Thursday, September 3, 2009

Mini Tiers

So tonight was an exercise of sorts in making mini tiered cakes. This was not the original intent, but I am happy with the results nonetheless.

An old coworker of Alan's requested a cake for his girlfriend's return to town. Originally it was going to be a two layer 6" cake, but since I only have one 6" pan I made the executive decision to alter the design so that I could fill all of the pans at once. The result: a cupcake on top of a 4" layer on top of a 6" layer. All chocolate. Dark chocolate cake, whipped chocolate ganache filling between the layers, and chocolate ganache frosting on the outside. The result?

It looks like it is much bigger in the picture! I used a new cake recipe for this one, and I don't know if it was due to that or my miscalculating the baking time, but the middle of the 6" layer sunk quite dramatically. Thankfully, because I was filling it anyway, I just mounded up the whipped ganache in the middle to even things out. The fact that I was using a firm outer frosting made this "fix" a little easier to manage as well.

The second cake I made tonight was for a coworker of mine who wanted a small cake for her boyfriend, "just because". His favorite cake is coconut, but this one is faux coconut. Because of the super-late notice (she just told me today), I couldn't try the recipe from Coconut Cake Revival that I have been eyeing for months. Instead, I doctored a cake mix. White cake mix with coconut milk instead of water, and fresh grated coconut on the outside.

I hadn't realized how difficult it was to gain access to a coconut! First you have to drain the water inside (by puncturing the eyes), then you have to bake it so that the husk will crack off, peel it, and finally grate it. It was quite the amount of work! But, fresh coconut has a much more delicate flavor than the store bought flaky stuff, so I am sure it was worth it.

Though it looks as though the traditional frosting is "7 Minute Frosting", I have never had much luck with it, so I substituted Swiss Meringue Buttercream instead. This is one of my all-time favorite frostings, especially atop devil's food cupcakes. Yum! The texture is light (from the egg whites), and it isn't cloyingly sweet like many frostings.

Unfortunately, I have yet to master it and while things worked in my favor this time (other than some irritating lumps due to my use of dried egg whites instead of fresh), I have not passed the 50/50 success threshold yet.

The final result for this one:

Again, the bottom layer is 6" and the top is 4".

They make a pretty pair, don't they?

Not bad for an impromptu night of baking, if I do say so myself!

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