28 June 2014

Bonnie Gordon College Week 8

This past week flew by so quickly, it was almost a blur!

So much was jam-packed into the 5 days it feels like Monday was forever ago. I can't remember too many details so here's a quick run down instead.

Monday and Tuesday introduced us to Egg-Foam Cakes & Mousse Cakes. What's an Egg-Foam cake you say? Well, if you're in Australia you might be more familiar with the term Sponge Cake. They contain no leavening agents and just use the eggs ability to retain air.

I must admit I'm not the hugest fan of Egg-Foam cakes. I am a die hard mud cake fan, I want my cakes to be dense and moist. Egg-Foam cakes which are very light and fluffy just aren't my thing.

This Passionfruit Mousse Cake, a combination of an Egg-Foam cake and Mousse cake, was a hit with everyone who tried it though!

Passionfruit Mousse Cake

I also made a chocolate sponge roll with both hazelnut buttercream and whipped chocolate ganache. It was heavenly - although not so pretty!

Wednesday and Thursday brought us sculpted cakes - woohoo! I love a good sculpting session. There's just something about hacking into a cake that takes me to a happy place.

I had planned to sculpt a simple shape, like an apple. However, feeling uninspired by the simple designs, I ended up taking on a project that could have been a bit too much for a short 2 day class.

Luckily, I managed to finish in time. Phew! Introducing Walter the baby Unicorn!

Walter the baby Unicorn - Sculpted Cake
One major thing I had issues with this week was the humidity. Firstly, if it were up to me I would never, ever, EVER make a sculpted cake with buttercream. It just doesn't make logical sense. Having to sculpt for 20 minutes, then refrigerate for 30 minutes and keep repeating until done? Ugh - no thank you. Ganache is not only a much easier medium to work with, it provides a much better structure since it sets hard and is much easier to get a smooth finish in my opinion.

Sadly a couple of cakes from the class did not survive the trip home (never fear - Wally is still going strong!). I feel like using ganache may have helped this problem.

In terms of this crazy humidity, by taking the cake in and out of the fridge all the time it begins to sweat resulting in the shiny look you can see in the picture above. Definitely not ideal.

I could rant about ganache vs buttercream for hours but since it's not a very interesting debate... onto Friday!

Friday introduced us to sugar work. What's sugar work you say? Well, ever seen candy makers pulling sugar? Ever seen a glass blower in action? Sugar work is both of these things - pulling and blowing sugar to create decorations, or display pieces!

The one major thing I learnt in this class: I have heat sensitive skin. HOLY MOTHER OF SUGAR! I thought I was just being a pansy whinging about the hot sugar, but no. When I took off my two pairs of gloves I discovered I had blistered my fingers. After lunch I had to wrap my fingers in band-aids and wear THREE pairs of gloves, and still it hurt to pull and work with the sugar. Not the most enjoyable medium to work with, I must say.

It took me a while to get past the pain, but once my fingers started to numb a bit I was able to put together a few things. One of those was this "sugar rose".

Isomalt Rose

Although, technically we were actually working with Isomalt which is a sugar substitute that's an easier medium to work with than actual sugar. Apparently sugar doesn't hold up too well in humid climates.

I also made a super cute fish, however whilst moving him to take a photo he took a nose dive into the table and was no more. That's the thing about sugar pieces - they're more fragile than glass. The above iPhone photo, while not a good one, was all I was brave enough to take. Moving the sugar pieces into better lighting and getting my DSLR was too terrifying a thought!

This weekend is a long one for Canada Day and I am not back into class until Wednesday, when we are spending another day on sugar work. Thursday and Friday we tackle Macarons! Yippee!

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