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Saturday, November 1, 2014

Culinary School - Session 33: Angel Food Cake, Dacquoise au Cafe and Italian Buttercream

Culinary School: Session 33 (10.31.14)

Angel Food Cake, Dacquoise au Cafe and Italian Buttercream

Whip it... whip it good...

Cakes continue with several Egg Foam-based wonders. If you can't whip a stable meringue by now, it's probably a good time to think about dropping out.

First up, Angel Food Cake. Love it or hate it (and our chef instructor hates it... I mean really hates it), it exemplifies an Egg Foam Cake. Whipped egg whites, sugar and flour... it doesn't get much simpler than this. The problem is, with such a soft, delicate structure, it doesn't stand up well to frosting or other elaborate decorations. So, you're almost forced to keep things simple... and Pastry Chefs aren't known for liking to keep things simple.

The other Egg Foam Cake from this session was the far more enticing Dacquoise au Cafe. Whereas the Angel Food Cake is a light, airy, baked meringue, the Dacquoise is somewhat dense, given a higher proportion of flour. And the Dacquoise is placed in a low temperature oven and is effectively dehydrated rather than baked.

Topping the Dacquoise (and filling it... and hiding in every corner) is a coffee flavored buttercream. I'll eat anything flavored with Trablit, the most amazing coffee flavored extract.  

Dacquoise with Coffee Buttercream

Happy Halloween with Holy Hell on a Plate...

I've warned about the quantities of food served for family meal in Culinary School on several occasions, but the spread laid out for Halloween was truly over the top. I suppose if one is going to lapse into a food coma, culinary school is probably the safest place to do it.

Family Meal on Halloween

- Ingredients Running Tally -

Angel Food Cake, Dacquoise and Italian Buttercream... I'll give you one guess as to what that does to the ingredient count.

Yep, those poor chickens! Our demand for egg whites is through the roof, and we'll be using them in bulk quantity as we continue through Egg Foam Cakes. 

The good news is that we typically receive massive containers of pre-separated egg whites along with our daily supplies, so we're not cracking eggs for the first ten minutes of class. The bad news is that the store room has been asleep at the wheel lately, and they failed to provide everything on the daily supply list. And who was the class steward this week, tasked with running for missing supplies?!  

As the French would say, Moi!

Ingredients used to date (10.31.14):
  • Flour: 14,875g
  • Eggs: 8,050g (161x)
  • Sugar: 8,250g
  • Butter: 10,125g
  • Milk/Cream: 7,750g

- The Recipes -


Angel Food Cake

An airy, baked Egg-Foam Cake containing egg whites, sugar and flour. The batter is made by whipping a French Meringue with the eggs and sugar and then gently folding in the flour. The cake is baked in an ungreased bundt pan, which provides the necessary structure in which the delicate batter can rise.

Focus Techniques:
- Creating a stable French Meringue: Begin by whipping the egg whites on a very low speed; add salt and cream of tartar to stabilize the meringue; slowly add sugar after the whites begin to form an opaque foam.
- Using an ungreased pan. Butter or oil in the mold will result in a sunken cake. The Angel Food Cake batter requires a dry mold against which it can rise.
- Folding the flour into the French Meringue in as many as ten additions. Adding too much flour at once will deflate the batter.
- When filling the mold, pouring the batter as close to the bottom of the mold as possible. Dropping the batter from above will deflate foam.
- Cutting through the batter with a spatula before baking to pop any large air pockets. Air pockets will create large holes in the cake.
- Cooling the cake inverted and in the mold.

Angel Food Cake


Dacquoise au Cafe

A slightly dense, dried Egg Foam Cake that more closely resembles a crisp, baked meringue. 

The thicker batter is piped into discs. The discs are then baked and layered with a Coffee Buttercream and topped with Buttercream Rosettes. 

Focus Techniques:
- As with all Egg Foam Cakes, making a stable French Meringue.
- Piping with an Egg Foam Cake batter. To keep the batter airy, it is necessary to let the batter 'drop' from the piping bag rather than pressing it out directly against the sheet tray as you would with an Eclair.
- Removing the delicate discs from the parchment paper after baking by pulling the paper away from the discs rather than trying to pull the discs up and off of the paper (they will crack)
- Using a cake comb to create a decorative edge to the cake.

Folding Flour into Meringue

Piped Disc of Meringue for Dacquoise

Piped Disc of Meringue for Dacquoise

Disc of Meringue Covered in Coffee Buttercream

Dacquoise with Coffee Buttercream


Italian Buttercream

Another Buttercream... this time, with egg whites rather than egg yolks (as with the Pate a Bombe or German Buttercream)

Focus Techniques:
- Timing the whipping of the egg white foam with the heating of sugar and water to create a simple syrup, which needs to reach  the soft ball stage (235 degrees Fahrenheit).
- Adding the sugar syrup to the whipping egg whites on high speed. Whipping at a lower speed can cause the syrup to settle to the bottom of the mixing bowl where it cools and hardens.
- Adding butter to the Italian Meringue once the mixture has returned to room temperature.

Whipping Egg Whites for Italian Buttercream

Take a look at the full syllabus

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