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Monday, November 24, 2008

A Tatter's Cake

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 Butter
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

*Sift together

3 Eggs

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. @_@


Baking Fiend said...

it's beautiful! love the details. :)

Edith said...

Rei, this is such a beautiful cake. I love em'

Katherine said...

wow really very impressive!

Emily said...

Hey! This is an amazing cake! But I tot you are residing in Spore ~ you came all the way to KL for the meetup?

Emily said...

Hi Rei! This cake is pretty amazing! Oh you ladies over in Spore had your own meetup! Tot you came all the way up to KL!

Mummy Moon said...

Hi, first time here... Really want to say : Wohh, the cake is creative, very very nice!!!!

Noob Cook said...

the design and workmanship is amazing! :D

Art of Eating said...

Very nice & lovely cake ! You always impressed me. You're very creative.

allthingspurple said...

Rei !!! This is amazing !! Not only you are good with bento, you create such beautiful piece for cakes too !!

Terri @ A Daily Obsession said...

wowwowow. this is an amazing cake. tt's what makes cakes special, when u do it frm ur own head n not frm a book. u r setting standards lady!

Rei said...

Thank you all for your compliments. I had fun making this cake. :)

Anonymous said...

Hi Rei,

I tried this recipe this morning; i removed that cake after 45 minutes, as it top formed a hard crust and seems dry.
the top was not even but dome like and broken; what do you think it was wrong with the cake? Can it be due to the temperature? I used 170C.
what do you think the possible causes are?

i tried making the butter cream too, it was quite smooth, however after added the evaporated, dispute beating with high speed; it didnt incorporate well; it seems separated; can it be that i have over beating it? or no enough beating for the butter before the addition?

Anyway, the taste of the cake was good. Thank you for sharing.


Rei said...

Beatrice : Thanks for trying out the recipe and glad that you liked it.

It is a common problem for pound cake to split on top. 1) Undermixing of the batter, 2) Oven temperature too high or cake is positioned to near the heating element. Did I mentioned that my oven is a convectional oven? Usually, I will need to tent the cake (cover with aluminium foil). This will help to prevent having a hard top crust. Remove it towards the last 5 to 8 minutes.

We don't have total control of the way the heat being circulated in the oven. The cake's exterior gets the heat first. Once the sides anf top is being cooked premature, it will not be able to rise evenly. That is why we get dome-shaped cakes. However, you can delay the heat from getting to the sides by securing a baking belt around the cake tin. For decorating purposes, I did actually slice off some of the top of this cake.

About the buttercream, did you cool down the meringue before adding the butter? It did look curdled after I added all the butter. I actually left the cream alone for awhile else my mixer would overheat. After that, the cream did come together. Include a very good tutorial for reference. HTH.

CRIZ LAI said...

This is so beautiful. I hope everything is edible :P

Halimah Ilavarasi said...

Rei Rei,

How do you find the time??? Family, work and baking? Ur creations are exquisite and so so beautiful! I'm not good at craft work and I don't have your patience. All the best! Hope one day u will start your own bakery!

Rei said...

Criz Lai : All is edible except the threads.

Halimah : I wish I had 48 hours a day. I just sleep less. Sure you can! Your cakes look great!

Halimah Ilavarasi said...

I'm a pig... if I sleep a second less than 8 hours I get super cranky. When I bake, I go on overdrive then take days to recover. Haha! But u are truly an inspiration!

Anonymous said...

This is one of the most creative cake I've ever seen. You are just amazing ! This cake reminded me the childhood I spent with my grandma.

Rei said...

Chumpman : Thanks for the compliments!

Anonymous said...

this is gorgeous,perfect detaills!!
im impressed with the stitch!
this is art.