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Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Culinary School - Session 58: Black Forest Cake and Panama Torte

Culinary School: Session 58 (01.05.15)

Black Forest Cake and Panama Torte

One last bite...

This is it folks! The first half of Culinary School is coming to a close as we conclude Advanced Cakes with the Panama Torte and Black Forest Cake. I'm happy to report that the cakes just keep getting more delicious. Believe me when I say this isn't some refrigerator case Black Forest Cake that you'd find in some diner off the New Jersey Turnpike!

So here we are... older... wiser... and perhaps a little thicker around the mid-section. There's no denying that the last five months of the program have provided a comprehensive introduction to the Professional Pastry Arts: Tarts, Cookies, Pate a Choux, Puff Pastry, Viennoiserie, Breads and Cakes.

Armed with the fundamentals (I'm happy to report I can whip up a Creme Anglaise from memory in just minutes), things will only get more interesting from here on out. Chocolate, sugar, and individual desserts: increasingly technical applications that (fingers crossed) are certain to impress!

Black Forest Cake

But first, the exam! 

They're not passing out golden tickets for the chocolate factory to just anyone. Two days of midterm exams come first. 

Tomorrow, the Written Exam: technical nitty-gritty on each and every recipe we have covered. So, exactly how many teaspoons of cream of tartar will properly stabilize a meringue with 150g of egg whites? And for how many minutes must you boil your Creme Patissiere in order to properly denature the starch-consuming enzymes? Fun stuff.

And then, on Friday, we conclude with the Practical Exam: a random assignment of recipes. A list of ingredients will be provided... and nothing more. 

Wish us luck!

- Ingredients Running Tally -

Brace yourself...

Some of my former Investment Banker tendencies are hard to shake... a love of tracking metrics chief among them. Seeing as we just hit the halfway mark in Culinary School, I couldn't help but do a little (or not so little) number crunching. 

Chocolate Sponge for Black Forest Cake

How's this for a headline? If you were to eat every single item that was made during the first half of the Profession Pastry Arts Program, you would need to run 105 marathons to keep off the weight. Or, you could just sit on the couch and enjoy your newly found 87 lbs of heft. Yep, I'm pretty sure that's an Olson Twin.

Keep in mind that this list has only been tracking the primary staple ingredients. Think of all of the chocolate, fruit, nuts and other ingredients that are part of the true total.

Ingredients used individually to date (01.05.15):
  • Flour: 23,760g
  • Eggs: 13,950g (279x)
  • Sugar: 16,635g
  • Butter: 14,780g
  • Milk/Cream: 12,850g
  • Total weight of ingredients: 81,975g / 181 lbs
  • Total caloric equivalent: 303,010 or 87 lbs gain
Ingredients used by the class to date (01.05.15):
  • Flour: 332,640g
  • Eggs: 195,300g (3,906x)
  • Sugar: 232,890g
  • Butter: 206,920g
  • Milk/Cream: 179,900g
  • Total weight of ingredients: 1,147,650g / 2,530 lbs
  • Total caloric equivalent: 4,242,139 or 1,212 lbs gain

At this rate, the class is projected to collectively use 2,295kg of primary staple ingredients equal to 8,484,279 calories by graduation -- that's roughly enough food to keep an active adult male going until mid-April.... 2024.

- The Recipes -


Black Forest Cake (Une Foret Noire)

A hybrid cake that combines the creamed butter and separated egg foam methods. This chocolate cake is soaked in Kirsch (cherry) Liqueur and then layered with Cherry Compote and Creme d'Or (a type of chocolate ganache). The cake is frosted with a stabilized Creme Chantilly (sweetened whipped cream) and topped with rosettes and cherries.

Focus Techniques:
Stabilizing Whipped Cream. In order to provide more structure to the Creme Chantilly, gelatin is added. The gelatin is melted with a small amount of alcohol and then poured into an electric mixer with whipped cream at the soft peak stage. By stabilizing the whipped cream, it is better able to hold up as an icing. However, it is important to not over-whip the cream, or else it will appear broken.
- Making a slurry-based Compote. In order to thicken the Cherry Compote, a cornstarch-based slurry is added. Enough water should be added to the cornstarch to achieve a consistency similar to heavy cream. The amount of slurry used depends on the amount of liquid that is naturally occurring in the fruit. In order to activate the full thickening strength of the cornstarch, the mixture must be brought to a boil. If the mixture is too thick, it can be thinned with water or alcohol.

Chocolate Sponge for Black Forest Cake

Sliced Layers of Chocolate Sponge for Black Forest Cake

Overhead of Sliced Layers of Chocolate Sponge for Black Forest Cake

Layering Black Forest Cake with Cherry Compote and Creme d'Or

Layered Black Forest Cake

Layered Black Forest Cake

Black Forest Cake

Overhead of Black Forest Cake with Cocoa Nibs and Cherries

Black Forest Cake with Cocoa Nibs and Cherries


Panama Torte

It's a roulade on its side!

The Panama Torte is a simple but unique creation. A rolled sponge cake with a Chocolate Mousseline filling, the cake is assembled vertically, defying expectations and making for some rather surprising looking slices.

Focus Techniques:
- Assembling a vertically constructed cake. Simple enough, the roulade is formed and then positioned vertically.
- Making a Chocolate Mousseline. In order to achieve the smoothest texture, before the chocolate pastry cream and butter are combined (the two main ingredients of this Mousseline), both are whipped separately so that they are of like consistencies. When both ingredients are beaten until they are smooth and airy, they are easier to combine and result in a vastly superior final product.

Bottled Cake Soak

Layering Panama Torte Sponge with Chocolate Mousseline

Rolling Filled Panama Torte

Overhead of Rolled Panama Torte

Rolled but Unfinished Panama Torte

Next - Sessions 59 & 60: The Midterm Written & Practical Exams!

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

Take a look at the full syllabus

Questions? Comments? Send me an email or leave a comment.
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