Saturday, May 24, 2008

Taste of Springly Opera

Now I'm not one to habitually bag on myself. I'm actually usually the first to admit I'm totally awesome. That being the case, all the rest of the Daring Bakers kicked my butt royally last challenge. Not even comparing mine to the neatly prepared masterpieces, I realize they look like they may have fallen down the stairs a couple times. So kudo's to you all!

And in the proud tradition of scapegoats and blame shifting, it was the chocolate chips fault. Shoulda used bars. Secondly... I seriously procrastinated. Its bringing my own style to the daring bakers! Thats how I roll *dramatic gansta pose with wisk and rolling pin* Staying up late into the wee hours of the morning to finish whatever I need done the next day... and then ariving two hours late regardless.

Well this month I'm trying a slightly new style. Ya know... the one where I don't fall flat on my face. And so, a week to show time, I prepared the buttercream! Yes yes! I know its shocking.

Trying or not, it still wasn't done till my birthday... A.K.A today!

So here's how it went down.

Light flavors I like... Lemon was out. I really don't like most lemon flavored things. So spring... light... blog... Lavender! And so it was. Lavender buttercream. I sort of made a tea using the water for the buttercream sugar syrup flavored with lavender flowers. And to cut some of the sweetness, I tossed in a sprig or two of rosemary(from my recent pruning). They went so wonderfully together, a sweet but peppery herbal flavor.

The buttercream looked so beautiful. The creamy white speckled with little black vanilla bean... And when I mixed some jell dye with some to color the rest, the contrast was even prettier.

As for the jocond bit, Date Line ruined it. I had originally planned to do cardamon with orange zest flavoring, with a touch of vanilla to round it out. Well there was a dateline special on that I was a bit more interested in that than my egg whipping... Luckily the actual egg whipping turned out fine, I just spaced the flavoring all together. Guess thats where the sugar syrup came in.My very first acceptable idea for a taste of spring(lemon being rejected) was lemon balm. A minty herbal flavor with just a springly taste similar, but wonderfully not, lemon. The difficulty, my lemon balm is 2 inches tall at this point in the year, two short to risk a heavy harvest(I would need all the plant there...). I did end up swiping a couple leaves for the syrup though. Once again I made a sort of tea with the sugar with Lavender, almond extract, rosemary, lemon balm, and black pepper corns. I'm not sure if you could taste all the elements, but I thought it was fun.
I put it all together, (tricky since my jelly role pans are huge, 13x17. I rigged the parchment with folds and rolls of tinfoil to cut the size some.) Cake syrup buttercream, repeat. Cake. syrup, mouse n' glaze. Sprinkle with lavender and set. I trimmed the edges square (resulting in that spiffy cake canyon) and was done.
I was amazed at how nice it turned out. I really really really wanted to produce something of comparable beauty to the rest of the daring bakers works. And it worked! This one didn't look like it fell down the stairs, and I am proud.