Sunday, January 13, 2008

Going bananas

Happy New Year! The past few weeks have been reminiscent of my university days, filled with concentrated mental and physical effort of December exam time which is quickly followed by viral illness during the subsequent holiday period. I was able to valiantly fight off a cold while working this Christmas but as soon as relaxation was imminent, my immune system seemed to be the first one out the door. Regardless, we had a lovely getaway which provided new flavour inspirations that I will hopefully showcase next week (stay tuned!).


Within an hour of returning home from my holiday, I had to begin thinking about cakes again, in particular, a Curious George birthday cake for three year old Devon. Instead of fondant, the obvious choice for decorating this inquisitive primate was chocolate and so ganache glaze and chocolate modeling paste were used. Inside, three layers of chocolate cake surrounded caramelized bananas and whipped ganache.


Chocolate modeling paste is a very versatile medium that is easy to make and tastes so much better than fondant. My sculpting skills are minimal but I think George's nose is a reasonable replica. Beauty is in the details and as always, my favourite items were the tiny fondant bananas, yellow hat, and ball.


Finally, I have been so busy with birthday cakes that I have not wished my little blog a Happy 1st Birthday! It is a work-in-progress which has been a source of pride and at times, catharsis and I humbly thank you for following my personal journey with me.

8 comments:

Lindsay said...

Yes, it WAS delicious! Devon's eyes were huge when he saw the cake and he grabbed the ball and several bananas and had them in his mouth even before we'd finished singing. They must have been yummy, because when he tried to blow out the candles he drooled on the cake! It was certainly a hit - thanks again. I'll send you some pics when I get them uploaded.

Judy said...

Happy Birthday Pastry Blog! That is another amazing looking cake Charmaine and it sounds delicious too! Is that filling something mere mortals could attempt?

Anyway, I've been watching Ace of Cakes on FoodTV down here and I think of you every time!

Charmaine said...

Hi Judy! Thanks! Of course you can make the filling. Ganache is just melted chocolate blended with hot cream (the proportion depends on what type of chocolate you want to use) and after it is set, whip it up with a mixer until it's light and spreadable. Caramelized bananas are just sliced, then added to a dry caramel with butter and cooked until tender. Don't know how to make a dry caramel? There is a great post on Dave Lebovitz's blog (Jan 29th)...just follow the link on my blog.

Judy said...

Thanks for the directions Charmaine. I've made wet caramel before, but I'm getting ready to try a dry one. I've been reading David Lebovitz's blog for a couple of months now, and I'm about to attempt the caramelized chocolate crunch. He's coming to Texas to teach a class in Parisian desserts in April and I plan to go!

Stephanie said...

This cake is sooooo adorable and yummy looking with the ganache. I read that you can make the modeling paste. I just took a class on how to use fondant and would love other ideas that are more tasteful than standard fondant. Could you post a recipe for your modeling paste?
Thanks!

Charmaine said...

Hi Stephanie,
Sorry for the delay in reply! Try these recipes for chocolate modelling paste. They use light corn syrup which is much easier to find than glucose (which is in my recipes). The method and proportions are essentially the same as the recipes I use. http://www.joyofbaking.com/ModelingChoc.html
Goodluck!

Karin said...

Good day! I love this cake and would love to use it as inspiration...

What was your base under George's Cowlick?? I hope you don't mind sharing??!

Charmaine said...

Karin: It was still cake, carved as the cowlick. Good luck!