I will start at the beginning. This week we made a "Hema" cake. Hema is a well known sort of department store in Holland that sells pretty much everything. They also have their own cake and pie section. If we had to describe a Hema cake or pie the first thing comes in mind is a cake filled with whipped cream or mocha cream and decorated with nougatine on the sides. And that was exactly what we were making.
Also we were taught how to make Italian meringue which can be use as a base for butter cream.
We started with making the batter for the dough. We used:
- 200 gr eggs
- 100 gr sugar
- 100 gr flour
- pinch of salt
- lemon zest
Baking temperature 170C.
For a light dough it was important to heat the sugar and the eggs to 40C, then bead it on high speed till the batter turned very pale yellow, almost white, and last to gently fold in the flour, trying to keep as much air in as possible. Since this dough doesn't have any rising agents, the eggs are the ones keeping it airy.
The cake is ready when you don't leave any finger prints in the middle of the cake and it sort of bounces back on your touch.
After a long cooling period (the cake has to be completely cooled) it was time for decorating. As we each made a cake we could make either a whipped cream cake, a mocha cake or both. I decided to do half whipped cream and half mocha, getting the best of both.
The mocha cream wasn't made with butter cream with some coffee added to it, but with something they called "patiecream". It's somewhat like whipping cream, but not made with dairy so it couldn't be called whipping cream. I've never heard of this before, but it was great stuff. So many possibilities as we could whip it up with anything we liked in it without ruing it. It was great for filling and decorating the cakes.
The cake wasn't high enough for three layers so I kept it simple and only cut the cake in half. On the first half I spread a thin layer of strawberry jam, but only on half of the cake because the other half would be mocha and I didn't think strawberry would go that nice with mocha. Then I added some thinly sliced fresh strawberries on the jam layer for some extra flavor and freshness. I piped some mocha on the other half of the cake and didn't bother even it out because the other layer of cake would come on top. To the strawberry layer I added some whipped cream to level it to the mocha layer. Then the cake layer was placed on top. I marked the cakes with an incision so I knew how to put both half back in the right place. I spread some mocha on top and side of the mocha half and whipped cream on the other half covering the whole thing. Then I pressed the nougatine on the sides covering it all.
And this was the end result.
For the mocha part I didn't want to make rosettes. So I though I would just pipe it on and see how that goes. Unfortunately it looks less pretty then I thought so I gave it a try with the whipped cream part.
It looked much better. But both sides tasted great. I had a huge slice for lunch the day after.
For the Italian meringue we had to heat up sugar syrup (225 gram sugar and 85 gram water) to 121C and slowly add that to 100 gram egg whites that we already beaten up a bit with 75 gram sugar. After quite some time the mixing bowl cooled down and the mixture was light and shiny. We didn't want to make butter cream so we didn't add the butter. Instead we piped little meringue buttons and baked them in the oven on 90C. This was to keep it white and slowly dry them out.
It was great learning how to make the cake batter and it was much simpler than I thought. This would be my to go for cake batter for any cake.
Another eye opener was the "patiecream". I can't wait to experiment more with this.
The Italian meringue is a bit tricky since the sugar syrup has to be on 121C and I don't have a candy thermometer at home. I'm sure there are other ways to make this.
Next week: chocolate pie!