On Sunday evening on our drive back from Brighton, I had decided that I would cut my losses. I would hurl my Saturday attempt at apricot Lekvar which was masquerading as fruit
- Raymond gets up stupid early o'clock to go to the gym. I didn't even know they opened gyms that early! That man is dedicated.
- That I really needed to bake this cake.
It is now Monday night and I started this cake on Saturday. That would be when I made the Apricot Resin aka Levkar. Not very difficult to make, the difficulty comes in being able to count to three. You see, Rose has you boil the apricots and water (note, don't add the sugar then, like I did) for a while until they soften.
Then process with the sugar et al and then put back on the heat until it becomes a deep orange colour and it takes three seconds to drop from a tablespoon. Yeah, well. Apparently I can't count to three very well. Because once my levkar cooled, it was solid and the only way to get it to spreadable consistency was to heat it and add more water. Alot more water. Maybe my tablespoon loosens it grip on the levkar more quickly than Rose's... 95% of the stuff would drop off in the first second. A temperature guide would have been much more fool proof than just assuming that everyone can count to three. In the end it didn't really matter, because all I needed to cover my tracks was a microwave and then water. In that order.
I expected the Levkar to be more tangy than it actually was, but I think that was due to the quality of the apricots I used. They weren't anything special, and you could tell! I washed out a couple of jam jars and used that to store the resin. Very difficult to chisel it out, now that it has set.
Fast forward to Sunday night and I whipped up the sponge, which really was pretty easy. Strangely, there was no heating of the eggs and the volume didn't seem to suffer in the slightest.
Right about now was when I missed Rose's "understanding cakes" section from the TCB - Rose, how come we don't have to heat the eggs this time? It bothered me for about three seconds, and then I silently thanked her for one less faffing step and one less pot to wash... little did I know that the glaze would more than make up for that one pot saved!
After beating the eggs to four times their volume (give or take) you then fold in the flours in two batches. And then the whites. As an aside, I read that recipe about six times and I still have no idea when to add in the vanilla extract. I just threw it in with the eggs in the first step.
About ten minutes later you pull this out of the oven and get to marvel at how well you didn't smooth the surface... cunningly disguised by powdered sugar. And then you quickly roll it so all faults are gone, and given they are on the inside, it is no big deal. Just my little secret. I made the ganache on Sunday night also, because it is super quick to grind chocolate and tip in scalded cream.
I "composed" the cake tonight, whilst making dinner, so again, not difficult. I didn't syrup the cake, and after eating a slice, I wish that I had. Hopefully, like Rose promises, the ganache will moisten the cake up perfectly sometime between now and tomorrow evening. Spread on the loosened up Lekvar, then the ganache, roll it back up and crumb coat with the faintest covering of ganache. No photos of this - probably because it was all pretty quick. If you can make a sandwich, you can make this cake.
Then comes the wow factor of the Lacquer glaze. I really dislike the word Lacquer - when I say it sounds like lack-her and well, that sounds like "she" has a "lack" of something. Not right. Anyway, pronunciation and my weirdness aside, this glaze is the business. Easy to make. You don't even have to count to three or any other number. Just stir and pour. Like making instant gravy, you even boil water and mix in a few other things. Easy. Rose has lots of helpful temperatures in this section, so that made my life quite simple. It does use about fourteen different bowls and pans and sieves and mixing utensils, but you could probably do it with a pan and one bowl and one sieve and one jug. That is still a lot isn't it? It really is simple and you really should make it because it really is impressive.
Whilst the glaze is still warm, you need to get it onto your cake. Make haste at this point, but pour it on slowly and carefully and remember that for once, gravity is your best baking assistant.
I have just eaten a slice now and I did find the cake a bit dry... so definitely use the syrup. Probably not helped by me baking the cake 24 hours ago. I am still not sold on the apricot/chocolate matchup... maybe in a few days. My guess is, if you are from South Australia or already understand the love that is Apricot and chocolate, you will love this cake.
Enjoy. Next week I am definitely out as I can't find shelled pistachio's anywhere! And I can't see shelling salted pistachios in my near future. Yuck. Salted pistachios on a sweet cake. No thanks. I will be reading along though.