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Ganache and Buttercream…My Humps 06.01.2009

Posted by Dan Sheehan in Recipes.
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1 comment so far

My lovely lady lumps.I don’t quite know what to call these haphazard little creations.  The idea came from a post over on Cakespy and goes by the German name “Granatsplitter”.  But I can’t pronounce that.  Rather, I think it takes the best part of the cake, the frosting and covers it in rich chocolate.  Not only that, it utilizes the remains of any cake crumbs that might be leftover from, say a prior project.  “Waste not, eat more,” I say.  What results is a dessert that is perhaps a little risqué.  Mouth feel is flirty, the flavor combo is dangerous, and the aesthetic…well, um…

You’ll find the recipe here.  It’s translated from German.  I think you can do as I did and just wing it with leftovers and a little new ganache.  Note that you’ll want your ganache really cool so that it doesn’t melt the refrigerated buttercream.  If you have lots of time, let the ganache cool and the buttercream warm up for a tougher outside and softer inside.

Let’s go:  Take the cake remnants and leftover frosting and beat them together. It may help to finely chop the cake remnants first.  Fool around with proportions.  I used a 1:1 ratio.  Make sure the buttercream is soft.

It will end up a little firmer than regular frosting.  Good, spoon it out of your bowl and onto a sheet of wax paper that has been placed on pan, mounding up two to three spoonfuls.  Make some room in your fridge and refrigerate the mounds till solid, about an hour.

pouring ganacheMeanwhile, you can prep the ganache:

  • 8 oz heavy cream
  • 8 oz semisweet chocolate chips

Put the cream in a saucepan and heat till it is foaming and rising towards the pan rim.  Remove from heat and add the chocolate.  Let it sit for a few seconds and then whisk.  Whisk.  Whisk.  The chocolate will incorporate into the cream and you will get a warm, dark bunch of chocolate sauce.  Let cool till a spoonful poured back into the pan will remain on the surface instead of sinking.  It’ll be about 90 degrees.

Transfer a chilled buttercream lump to a wire cooling rack that has a pan or parchment underneath.  Pour cooled ganache over the lump.  If your ganache is the right temp, it will not liquefy the outer layer of the buttercream and slide off.

Continue with your other lumps, letting the ganache cool while on the wire rack.  After 30 minutes, transfer lumps to a plate and serve.  They can be cooled for a long time too.  Yum!

Thanks to Susie Evans at Office Nomads for the action photography.

Is the blurriness a product of the intention or the lighting?

Pistachio Butter Cake 05.07.2009

Posted by Dan Sheehan in Portfolio, Recipes.
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3 comments

Whoops, a little overflow on the left.  Trim with a knife.This Pistachio cake is flavored with cardamom and orange zest.  It might be good with green tea steeped in the milk…another time perhaps.  Other spices are optional.  Bread and Buttress loves nutmeg.  You will see that pretty much a constant in everything here.  Note that the eggs are not separated.  If you are not using an electric mixer, separate the eggs.  Add the yolks to the creamed butter/sugar.  Undermix the flour into the wets and fold in the egg whites (beaten to stiff peaks.  This is easier with whites at room temp and with a pinch of salt added).  You will need:

  • Three 8” cake pans (about 4 cups each)
  • Electric mixer (not needed, but the more powerful the better)
  • Spice grinder or clean coffee grinder
  • Scale
  • Cooling Racks
  • 1.25 cups unsalted butter (2.5 sticks)
  • 2.5 cups sugar
  • 8 eggs

Pull the butter and let it sit out overnight.  Cream the butter and sugar together for about 10 minutes.  It’ll become white.  Add whole eggs, one at a time.  Let each incorporate.  After they’re all in, scrape the sides to incorporate and mix for a few more seconds.

  • 1 package Jello Pistachio Pudding
  • 1.5 cups milk
  • ½ t vanilla extract
  • 1-2 t orange zest (one small orange)

Stir together the milk and pudding in a measuring cup with a fork and add to the creamed butter and eggs.  Toss in the vanilla and zest.  Mix.  Scrape.  Mix.

  • 2.5 cups AP flour, sifted
  • 2 cups raw pistachios, ground
  • 1.5 T baking powder
  • 0.5 t salt
  • 1.5 t cardamom
  • 0.25 t anise
  • 0.25 t nutmeg (the secret ingredient to everything!)

Chunk, not smooth.  Some flour clumping is a-ok.Sift flour into a bowl.  Grind pistachios into a meal (use a Ziploc bag and crush ‘em with a soup can if you don’t have a grinder) and add to the flour along with the other dry ingredients and spices.  Add the drys to the wets in three (or so) parts.  Go slowly.  Don’t make the mix creamy!  Mix until the added drys are almost incorporated then add another portion.  This will leave some air in the mix and will help make a fluffier cake.

Toss into greased and floured pans (8 inch round shown) Bake at 350 for 35-50 minutes.  Remove, cool on racks.

For the buttercream frosting go here.

Kay’s Famous Pistachio Cake 05.07.2009

Posted by Dan Sheehan in BnB.
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2 comments

Mmmm, pistachio buttercream lattice and caramel brittle!We here at BnB firmly believe in the power taste has over memory, especially sweets.  Surely you have a specific food that makes you remember a certain moment in time or feeling.

For Bread and Buttress, Grandma’s pistachio cake makes us remember childhood picnics on her backyard deck under a fringed yellow umbrella.  Swing music would be playing on ancient speakers fastened to the brick exterior of the house by Grandpa.  Every time this cake is made, we take a little trip down memory lane.

When we learned that Passages NW was holding its annual Courage benefit, duty called.  We wanted the Pistachio Cake to take part in their frantic dessert auction.  Passages is a Seattle organization that empowers young girls and build community through carefully tailored outdoor programs.  It’s an organization our Grandmother would have appreciated.

Now, Grandma was no slouch but, growing up through the depression, she was thrifty.  Her original recipe for the pistachio cake displayed as much.  For example, boxed vanilla cake mix saved her some time.  Walnuts, similar in texture to pistachios were substituted in the batter. Jello pudding mix lent pistachio flavor to the cake.

Well, as you’ll see, some changes were made.  We’re making a scratch cake here folks, with a few additional embellishments.  However, we could never think of substituting the Jello.  (Ok, if you’re not into the animal gelatin, try pistachio paste).  Grandma always used a plain and super sugary American style buttercream frosting.  We decided to try a pistachio buttercream frosting in the Swiss tradition.  But fear not, the sweetness of the sugar can still be found in the pistachio brittle that tops the cake.  Find the cake recipe here, and buttercream here.  Finally, Grandma’s original recipe.

The finished cake at the Passages NW auction

The finished cake at the Passages NW auction