In Advanced Baking we've been preoccupied with making mousse cakes. Since the class only meets once a week, what would usually be a multi-day affair became a multi-week affair for us.
Since we were making fancy mousse cakes, we started off first with the decorative sponge (the ring of cake with designs on the side).
The pattern design was made with something called pâte à cigarette batter. Powdered sugar, butter, egg whites, all purpose flour (4 oz each), and some pink food coloring (to reflect the guava layer in the middle of the cake).
Marianne and I decided to be cute and use the polka dot template. We basically spread the batter over the template and scraped the surface clean, then lifted the template up so the pattern remained. Then we spread a layer of joconde sponge cake batter over the pattern and baked until just golden.
Then we moved onto the cake middle, which was to be guava gelée. You can make gelée out of any fruit - it's basically fruit puree with gelatin, or fruit jelly.
Once the decorative sponge had cooled, we cut it into strips and lined a spring form pan (cake pan whose bottom can be released from the sides) with acetate tape (hard, clear plastic).
Next to the acetate went the decorative sponge strip. On the bottom went half of a white cake layer. The cake was soaked with passionfruit simple syrup, in keeping with our theme of tropical fruits.
Once this was done and we had all the rest of the cake materials in place, we made the mousse. The mousse is made last because you want the assembly to go fast so the mousse can set. We did mango mousse, which was 16 oz mango puree cooked with 5 oz sugar, plus 6 bloomed gelatin sheets (or 7.5 tsp gelatin powder), then cooled and incorporated with 2 cups of whipped heavy cream.
Poured the mousse over the bottom cake layer, then added the guava gelée layer (which broke a little as we transferred it).
Over that went another cake layer...
And more mousse to finish.
The mousse cakes went into the freezer to set (would be refrigerated if you were to use it the next day). Then came the decorating part.
We added passionfruit simple syrup to mirror glaze, which comes from a bucket and bridges the gap between solid and liquid. As such, we could spread it over the cake, and it would stay in place with shiny glory.
Originally we were going to use real passionfruit seeds to garnish, but unfortunately no passionfruit came in with the produce order. I decided to scoop out little balls of mango instead.
Marianne arranged the mango balls in a flower shape, and then I cut "leaves" out of the green mango peel. To prevent the cake from looking too sparse we colored some pearl sugar with pink food coloring and I placed the sugar crystals in curved lines around the cake using acetate tape as a guide.
Besides our pretty mousse cake, check out our classmates' cakes (click on "<-- Newer" to view cakes individually).
All of our mousse cakes were displayed nicely, then cut and served up to taste. I think by the end, we were all mousse-caked out.
This was our cake after a slice was cut out of it. Perfect layers, but doesn't it look strangely enough like a ham sandwich?!