Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Neopolitan Butterfly Birthday Cake

The Idea:
For her 5th birthday, my lovely goddaughter requested at firsts a cake with strawberries and kiwis. Some of you may remember, that Izabella's 4th birthday cake was the beginning to this blog, so in a way I could say this cake represented one year of my quest for the perfect torte. Have I found the perfect torte yet?  Not quite, but I'd like to think I am much closer than a year ago, judging by the sugar monstrosity that that 4th birthday cake was. Although I would admit, "Pink Chocolate and Strawberry" has been one of my best looking cakes to date. Izabella must bring it out in me, because in the end I was quite satisfied with this year's monstrosity as well. Perhaps the pictures do not do it justice, but I believe the cake may have weighed as much as Izabella, or at least quite a bit more than her little brother :). While I had been developing the layers in my mind for a while, I had a last minute request- "Oh yeah, could it have something to do with Butterflies?" No problem!
As a side note my current sub project in the field of tortes is figuring out how to make softer layers in the middle of the torte. Softer layers being something other than frosting. One day I will just shove a cheesecake in the middle of that torte, but now I am working on mousses, custards and what is locally known as a yogurt cake. Other requests for this cake were for something softer in the layers.

The Recipe (from the bottom up):
Base layer- Banana brownie (I use a handwritten recipe that I scribbled down once when the printer was not working, it uses 2 bananas, some whole wheat flour and low sugar/oils. Enough of that in the rest of the cake!)
Frosting- Chocolate Italian Meringue Buttercream
Cake layer 2- That perfect homemade yellow cake mixed with fresh strawberries
Top mousse layer- Strawberry mousse (which recipe... I'll have to get back to you)
Accents- Strawberries, kiwis and Chocolate Buttercream

The Result:

According to the guest of honor, the result was good. And for Izabella that is saying a lot. Having been able to take almost two full wings home after the party, I was able to taste it and it was one of my favorites (Excluding of course mocha tortes,but those are another category for me altogether). I like the result because it met one of my personal criteria to have many different flavors and textures in one torte. The brownie layer was not very heavy, but chocolaty. The yellow cake layer I liked because it had small flecks of strawberry in it, although this recipe, despite the claim that it is very moist, dries out quickly and usually I have to bake a day in advance. While standard buttercream is too much, it is perfect for accents. But that I have written before. The unintended combination of chocolate, stawberry and vanilla reminded me of the neopolitan ice cream with its 3 flavours. While never a big fan of that combination, this was a nice change.

Lessons learned:
- Find a new yellow/white cake recipe. I have used Martha Stewards White cake recently and was quite pleased. But don't ask for which cake... I think I have made about 500 in the last month, I have a lot of blog catching up to do!
-Don't make strawberry cakes in March. The strawberries are horrible tasting and wilt/start to go bad quickly. Of course, tell that to the March birthday girl.
-Mousse can take about an extra tblsp of gelatin in these amounts to be stiffer and go between layers, but the recipe as written stood up well for a thick top layer.