Sunday, May 2, 2010

Heavenly Cake - Fancy Shmancy Trifle


I made this last Sunday. This was really fun to make and a great challenge. The pastry/chibout cream really special and delicious. It took about 12 hours from start to finish for the whole thing.

A friend of mine said about it: "It looks like a giant, grumpy truffle man with a wild comb-over."

10:00am Mis en place...

beurre noisette

Eggs and sugar.

Dry ingredients

Give em the old spin in the can. Keep em' nice and warm.

Beurre noisette and fluffy eggs.

Folding, Haskell style...

First batch, full of bubbles, ready for the toaster.

Lookin' good baby...

Second batch, was in the fridge in the mean time. Not as happy as the first. Two batches would have served em' better.

Comparing the two brothers.

Learned this trick from a batch of Marzipan ice cream I once made. Boil the vanilla beans in the milk or cream (that you are boiling anyway) before you use them. It makes them easier to cut as well as imparting flavor.

Used some gnarly looking vanilla sugar. lets dredge this baby in vanilla.

Pinching vanilla beans is a unique sensory experience. I figured out that it is easiest to cut a vanilla bean lengthwise twice, not just once. It makes it much easier to scrape. 

The syrup. Used Cointreu instead of Grand Marnier to keep it Kosher. Grand Marnier is cognac, hence wine, based.

Lovely pastry cream, how do I love thee.

What was this again? I've lost track already...

This was amazing! The way this just thickened suddenly!

Little Chavi with her "soft" (Mommy's velvet skirt) staying up late waiting for the spun sugar to happen.

Ready to assemble.

Whip something or other. What was it again? It's all a big blur...

Fold to the left, fold to right (stand up, sit down, fight fight fight!)

Baste. I think I liked the texture (and flavor) the orange peels in the marmalade added.

Arrange the strawberries. I used 2 pounds and did not have enough even for those "reserved pretty ones." It seemed to make more sense anyway to leave the middle of the top bare for the spun sugar. This trifle bowl from crate and barrel looks remarkably similar to the one in the book.

Ready to pipe the whipped cream.

I could not find the pastry bags and tip that I bought so I had to cut a ziplock bag twice to try and simulate the star shape.

I let Shayna have a turn piping. She tells me she wants to own a bakery when she grows up. Kids! Where do they get these crazy ideas?!

Dissecting the whisk ($2.99, don't sweat it.)

It is easy to find beeswax candles in a Jewish neighborhood...

The artists brush.

Waiting for the smoke to clear. The sweet smell of melted beeswax wafts in the air...
The caramel seemed to gain color on only one side of the pan when it really was fully colored already. It fooled me and I got a darker amber than I wanted. 

Spinning my web. It's hard to see but my spatula is taped to the counter.

It sort of hung from the cup like a beard. I wonder if you could just hang it down from the cup to begin with and forgo the whole dowel thing...

Ta da! Not the greatest picture, but it really shows the texture of the spun sugar.

We all sat down at 10:30 pm to have some. 
Whew! I don't know if I'll make this again but is was a lot of fun (and Yummy!)


  1. Great story to go with your grumpy old man cake. Your spun sugar turned out really well!

  2. LOL! Mendy, your friend's comment made me laugh out so loudly in the office! My colleagues wondering what happened to me! LOL! Awesome looking trifle and i think your spun sugar looks great!!

  3. Mendy, gorgeous trifle and spun sugar. I love your step by step picture. I don't have the patience of taking that many pictures, so kudos to you. I've been wondering why grand marnier is not considered kosher, you've answered my question.
    The trifle is yummy, isn't it? I'm eating some right now :).

  4. wow! it took all day to put together? i love all the process photos!

  5. I love your step-by-step pictures and your trifle turned out great!! :)

  6. Kudos to the spun sugar! I will be doing mine tonight, we ran into a snag and had to postpone the whole thing until tonight, which is not a bad thing, since I'm reading and making notes on everyones experiences so far.

    And the finish product looks BEAUTIFUL!

  7. Wow! Great job. Looks wonderful and betcha those kids couldn't get enough of it. Yum. j

  8. FANTASTIC!!! Thanks for the Beeswax candle tip!


  9. Fancy is right!!! This is the most amazing post yet! I love the close up texture of the day, my friend. One day!

  10. ב''ה

    Thanks all for your comments! This one was really a lot of fun!

    Can't wait for the cheese cake. :)

  11. You rock. I love your friend's comment.

    That cute wee cherub looks like she is well past her bedtime! Amazing piping from your also cute bigger cherub.

    Great looking trifle and I love that bowl. A lot. Makes me wish I lived in the US. Is it wrong to want to live in a country solely for its flour and trifle bowls?