Am I the only one who feels as though they have been baking this cake for a month? I managed to juice my Seville oranges about four weeks ago. It was amazing waking up and finding another one had bit the green dust. Some time over the last few weeks, my brain has processed that oranges that mould overnight are probably normal. Oranges that stay in the fruit bowl for four weeks without turning to green dust are surely a little bit wrong?
This cake had a few steps.
Seville Orange Curd - in summary, eggs, butter, sugar and seville orange juice stirred and stirred and stirred and stirred. Really a test of patience, attention and mettle. As I stirred away, my internal dialogue was "is it ready yet? how about now? what about now? just a little longer?" ad infinitum. This is why I should cook with music instead of the voices in my head. The curd was tart, with a great balance of sweetness. I am not sure about the zest added into the finished curd. Yes, it adds flavour, but it also adds texture.
Orange Chocolate Ganache - Chocolate ganache with some orange liqueur for a bit more orange zing. I used Cointreau, because that is what I was able to sponge off a friend (not literally, she gave it to me in a bottle). Rose's method for ganache is great - whiz chocolate in a food processor and add scalded cream. Easy.
Seville Orange Syrup - used to moisten the genoise. This was made with the seville orange juice, sugar and more of the Cointreau.
Finally, the genoise. Ah, the genoise. That "ah" is not an "ah" of pleasure or even of satisfaction. That is an "ah" akin to "meet my latest nemesis". I warmed my eggs and sugar. But answer me this. In this cake, the eggs are to be warmed to lukewarm. In the Torta de las tres leches, the eggs are heated until quite warm to the touch. What is the difference in temperature? I heated the eggs until they were warm, my guess is just above body temperature - say about 40 degrees Celsius. And then the eggs are beaten until they quadruple in volume. I think that happened - forgot to take a photo of the before! Then fold in the Wondra (which pretty much instantly disappears like a magic trick). Then in with the browned butter (incidentally, I would probably skip this step next time, because I couldn't taste it over all that orange).
Once in the tin, Rose says that it should come to about an inch from the top of a 2 inch pan. Mine actually sat a bit higher than that, and I was feeling a little full of myself imagining the astounding height that would result at the end of 20 minutes... I think there is a saying that pride goes before a fall. How apt. My cake may not have fallen, but it sure didn't rise to meet all that pride. An inch and a half. Far off Rose's two inches. I wonder if my oven was too hot, because I beat those eggs for about seven minutes, rather than "at least five" of Rose's instruction. And looking at these photos, I think I definitely overcooked it by about 2 minutes. The pan below is after I have loosened the sides.
I was so stoic in my defeated pride and deflated cake, that I was not moved to make another. Unlike the more plucky of our group. I gritted my teeth, chiseled the top off, sliced it in half(ish) and proceeded to compose the cake. I love that expression - it sounds so lovely, especially in a very proper English accent. And compose the cake I did. My only recommendation is to take charge. I didn't have a problem, but I presume this was because my cake was rather sturdy. I suspect if you have a lighter than air genoise, doused in all that syrup, it could become very particular about the angle of your mouth and the colour of your underwear as you try to reassemble it all.
I won't talk about the ganache application because, frankly, my embarrassing technique was indicative of the time of night that I finally finished. It was all a bit slap dash given the ganache had firmed up a bit too much and I was totally over the whole "compose the cake" thing - english accent and all. But looking at the photo below, it doesn't look too bad at all. Nice and thin. Hmm, quite impressed with myself actually! Lets not talk about the uneven layers shall we...
The following evening, with much anticipation, I sliced and served the cake to my husband and a visiting house guest. My husband declared it as not great. The house guest ate two slices and loved it, but he never gets home made cake, ever. I agreed with my husband. The dark chocolate ganache really clashed with the liqueur soaked genoise. I think that my ganache was too bitter for the tartness of the orange. Or is there too much alcohol in the ganache?
I am still eating this cake (as usual) three days later, and the raw alcohol taste has mellowed, and it doesn't clash as much with the ganache... but still jarring enough for me to eat this cake from the bottom up rather than top down. Maybe my palate isn't sophisticated enough? I really liked the genoise with the orange curd, but I will be looking for another icing if I make it again. Perhaps an seville orange swiss meringue buttercream (oh shoot me now for even mentioning that). Ganache may not be the perfect match, but it is very very very easy.
Next weeks cake is a raspberry topped chocolate extravaganza. I haven't decided if I am going to shell out £10 on fresh-from-the-airplane raspberries, or just convert it to cupcakes and dress them with Valentines Day landfill (aka junk). I am thinking the latter, and maybe even without the junk.