Friday, January 22, 2010
I know it's way too late but I want to wish everybody a belated Christmas and Happy New Year. It's better late than never :). Unfortunately, to be honest, I didn't have a great holiday break this time as I was really sick and literally stuck in bed for the whole three days. I could walk around a little for the next three days, but still need to sit and rest frequently. I was kinda disappointed being sick for a week during the holiday, my plans got thrown away, even the plan to clean the kitchen, my room, and my car, wasn't really come to reality. Making them even worse maybe, especially the room. But I guess it's better rather than being sick on workweek? I dunno, bottom line is, it sucks being sick, really and I mean it. So, please don't ever get sick, if possible :).
Other than that, I spent the rest of my holiday just eat, eat, and more eating. Seriously, I don't think it's possible for a human to be sick of eating but I kinda did. We ate crabs three times in less than two weeks, we talked about lunch tomorrow when we haven't even started with the dinner tonight. But in the midst of all that, I'm still thankful for everything, all the food, the friends, the companionship. I'm back to normal now, my normal appetite and the craziness of this life :).
Before I got sick, I got the chance to cook up a Christmas Eve dinner with a bunch of close friends. I REALLY wanted to make it special and over-the-top but unfortunately, things will never go as planned when you're in a hurry. The planning was last-minute as we had a birthday celebration a few days before, so my mind was taken up to think about the cake more rather than the Christmas Eve dinner. Plus, I was still working until Dec 23rd evening, not even going home early, so that's not really helping. But that's not the most important thing, is it? As long as you have friends and family with you, that's all that matters :).
Now, let's talk about the birthday or the cake to be precise :D. I knew all along that this time, it would be chocolate cake, or something similar, not fruit-flavored. Nothing against it as he likes it anyway, but he's more of a chocolate lover, not really chocoholic, but there's no doubt that he likes his chocolate. He craves it once in a while. For some reason, all I can think about at that time was a ferrero-rocher-inspired cake. I've been dying to recreate the flavor and the texture of ferrero rocher chocolate into cake form. I've been scribbling down notes for ideas of what the components should be. I want taste as close as the real thing as a lot of texture for sure. The real Ferrero Rocher chocolate is composed mainly of milk chocolate and hazelnut flavor. It is a little too sweet for me so I decided to use both dark chocolate and milk chocolate in the cake as to cut the sweetness.
After much thinking with the options of the components and the ingredients that are available without having to online order it, I decided on something finally. The hardest part was to determine what would I use for the crunchy layer of the ferrero rocher chocolate in this cake. So lo and behold! This cake has two layers of chocolate sponge cake brushed with brandy, chocolate-hazelnut praline (made with rice krispies), toasted halved hazelnut, chocolate-hazelnut mousse, valrhona cruncy pearl, milk chocolate cream, and finally dark chocolate glaze. Phew! This cake was all about texture! There's no doubt that there was plenty of crunch and crackling sound with every bite of this cake and I absolutely love it! I actually made a hazelnut dacquoise base but ended up throwing it away as it was way too sweet even after I cut the sugar down by half. So I had to use two layers of choc. sponge instead of dacquoise and choc sponge.
What I was so happy about in this cake, is the praline. I was about to go buy some feuillantine online, but I didn't want to spend the shipping just for it, plus there was not enough time. So, I used rice krispies instead and it works wonders! This was also the first time I used valrhona crunchy pearl, and despite the high price, I love the texture it gives to the cake. And the last thing, I was completely happy with the chocolate glaze. I have been looking for a recipe for a shiny mirror-like chocolate glaze, not the ganache type as the color becomes dull after being refrigerated. I used lots and lots of Valrhona cocoa powder to make this and it gives the glaze a dark and deep taste as well as the color. What I like so much about it too is that it doesn't taste powdery at all. My only regret for this cake is that I didn't have edible good leaf to put on top of the cake. I would imagine it would look a lot better with it instead of a piece of hazelnut :(. And with no doubt, this cake ranks the highest immediately among my friends. Even until now, this cake was still mentioned at birthday celebration, and that means a success!
I had to make this cake again a few days after the bday for the Christmas party dessert by request. I used almond joconde to replace one of the sponge layer and I like it even better. I think the second cake looked kinda plain, but my friend was dead-set against me putting something on top of the cake as they said that "it will ruin the smooth and shininess of the glaze", LOL! I still wish that I had some gold leaf though :(
I quickly wrote down the amount of each ingredients I used to make the cake on the paper so that I won't forget it like the way I used to do, but... sad but true, I lost the paper!!! I got sick just a few days after making this cake and when I got better and was about to type it up, I couldn't find it, even until now :(. I guess this only means one thing, and yes you guess right, I just have to make it again! :D
Oh, here's a picture of the inside of the cake. It looks messy after being butchered but at least you get the idea of the different layers that go into this cake