let cool.

12 oz cream cheese, softened
1 c sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
3 eggs

Beat cream cheese first. Add sugar and vanilla, mix until well blended. Add eggs, one at a time. Spoon mixture into prepared crust.

Place in a baking pan 1/2 filled with water (to prevent cracking). Bake 15-17 minutes (40-45 minutes for full cake pan). Cool to room temperature, then refrigerate ovenight.


1 banana, 2 banana, 3 banana (bread) more

On my quest to find the best banana bread recipe, I have to keep finding, baking and tasting all the ones that catch my attention. So here, again, is another recipe.

2 c AP flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 c sugar
1 egg
5 tbsp milk
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 c butter
1 c mashed bananas
1/2 c walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350.
Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
Cream together sugar, butter. Beat the egg slightly, mix into sugar mixture. Add bananas. Mix in sifted ingredients until just combined, add in milk and nuts. Spread batter into greased loaf pan. Bake until brown and cracks along top (roughly 40-50 minutes ).