Recently, I have just picked up a new craft, tatting. It is an art of creating lace with just a simple thread and a shuttle or needle. I must say this craft is intriguing and addictive. Last Saturday, members of this interest group (Shuttles & Needles) which I joined had a small gathering. I thought it would be great if I make a cake of the same theme. To be honest, I have no inkling of needle tatting. So if the loops I made for the needle is incorrect, I apologise.
This cake was fun and pretty straight forward. I cut out the shuttles freehand and made a hole so that the thread can thread through. I made the incomplete lace with a real shuttle and wind the remaining thread on the ones made with gumpaste. After the needles dried, I had to thread it. My hands were trembling when I did that. I was afraid that the thread might break the needle. It's a relief that it didn't happen. I used silver dragees and sprinkles to represent beads. I don't think it would be wise of me to try replicating beads using gumpaste. That would have killed me. The most daunting part was winding the yarn to cover the lump of gumpaste. The gumpaste was first colour-matched with the yarns and painstakingly wound. After the first 2, I sort of gave up. Doing this at 2 a.m. sent me seeing stars.
The end result was somewhat satisfactory with some flaws here and there. I had some of the crumbs this morning, leftover when I levelled the cake and it tasted moist. That is when I realised my mistake. I should not refrigerate the cake after covering it with buttercream. I thought it would be better if the buttercream hardens a little before I lay the Marshmallow Fondant. Not only the cake tasted abit drier, the fondant sweats. Fortunately, the ladies were gracious enough to say it tasted and looked good.
So here's the recipe which I used as a cake base.
Mocha Pound Cake
180g Fine Sugar
1/4 Tsp Salt
1-1/2 Tsp Vanilla Essence
100g Evaporated Milk + 1-1/2 Tbsp Coffee Granules (dissolved)
160g Cake Flour
40g Cocoa Powder (I used Valrhona)
1 Tsp Baking Powder
1/8 Tsp Baking Soda
1) Prepare and grease a 7 inch round pan. Preheat oven to 170 degrees.C.
In a mixing bowl using a hand held whisk, cream butter and sugar till pale and fluffy. Add salt, vanilla essence and whisk well.
2) Add in coffee solution and whisk till incorporated. Add in flour mixture, using lowest speed, mix well. Add in egg and beat well after each addition.
3) Pour mixture into prepared tin and bake for 1 hour or till skewer comes clean. Tent the cake if necessary. Overturn the cake onto a cooling grid.
You can serve it as it is but I made Coffee flavoured Swiss Meringue Buttercream to go along with it.
Coffee Swiss Meringue Buttercream (Adapted from Taste Goblet's blog)
4 Egg White
3/4 Cup Fine sugar
200g Unsalted butter, cut into cubes
Pinch of salt
1/4 Tsp Cream of Tartar
2-1/2 Tbsp Coffee Granules + 3 Tbsp Evaporated Milk (dissolved)
1) In a heat proof mixing bowl, add egg whites, salt and sugar and place over simmering water.
With a hand whisk, beat continuously, heat until egg whites are hot and all the sugar is dissolved.
2) Remove from the heat and place on the mixer. Whisk on medium speed, add in cream of Tartar and whisk until meringue is stiff, and the mixing bowl is cool to the touch. The meringue should look shiny and sticky.
3) Using medium speed, add butter, a few cubes at a time, till butter is incorporated. The mixture, at some point of time will look curdled and separated. Continue beating and it will come together again.
4) Increase the speed to high, add in coffee solution and beat till smooth.
I forgot to take a cross-section of the cake and of the gathering. Guess my mind was on strike due to the lack of sleep. Ah Boy is teething and having some discomfort. After I finished with decorating the cake, he woke up and fussed for a couple of hours before I could hit the pillow. @_@