For my friend’s 30th birthday, her husband requested a peach cake, since peach is one of her favorite fruits and something that the couple consumes by the Costco-flat per week. Unfortunately, the birthday fell on the week of the nationwide peach Listeria contamination scare when all Costco peaches got recalled. Fortunately, Safeway had (presumably) non-contaminated fruit in stock.
I made this cake based on the Beau Soleil cake in the Extraordinary Desserts cookbook. Readers of my blog already know how much I love Karen Krasne and her cakes, but in case you’re new here, I love Extraordinary Desserts in San Diego!
This is a 10″ cake with hazelnut joconde (sponge cake) layers, soaked with orange simple syrup and filled with mascarpone mousse, peach curd, whipped cream, and some hazelnut praline (for crunch) and drizzled honey.
The mousse is a French style one with an egg yolk base, mascarpone cheese, whipped cream and vanilla beans (which make everything better).
The peach curd contains some peaches sauteed with brown sugar, and folded into the remainder of the pureed and gelatinized fresh peaches.
The outside is coated with the mousse and a thin layer of whipped cream. The sides are covered with the hazelnut praline, and the top is decorated with thinly sliced fresh peaches. The vibrant color and floral pattern make this cake aptly named Beau Soleil (beautiful sun).
I didn’t have a big enough box handy for this cake, so the sides got a little smashed when the wait staff took the cake out of the box for slicing. But, it was still delicious! I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to both make this cake and eat it too 🙂
For Thanksgiving this year, I decided to present something along the lines of individual plated desserts versus a single cake. It was a lot more work, but a fun way to make use of my pastry school education. Plus, I needed to make up for the time that my pumpkin chocolate tiramisu failed to make it to the holiday gathering (in retrospect, that recipe I used was all sorts of wrong).
This dessert has a base disc of flourless hazelnut chocolate cake, a layer of pumpkin pastry cream, a layer of pumpkin-chocolate crème légère (basically the pumpkin pastry cream mixed with melted chocolate, frangelico and whipped cream), and a topping of mascarpone whipped cream. On the side is a cranberry compote, made with whole frozen cranberries, sugar, lemon juice, frangelico and a little corn starch to pull it together.
The dark chocolate cage was the most involved step. Fortuitously, my dad had 3″ PVC pipe lying around, so we sawed that into short rings for holding the cylindrical shape while the tempered chocolate set. Family teamwork!
I’m only calling this a mendiant because that is the name of a similar dessert we made in pastry school. Obviously it is not the same as the chocolate confection also known as the mendiant, but I have yet to figure out a better name.
Milo’s Bonbons three-ways for Valentine’s Day! Now if I could just get that to arrive in my next Birchbox . . .
Vanilla Cupcakes with Strawberry Meringue Buttercream: An oldie but a goodie.
Champagne Cupcakes with Champagne Buttercream: Another repeat, this time with Martini & Rossi Asti to really deliver the sweet champagne flavor. I think the Swiss meringue buttercream had a stronger champagne flavor and a sturdier texture as I reconstituted the meringue powder with the sparkling wine directly, instead of using water.
Ultimate Chocolate Cupcakes with Frangelico: These chocolate cupcakes have a Frangelico-infused chocolate ganache filling and frosting. Frangelico is a hazelnut liqueur, and the folks at BevMo! tell me that you should chase a sugar-coated lemon slice with equal parts Frangelico and vodka. Apparently this “Chocolate Cake” shot is a real winner. While that remains to be tested, I can say that Frangelico does magically evoke chocolate, and is a great addition to dark chocolate ganache.