Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Mom's Birthday Cake

My Mom just celebrated her 55th birthday. My Mom wanted us to just buy her a small cake from the neighborhood bakeshops, but I insisted on making her one. It would be my birthday gift for her. And since my sister gave me a cake book last Christmas (Williams-Sonoma Cake by Fran Gage & Chuck Williams), I decided to get the recipe from there. :) I chose the Genoise Cake with Whipped Cream because it looked easy to make with not-so-hard-to-find ingredients I can easily buy in the supermarket. The original recipe called for strawberries, but I didn't find any so I just replaced them with peaches and mandarin oranges. I like its combination of flavors. And the color reminds me of summer. The mandarin oranges looked nice on top of the cake too. My only problem was the frosting... Have I ever mentioned in this blog that I'm so bad at frosting cake?! I mean I've read all dos and don't, and tips, and everything else I could read about frosting, but I'm just so bad at it. ;o) My problem with whipped cream is that I just can't get it to go to that elusive "soft peak stage". (If you have some helpful advice, please let me know, I beg you!) ;o) My mixer was already running for alt least 20 mins and it was already hot, I had to turn it off. Nevertheless, properly whipped or not, whipped cream tasted like whipped cream no matter what. So I guess it doesn't matter if it's not so pretty.

When I had my first taste, this cake reminded me of the Crema de Fruta I made last New Year's Eve dinner. I guess because that was basically made with ladyfingers and whipped cream, and the texture of the ladyfingers after it had been soaked with the cream is almost the same as this genoise. One tip on the genoise: do NOT over bake! The recipe said 20 mins, when I checked after 20 mins, it didn't look done so I let it bake in the oven for another 10 mins or so. The result was a hard-bottom cake. I should have resisted the temptation to extend the baking time. The book defined "Genoise" as a light elegant sponge cake, and its successful leavening depends solely on how much air is whipped into the eggs. I'm not sure if I didn't whip the eggs long enough because the cake looks so thin for me. It was kind of hard to slice it in the middle for layering. But on top of it all, my Mom said, "it's a token love, and I appreciate it." That's good enough for me.


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