Wednesday, 4 July 2018

Maisy and Friends Vanilla Chiffon Cake with Dark Chocolate Ganache

This is another bake that I was working on during the busy period of preparing for the Creative Baking: Macaron Basics photoshoot. Vanilla chiffon cake with dark chocolate ganache in between and topped with Maisy and friends macaron cake toppers!

The class of 3 year old tots really enjoyed this cake!

I made the macaron cake toppers concurrently with the Noah's ark macarons so it was quite a challenge to pull off the whole thing but glad that they are recognisable :)

The balloon is made of royal icing and mounted on a cookie bag wire tie. I was afraid that it would break off if the entire thing was made of macaron

I used the reduced sugar recipe for the macaron shells here. Both regular and reduced sugar recipes can be found here. You may refer to my Creative Baking: Macarons book for a systematic presentation of the basics and complex shaped macarons. You may refer to my video tutorials for macaron basics and piping of complex shapes on the blog too.

Here are a couple of pictures of the piping process...It was really challenging and I ended up working really late that night!

I was working with 12 different coloured batters!

Recipe for vanilla chiffon cakes
Ingredients (Makes two 9.5" round cakes):
6 egg yolks
10g caster sugar
84g canola oil
90g fresh milk
1 tbs vanilla extract
120g cake flour
1/4 tsp salt

8 egg whites
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
110g caster sugar

1. Line two 9-10" round pans with parchment paper at the base. Set oven rack to second lowest position. You may place a tray of water at the base of the oven if you wish to create steam but it's optional. Preheat oven to 160℃

2. Prepare egg yolk batter. Whisk egg yolks with caster sugar until pale and thick. Add oil and mix until well combined. Add milk, vanilla and salt and whisk until well combined. Gradually sift in flour and whisk until no trace of flour is seen.

3. Prepare meringue. In a clean metal bowl, beat egg whites with cream of tartar until firm peaks form, gradually adding in caster sugar once the egg whites are foamy.

4. Quickly but gently fold in meringue into egg yolk batter in three additions. Divide the batter between the two pans equally. Run a chopstick in the batter to pop any air bubbles or gently tap the pans on the table.

5. Bake for 5 minutes then reduce temperature to 150℃ and bake for another 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 130℃ and bake for another 20-25 minutes or until skewer comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes before carefully unmoulding the cake from the sides of the pan by hand.

I baked some thin chiffon sponge cakes for the simple decoration.

Recipe for Vanilla sponge chiffon layer cakes
Ingredients (Makes one 10x12" and two 7x7" cakes):
3 egg yolks
42g oil
42g water
60g cake flour
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Green and pink gel food colouring

4 egg whites
55g caster sugar
1/4 tsp cream of tartar

As above but don't use steam baking. Bake at 160℃ for 11-12 minutes or until skewer comes out clean. Immediately flip the baked cakes out of the lined baking trays and gently peel off the parchment paper. Cool with parchment paper covering the cakes.

I love the smooth look of the layer cakes!

I filled the cakes with whipped dark chocolate ganache and the macarons with a firm dark chocolate ganache. You may use other fillings of your choice but this was requested. A firmer ganache is recommended as filling for the macaron cake toppers to prevent the toppers from sliding down the sticks in hot Singapore.

Firm dark chocolate ganache
90g dark chocolate couverture or chocolate bar chopped up
9g unsalted butter
23g heavy cream
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste

1. Place all ingredients in a microwave safe bowl or over a double boiler. Melt the chocolate for 20 seconds at medium power. Mix well with a spatula. Repeat heating and stirring until mixture is smooth and all chocolate has melted.

2. Chill in freezer for 2 minutes. Mix well with a spatula. Repeat chilling for 1-2 minutes and mixing until you are able to whip the mixture to be creamy-like.

3. Transfer to piping bag and fill the shells.

Whipped dark chocolate ganache for filling cake
270g dark chocolate couverture
30g unsalted butter
135g double cream (45% fat, you may use heavy cream which is 35% fat)
1/4 tsp salt
1.5tsp vanilla bean paste

Same as above.

To assemble, pipe a little ganache on the cakeboard. Place one vanilla sponge cake on. Pipe more whipped ganache before topping the cake with another vanilla sponge. Decorate the cake with the green and pink sponge, using cookie cutters to cut out the alphabets and "grass". Glue them on with melted marshmellows.

Thank God that overall it was really well received with the class of tots asking for second helpings. I was told there wasn't enough cake due to the extra helpings requested...Oops! I also made the mistake of forgetting to take the big cake out of the fridge much earlier as chocolate ganache takes a longer time to soften to room temperature than Swiss meringue buttercream or dairy cream. And it was an unusually cool rainy day that day, not your usual hot afternoon in Singapore. The dark chocolate ganache layer remained too firm as the cake was brought straight from the fridge in my house to party venue 😅. Another oops! Lesson learnt. I should either go for a lower chocolate to cream ratio or take the cake out of the fridge earlier next time. Or possibly both. It's my first time filling a vanilla chiffon cake with dark chocolate ganache in between. I usually work with dairy cream or Swiss meringue buttercream where it is a concern that the filling stays firm long enough in hot Singapore where room temperature is about 28-29℃.

Nevertheless, I am always happy to learn, and glad to know that the cake was yummy enough to warrant seconds!

With love,
Phay Shing

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