After the hectic pace of the last few weeks, a cake and a pudding look like a doddle. Sure, it’s a Genoise Sponge that looks like something in the window of a patisserie and the pudding has to spew molten chocolate from a perfectly formed outer crust, but compared to other lessons not too much can go wrong.
My risk radar is still pretty highly attuned. I have learnt much from my favourite pastime of making duck egg Victorian sponges. (I do also occasionally read books and watch documentaries on telly). Measurement is going to be critical, as is folding in the dry ingredients and melted butter – and what about the oven? We are all guilty of opening the oven door too often to check on our precious creations but it could be fatal in this class – but how to deal with it? I dislike the thought of sounding like a bossy old shrew in class so decide to raise it with Chef. Will it be important Chef, to keep the oven door closed? “Ah oui, yes, all cakes in the oven at the same time or you wait.” Whew!
Another possible hurdle is the buttercream which will smother the cake. We’re adding butter, and loads of it, to an Italian meringue. You add a hot syrup (116 degrees) to beaten egg whites and then mix in the butter. (This is not the type of icing we put on the chocolate and banana cakes we made as kids). And then, there’s the decorating.
I know I can make a good cake but the fancy stuff often alludes me. I decide I am going to seriously take my time and maintain 100 percent concentration until the cake is safely delivered in all it’s glory to Chef. I cut the cake in half. Perfect! I spread it liberally with jam and pipe on the creme chantilly. Perfect. I start on the buttercream. It’s painfully slow but I get great satisfaction at how it looks. The flaked almonds cover every single millimeter of the sides. The buttercream on the top is smooth and rosettes aren’t too bad at all. I am expecting Chef to be very impressed. He examines the cake closely, bends down to eye ball it and declares it is uneven. One side is slightly higher than the other – only ever so slightly, in fact until he pointed it out I hadn’t noticed. The fact that the sponge and buttercream were perfect doesn’t matter. It’s about the whole package.
As for the pudding, after 11 and a half minutes cooking and two minutes resting the crust forms on the outside and when Chef cuts into it, the liquid goo spreads out across the plate to the strains of Ooh la la. And to top it all off it’s a one tea towel day, meaning I was Miss Neat and Tidy. Now that’s worth celebrating.
Buttometer reading 1935 grams