Triomphe aux Noix

Walnut Triumph
is the name of this cake.

I would usually follow this opening line with something like
"and what a delectable victory it was" or 
"you'd probably be nuts if this cake does not win you over."
but maybe I'll just stick with..


Walnut Mousse Cake

After the preceding bright red and yellow candy-paint cake,
I felt it to be a nice contrast to bake up something a bit more sophisticated.

Walnut sponge cake, caramel mousse and caramel glaze.

This is the kind of cake you'd expect to find selling for top dollar
in boutique patisseries, perhaps bought by "Grandes écoles" postgraduates
on their way to a dinner party at which they will drink wine out of a carafe
and smoke foreign cigarettes while discussing Plato.. or something.

But I will sell this to them with a smile because they have on some really nice 
slim fitting pants with coffee stained turtlenecks and just-the-right-amount-of-worn
leather loafers.

I really do hope they'd invite me along..
I am not much of a philosopher..
But I can bake this.

x Tal


Entremets Passionata

Today I had one of the best practicals ever.

The cake: Entremets Passionata.
The chef: Nicolas Jordan.
The dream team: Cami, Momoko, Adam and I. 

Raspberry and Passionfruit Cream Cake

It was the first time in a practical that we got to work in groups of three or four
to make the cigarette and joconde biscuit cake for the outer shell.

Cami, Momo, Adam and I devised a plan to delegate the work 
to function as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Cami and I was in charge of making the cigarette batter, dividing it in two
and colouring them red and yellow. We painted stripes onto
the baking sheet before freezing it until stable. When the colours have hardened
Momo and Adam spread out the joconde biscuit batter onto it and flattened it 
evenly with an offset spatula. After baking, I cut strips of cake to distribute to everyone 
whilst Cami and Momo kindly measured out our the rest of the ingredients
for the other components. 

The cake is filled with two different types of filling;
passionfruit cream and raspberry mousse, which were composed over
a base layer of chewy coconut dacquoise. It is later finished with a shiny layer of 
raspberry glaze and red fruits.

We really did knuckle down like nobody's business.
And the resulting desserts were very satisfactory in taste and appearance.

I was especially proud of my gateau for this practical, as Chef Jordan
made me smile giddily when he said my cake was a "perfect 100".

I think this cake was particularly successful because I had 
so much pleasure working with the gang and we worked seamlessly together.

So here's to more fun, lighthearted and stress-free practical classes
full of hilarity and camaraderie! :)

x Tal


Chocolate Inhalation

No.. I don't mean eating a whole lot of chocolate at one go..
I mean.. the actual act of 
b r e a t h i n g  i n
chocolate vapors. 
Good business idea perhaps? Marketed in asthma inhalers?

OK. Perhaps not.
But this totally happened:

Yes. That is a picture of me working with chocolate in SPRAY FORM.
Woah woah woah! OK hold up. 
Let's look back through the events of my life so far..

I've eaten chocolate, drunk chocolate.. dipped stuff in chocolate..
I've crushed chocolate, melted chocolate, chopped chocolate..

And it was awesome.

I made this:

No Liz, this is not a snitch cake.
And it is also not a durian cake.

C'est un "Dôme aux Marrons"!
(Chestnut Dome Cake)

Layers of chewy hazelnut dacquoise separated by chestnut mousse
and encased in chestnut buttercream.
The cake is finished with a generous spraying of chocolate mist, 
which results in its "velvety" texture.

No big deal.. 

x Tal


Trésor Vanille-Fraises de Bois

Trésor Vanille-Fraises de Bois translates to "Vanilla-Wild Strawberry Treasure"..
and I can't think of a better name for this opulent cake.

This for me, has to be the best lookin' cake we've done thus far in 
Pâtisserie Intermédiaire at Le Cordon Bleu.

 I hypothesize that the "treasure" part of its name refers to 
the mound of wild strawberry mousse, 
which is hidden under a layer of caramelized "crème chiboust".
Crème chiboust - as invented by Chef Chiboust; 
is crème pâtissière lightened by meringue.

All these sweet goodness has been put together over a bed of 
sweet, cracked almond dacquoise. Glazed, and decorated with red berries.

Here's a peek inside...

This is all I'm having I promise.
(The bathroom scale did not bear good news this morning.)

But really.. with a cake like this.. 
How could I not have helped myself...?!

Cooking school.. everyday a battle with my conscience.

x Tal


Douceur Chocolat

The Douceur Chocolat.

Where do I begin...

I love the way this cake has a little bit of everything going on.
A rustic nut brown hazelnut dacquoise base..
A hidden milk chocolate, feuilletine and praline crispy layer surprise..
Creamy, light chocolate mousse..
And architecturally elegant milk chocolate disc layers.

Pretty classy stuff.

Actually I'm not going to say much else..
This cake pretty much speaks for itself.

x Tal


More chocolate. The dark kind.

Hey gang. 
We made chocolates again tonight. 

Dark chocolates.

Chocolats Café 

It was a little temperamental.. to say the least.
(you don't have to pardon the pun.)
(it is unforgivable.)

I am glad my first attempt at tempering the chocolate was a 
Because now I can show you why we go through the trouble 
of following the temperature curve and..
testing the chocolate many times before using it.
(which I was too lazy to do the first time.. ssshhhh!)

BAD                               GOOD

Believe it or not..
Those two examples above are coffee marzipan squares
that I dipped into the same bowl of melted chocolate.

For the first one, I accidentally overshot to 33 degrees C 
when reheating the chocolate back up after bringing it down to 27 degrees C.
I didn't think it was that much of a big deal until I saw the product...

"CHEF!!" I yelled, horrified at the streaky matt obscenity that stood before me.
Luckily Chef Cotte quickly came to the rescue with a cheeky grin. 
He let me know that if I heat it back up too much after cooling it down, 
the result will be less shiny. And also in some bizarre cases.. 
will fail miserably.

So after tempering a second time..
I was able to breathe a sigh of relief at the sight of
shiny, pretty chocolates :)

We also made truffles.
Don't they look like REAL truffles?!

I am glad because I feel like I learnt a lot today.
I am very grateful that I made the mistakes that I did.
And I have also come to realize,
that no matter how much frustration these little beauties give you..
You'll be quick to forgive them come eating time.
Trust me.

x Tal