I've been working on this guy for a few days for the POM Wonderful and Foodie Blogroll contest, and people kept asking, "Who's it for?" or "What's if for?" My answer - I'm just playing around. First, the pic of the cake, then a cool technique for anyone not familiar with the Exotic Orange Cake from the Pastry Championships a few years back.
Two layers of Pistachio cake filled with rose cream, surrounded by pomegranate bavarois (think custardy mousse). Topped with pomegranate geleè, pomegranate seeds, white chocolate leaves, white chocolate spheres and sprayed with white chocolate for the velvet effect.
The picture doesn't do the effect justice so let me show the steps for anyone who says they are a bad cake decorator - an easy, fool-proof method of having a great show-stopping cake!
First, bake your favorite cake. Here is what I made:
3/4 C. Chopped pistachios
1 C. AP Flour
1 t. Baking Powder (you may want to use more since I did an altitude adjustment)
1 t. Ground Cardamom
1/2 t. Salt
1/2 C. Milk, Room Temp
1/2 t. Vanilla
1 1/2 Sticks of Butter, Room Temp
3/4 C. Sugar
Oven to 350F. Butter and flour your 9" springform. Combine nuts, flour, powder, cardamom and salt. In separate bowl, combine butter and sugar, then add the eggs until incorporated. Add the milk and vanilla. And finally, add the flour and nut mixture just until combined. Bake about 35 minutes.
Chill the cake. Split it in two (or three or more). Make your filling - a thick curd, a pastry cream, melted jelly, whatever floats your boat. I used a riff on Julia's pastry cream.
1 C. Cream
1 1/2 T. Cornstarch
2 T. Sugar
1 t. Rose Water
Combine cream, starch and sugar and whisk. Microwave for a good minute, whisk and microwave again for another minute. Keep doing this until it starts to thicken. Once it starts tot thicken, combine the yolk and rose water, then temper the yolk mixture with the hot cream. Return the yolk to the remaining cream and microwave for another 30 seconds. Whisk and chill. Now the fun part.
You'll need a 9" and 10" springform pan. Cut some parchment or wax paper to line the sides. On the bottom of the pan (before you attach the sides), take an old can lid or small plate, place it on the pan bottom and cover the whole thing with saran wrap. Get as many wrinkles out as you can because they will show like a hideous zit on a 16-year old's nose! Now, attach the side to the bottom. Work again at removing the wrinkles.
Make a bavarain/bavarois. I made a Pomegranate Bavarois:
1 1/4 C. Whole Milk
1/4 C. Pom Wonderful Pomegranate Juice (fresh or from bottle)
1/3 C. Sugar
1 t. Vanilla
4 t. Gelatin
1 3/4 C. Heavy Cream
Bring milk to a boil. Whisk the pomegranate, sugar, yolks and vanilla. Pour a 1/4 C. of the hot milk into the mixture whisking constantly. Pour the pomegranate mixture back into the original hot milk. Continue cooking on med-low, stirring constantly until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon. While this is cooking, pour 2 T. water over the gelatin. Once the mixture thickens, add the gelatin glop and whisk until it melts. Cool completely to room temp. Whip the cream until just past soft peaks. Gently fold the pomegranate mixture into the cream.
Pipe or pour some of the bavarois into the bottom of your springform so it covers the saran covered lid/plate. Lay one layer of cake, then filling, then cake. Pipe, pour the remaining bavarois around the side being sure to fill in the crevices really well. I will typically drop the pan a few times on the floor to release air bubbles. Next, throw it in the freezer overnight.
When you open the pan the next day you'll see this.
Doesn't look like much yet does it? Okay, let's turn it over.
Look how smooth that top and edges are! To release the lid, I opened the saran, poured a bit of hot water into it and it came right out. On my second cake I used a lid from a 28 oz tin can.
Same effect with a shallower hole. But, let's look at that first hole again.
This hole will get filled in a minute, but first, since I don't do anything simple, I got out my Wagner Power Painter and created a velvet effect on my cakes with white chocolate thinned with cocoa butter.
Nice huh?! The last step is to fill the hole. Keep your cake frozen throughout this process. I filled with a geleè...fancy jello. You can fill with regular jello, melted jelly or get as creative as you want - gelatinized margarita! Throw it in the fridge for the jello to set up. Quick note - let your jello chill a bit before you pour it, but before it thickens. This is what you'll end up with.
(See my wrinkles on this cake? Smooth that saran!)
I love this technique because I'm not much for piping frosting. Also, its not frosting, so people tend to like the coating better than sugary stuff. Give it a try. I'd love to see one my readers (like Kendra) do this and share the results.