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Saturday, January 3, 2015

Culinary School - Session 57: White Cake (High Ratio), Fruit Mousseline and Rolled Fondant

Culinary School: Session 57 (01.02.15)

White Cake (High Ratio), Fruit Mousseline and Rolled Fondant

If sugar and fat aren't major food groups, I don't want to eat anymore...

Apologies (again) to everyone who claims that I have already been the cause of many a broken New Year's nutrition and fitness resolution. But b
efore I get pegged (yet again) with fueling the national obesity epidemic, let me say that I am fully aware of the fact that copious amounts of sugar and fat are not part of a well-balanced diet. They are, however, part of well-balanced cakes. 

Well-balanced cakes? 

That's right... and I'm not talking about towering confections that don't fall over

A good cake recipe is a delicate balancing act: the quantities of flour and eggs, which provide structure, standing in perfect equilibrium with sugars and fats, which provide flavor and tenderness.

Too much "structure" results in a cake that is tough and dry (ahem... genoise). But a cake with too much sugar and fat results in a soupy mess. You can try to push the boundaries, but not haphazardly.

The White Cake, or High Ratio Cake, from this session tests those limits... seeing how much sugar and fat can be shoved into a batter without destroying the structure of the cake. A few tricks yield some sweet results.

Although this White Cake can stand on its own - a solo act of deliciousness - a couple layers of Fruit Mousseline and a decorative layer of Rolled Fondant, looking as if it leapt from the imagination of a sugar-crazed three-year-old, come together quite perfectly. 

White Cake (High Ratio) with Fruit Mousseline and Rolled Fondant

- Ingredients Running Tally -

You know what contains a lot of sugar? Rolled Fondant! About two pounds per recipe. Oh, and then you mix the sugar with glucose or corn syrup... you know... to sweeten things a little. 

Ingredients used to date (01.02.15):
  • Flour: 23,760g
  • Eggs: 13,950g (279x)
  • Sugar: 16,635g
  • Butter: 14,780g
  • Milk/Cream: 12,850g

- The Recipes -


White Cake (High Ratio Cake)

A High-Ratio Cake is one where the amount of sugar (by weight) equals or exceeds the amount of flour. High-Ratio Cakes are typically sweeter, more tender, and stay fresh at room temperature longer. 

Given these skewed sugar to flour ratios, recipes for High-Ratio Cakes typically call for some form of emulsifier to hold the cake together. A common practice is to replace butter with emulsifier-containing shortening. Another common practice is to include additional egg yolks given the emulsifiers that they contain. 

Focus Techniques:
- Mixing High Ratio Cakes. Given the high ratio of sugar to flour, special mixing methods are required. First, tempered butter is cut in ("Sablage") with the dry ingredients to create a sandy mix. Then, in order to incorporate the high volume of liquid ingredients (e.g. milk and eggs) without creating lumps, the liquids are incorporated in two additions (sometimes referred to as the "Two-Stage" method). Paddling the batter for a couple of minutes between additions helps to aerate the batter.
- Baking High Ratio Cakes. Unlike most egg foam cakes, which must be baked immediately after mixing, the High Ratio Cake behaves more like a chemically leavened product and can be mixed and baked later. This makes it possible to mix a large quantity of batter at one time and then bake multiple cakes in sequence. 

Slice of White Cake (High Ratio) with Fruit Mousseline and Rolled Fondant

Sheets of White Cake (High Ratio)

Cutting Layers of White Cake (High Ratio)


Fruit Mousseline

A Fruit Mousseline is as straight forward as it sounds. Whereas a traditional Mousseline is a mix of Pastry Cream and butter, a Fruit Mousseline swaps the milk in the Pastry Cream recipe for Fruit Puree

An undeniably rich filling that may not appeal to everyone's tastes, Mousseline can be folded with whipped cream ("Creme Chantilly") to lighten the consistency. 

Focus Techniques:
- Gently heating Fruit Purees. Given the high sugar content of most Fruit Purees, they can be easily scorched if heated too quickly or over too high a heat. It is also possible to evaporate too much of the Fruit Puree's water content, which will result in a final Mousseline that is extremely thick and gummy.
- Tempering ingredients to similar temperatures and consistencies. For best results, the fruit-based Pastry Cream and butter should be of like temperature and consistency when they are beaten together to create a Mousseline (this applies to all mixing). After it boils, the hot Pastry Cream should be beaten for several minutes until it cools. At the same time, the butter should be chopped into small pieces and allowed to temper to room temperature. Only then should the two be combined.

Piping Bags of Peach and Blackberry Fruit Mousseline

Layer of Blackberry Fruit Mousseline

Layering Cake and Mousseline

Layering Cake and Mousseline


Rolled Fondant

A Powdered Sugar and Gelatin based substance that can be rolled into thin sheets and used as the decorative layer for a variety of cakes. Rolled Fondant makes it possible to achieve remarkably smooth finishes; however, not everyone (I'm raising my hand) enjoys eating the sugar dough.

Focus Techniques:
- Mixing Fondant. The recipe for Fondant is extremely simple: Powdered Sugar, Glucose and Gelatin (and sometimes a touch of Glycerin, as a softener). However, the Gelatin must be properly bloomed and completely melted before it can be combined with the other ingredients. Similarly, the liquid ingredients, which are first combined with the melted Gelatin, should not be so hot as to melt the sugars or else the Fondant will be overly sticky.
- Rolling Fondant. As a dough, Fondant is very easy to roll and mold. Powdered Sugar acts as a bench flour, keeping the dough from sticking to the work surface and rolling pin. And shortening can be applied to various tools (e.g. paring knife, bench scraper, hands, etc.) to keep the Fondant from sticking.
- Applying Fondant. Fondant should be rolled thin (i.e. at least 1/4") so as to not be overwhelming to a diner; however, it also needs to be thick enough so as not to be transparent. When Rolled Fondant is placed upon a cake, special care should be taken to remove any air pockets. If any pockets are formed, a pin can be used to release the air.
- Storing Fondant. Fondant should be stored in plastic at room temperature.

Kneading Rolled Fondant

Applying Rolled Fondant

Applying Rolled Fondant

Shaping Rolled Fondant to Cake Sides

Shaping Rolled Fondant to Cake Sides

Finishing Rolled Fondant on Elevated Platform

Final White Cake (High Ratio) with Fruit Mousseline and Rolled Fondant

Sliced White Cake (High Ratio) with Fruit Mousseline and Rolled Fondant

Next - Session 58: Black Forest Cake and Panama Torte

Previous - Session 56: Lemon Chiffon Cake

Take a look at the full syllabus

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