Sunday, November 18, 2007

Uncle Lim's Strawberry & Chocolate Chip Birthday Cake

I was invited to my Uncle's birthday dinner at King's Copthorne, and in return asked to bake a cake for 15 pax. This being my extended family, that is non-blood related, whenever I'm asked to make something, I always feel compelled to ensure it's my showman bestest. Maybe I'm competitive, maybe I've long treated them as family whom I can and will give two hoots to, or perhaps they are just a harsh public. hehe (For sooth, they are not. They are full of compliments, sincere or otherwise)

Being as stressed as I am at work, I decided to use a standard recipe off Family Circle instead of fiddling around with something I like. And foolishly, I used a non-tested recipe for this attempt.

I had to let the cake burn because even after the prescribed time, the batter wasn't fully baked. I did damage control by assuring myself that all major hotels bake regular sheet cakes that they cut into shape before icing anyway, so I am not really cheating.
(Yes, I can be quite delusional on occasion!)
I did cut off the entire base portion and circumference of the cake and comforted self that a thick icing as shown in the picture would remedy all that didn't look so good.

I then piped some chocolate curls on a baking sheet and the darn chocolate refused to dry even after 3 hours, so I brought them all to my room to spend the night.

The following day? Most of my piped curls broke off in terror when I tried to gently coax them away from the baking sheet. Sensing that bad things come in 3s, I made the icing with much trepidation.

Well, in my recipe book, the cake is displayed with icing that is akin to Chocolate Buttercream. The actual recipe? Produced a runny consistency that is closer to a very diluted cream of chicken. Great! Two flops in one sitting! What is the moral of the story? The old adage of NEVER trying something new when it comes to the crux? I even used my treasured 70% Guanjara chocolate for this, hoping it would salvage whatever was left of my baker's pride.

In the end, I decided I was out of time and would just slather on the icing, and decorate it with loads of strawberries, as well as whatever chocolate curls that haven't crumbled in fear. I took out my super duper expensive gold dust and started painting just the tip of each chocolate curl.

I must say, despite the number of times I've used quality chocolate for icing, I have almost always been disappointed. Quality chocolate somehow just never seems to rid itself of the sour aftertaste if no sugar is added to it. This gave the cake a sourish feel whenever one bit into the top of the cake. Sigh... well at the very least, I would unabashedly give myself and "A" for presentation effort. If it tastes bad, just slap on loads of decor designed to make the crowd go wow.

Needless to say, no one was brave enough to tell me what they really thought aside from the coo-ing of admiration.

Ah well... I know better now and will henceforth, stick with regular 'inferior' chocolates for icing or buttercreams.