Archive for the 'LCB – Intermediate' Category

A Time for Celebration

Yes, I passed my intermediate exams. I made the Opera cake and it turned out okay. Not as good as the first time I made during practical but I was certain it would pass. For some reason, the school has raised their grading standards and is now possible to fail the exams and almost impossible to get distinctions.

Anyway, I really enjoyed my course so far sans the exams. Exams are always stressful and unlike an academic exam, the unexpected can happen in a practical exam (I have fear of dropping my cake or forgetting I have placed something in the oven).

Our last practical class after the exams was to decorate our celebration cake. It is basically a fruit cake (baked 3 weeks ago and fed loads of alcohol) covered in rolled fondant with piped royal icing. We also made sugar flowers for decor. I made one with a wedding theme – piped dots with pink blossoms. Went home with a headache after spending 6 hours doing all the crap but I think was well worth the effort.

I’m quite interested to do wedding cakes and I will be making one next year for my housemate and a very good friend. I had a real cake for my wedding and I loved it very much. If anyone reads this and would like to have a real wedding cake, leave me your contact and we can work out something nice (it won’t be free but it would be at a great price).

Miss Sabrina

Gateau Sabrina was one of the cakes we could possibly get for exams so we were anxious to do it.

After the practical, everyone prayed to their Gods that they will not get this cake for exam. In the practical exam, we could possibly do: Sabrina, Fraisier or Opera. You pick a lot on the day itself to determine which cake you have to present. And good luck to whoever gets the Sabrina.

It starts with a Pate Sucree base, then a roulade of sponge with raspberry cream, topped with a marzipan disc covered in tempered dark chocolate. Whoever invented this cake realised that the chocolate covered marzipan disc could not be easily cut so we had to pre-cut this disc in 8 equal pieces. Then you pipe raspberry cream to cover the cut lines. Very smart huh (I try to cut down on sarcasm but I really couldn’t help it with this one).

Miss Charlotte Pacific

My housemate says this is the best cake I have ever made (in terms of taste I hope!)

Miss Charlotte Pacific is an attractive girl but not really my type. A bit too flashy looking while I prefer elegance with quirky touches. However, what matters is the inside and she has got it right. An upper layer of light lemon mousse complements a bottom layer of strawberry mousse. Light refreshing flavours that doesn’t make you sick after eating a slice.

Will definitely be seeing Ms Pacific again… maybe in a different outfit.

Simba

As part of our intermediate course, we had to do a 2D chocolate centerpiece.

The school provided 3 templates: Simba, Fat Bear, Aunty-looking Chipmunk. No offense to other classmates who picked the other 2 but I did Simba. The project was a bit too kiddish for my liking and who spends 2.5 hours piping a chocolate cartoon?

But still, it was good practice piping and tempering chocolate (not easy!). Quite a challenge to achieve consistent fine lines and curves. I placed Simba outside the classroom and it was there for 2 weeks. Was gone today… hoped it got adopted and not ended up melted as someone else’s practice chocolate.

Anyway, my photo memories…

Chocolate Episode 2

It’s time to get brown and dirty again…

I made molded chocolates and chocolate caramel in snobinette cups. The molded chocolates are really pretty, with white chocolate fine lines and multi facets. Filled with smooth, melt in mouth chocolate ganache. But to save time, I did not boil the cream so better to eat them in 3 days before green furry friends get to them.

Forgot to bring my camera to practical class so I have posted my Chef J’s demo pieces (mine looks similar :P):

– Malakoff : sliced almonds and pistachios in milk chocolate **** (4 stars)

– Caramel chocolate in snobinette cups : * (1 star – I don’t like caramel chocolates)

– Molded chocolates : **** (4 stars)

To me, the most difficult part to truffle making is in tempering the chocolate. To make the shiny, snappy coating, you have to:

  1. Melt choc over bain-marie to 45 C.
  2. Cool down on ice-bath to 28 C.
  3. Reheat choc to 31 C.

Don’t ask me why (ask the chocolate why she is such a fussy woman). In class, we don’t use thermometers since the candy thermometers we have are not accurate in chocolate temperature ranges.

We test the temperature on our skin just below the lips. I am starting to calibrate my skin to differentiate between 26 C, 28 C and 31 C. At 26 C, it feels cold. At 28 C, it feels cold. At 31 C, it feels less cold.

And I’m right about half the time.

Croquembouche

A recipe for burnt fingers. We had to cook nougatine at 175 C and mold it while it’s hot to make the base for this traditional French wedding cake. Hmm, maybe the groom should make this and if he passes, he can marry the bride.

I didn’t get my burnt finger from molding nougatine ( I got my partner to do it while I make the choux buns hyak hyak – she had burnt fingers and burnt palm). My finger got burnt while dipping the choux bun in hot caramel.

Recipe

  1. Cook sugar and water to caramel (175 C).
  2. Dip choux buns in caramel to coat.
  3. Finger touches caramel.
  4. Frantically shakes off hot stuff in natural response.
  5. Realises caramel does not shake off and is still glued to finger.
  6. Caramel continues to cook finger.
  7. Uses other fingers to peel off caramel.
  8. Instant blister and swelling.
  9. Continue to dip choux buns in caramel.

The result was worth the burnt finger. Though this could be my first and last croquembouche I will ever make!

Fraisier the happy Strawberry

Fraisier comes from fraise – strawberry in French.

I have been dying to make this cake. I see this cake in most patisseries and they look so pretty with their strawberry halves exposed and sandwiched in cream. Though I must say the patisseries in London can do quite a bad job in presentation – I have seen lopsided strawberries and uneven tops.

It’s my first attempt so do give a discount. Was glad my strawberries came out quite clean.

And yes, the marzipan rose is a mandatory feature for the lesson ( I know, it makes the cake so 80’s):

Oh, it’s a very yummy cake. The cream is the star of the show – rich, smooth and full of creamy vanilla goodness. We use 100% vanilla pods and nothing beats that fragrance. I have one vanilla pod in a ziplock bag in my drawer and the whole drawer still smells like vanilla.


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