There are few things more enticing, let alone more impressive, than the Opera cake and the 12 layer mocha cake. The pillowy buttercreams sandwiched between syrup soaked cake layers was begging for my interpretation. The exposed sides and crispy hazelnut meringue layers are a sinful addition. All I needed was a base to work with. Simple ingredients for fast and efficient cake assembly. I basically needed a no fail recipe. I have been using these basics for years now and these are my most requested cakes. 2013 I was searching for milk cake recipes trying to find out what they were and ran across a company named Momofuku milk bar. Their cakes look a lot like mine. I kicked myself. The company is gracious enough to share their recipes in a cookbook which I think is just wonderful. I have read glowing reviews on their recipes so I am going to buy it. I'm dying to try their pretzel crunch.more
ROUX BUTTERCREAM (Used plain, flavored with extracts or a base for fruit or chocolate buttercream)
cup all-purpose flour
cups white sugar
cups butter, softened
tablespoons flavoring extract
pinch of sea salt
optional: 2 tbsp fruit puree, cocoa powder, heavy whipping cream, fruit juice or whole milk to thin if needed.
MOCK PASTRY CREAM: Instant custard and heavy whipping cream. Whip heavy whipping cream until stiff peak stage, add a package of instant pudding or instant custard until stiff peak stage. You can flavor it with sugar free Jello as well. Sweeten with sugar substitute or powdered sugar. Thicken with instant custard powder.
CRISPY MERINGUE LAYERS
large egg whites, at room temperature
teaspoon cream of tartar
cup granulated sugar
Optional: flavoring powder
CRUMBLED BOX CAKE: Yep, that's it. Why make it from scratch when you have children running around talking to you. That is a set up for failure. I can't tell you how many times I forgot to add 1 crucial ingredient because my kids were talking to me. Box mix is the way to go. Bake, crumble the cake when cool and sift out hard pieces. It is then ready for assembly. CAKE TOP DECOR AND LAYER ON TOP OF FILLING FRIED COCONUT: 1 package shredded coconut and a stick of butter. Fry it in a pan until golden then place on paper towel and allow to cool. I haven't met one person who hated coconut that didn't thoroughly enjoy this. This goes incredibly well with fruit and chocolate and I beg you to try this with caramel atop pancakes, its to die for. CHOPPED CANDY BARS are great for a topping to a frosting layer as well. STRUDEL CRUMBS are a perfect addition to the top of a cake. Fried coconut and chopped candy are as well. FRUIT sliced or whole berries are a delightful decoration when creating a fruit cake. CAKE SOAK The sky is the limit. You can choose from liquors, milk syrups, sugar free Jello is great as a flavoring this can be added to both milk syrups or sugar syrups. Mocha, cappuccino or other instant crystals to milk or sugar syrups. CRISPY MERINGUE Heat the oven to 200°F and arrange the racks to divide the oven into thirds. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside. Place the egg whites and cream of tartar in the clean, dry bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and whisk on medium speed until soft peaks form. Increase the speed to high, gradually add 1/2 cup of the sugar about a tablespoon at a time, and whisk until stiff peaks form. Remove the bowl from the mixer. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar. Transfer the meringue to a pastry bag fitted with a round tip or just spoon and level onto baking sheet. Place both baking sheets in the oven and bake until the meringues are crisp and completely dry, rotating the sheets from top to bottom and front to back halfway through, about 2 hours. Remove the baking sheets to wire racks and let them cool completely. FROSTING Sugary frosting is above all the least requested component of cakes that I make. In fact most of the time spent designing a cake goes to discussing the frosting and filling requirements for those requesting a cake which is funny because I'm not charging for the cakes. I'm a sucker. I digress. Neither my family nor I can tolerate dense sugary treats either, which is the reason for roux based frosting as opposed to other types of frosting. I have made them all and though I prefer the softness of Swiss meringue (seriously I want to bury my whole face in the stuff and eat it) nothing compares to the taste of pillowy roux buttercream. There is nothing to be afraid of with roux icing. While I'm creaming my sugar and butter in my stand mixer I work on my roux. I stir constantly during the cooking stage until it turns into a paste, remove from heat and scoop into a metal bowl which is then set on ice, stirring constantly until cool then I add a bit at a time to the creamed butter until all is incorporated and POOF white fluffy icing magic. I also use powdered sugar when I'm in a hurry and still have no issues with over powering sweetness. I add a pinch of fine ground sea salt too. ASSEMBLY Assembly is simple. Instead of sliced cake layers you'll be using crumbled cake pressed inside a springform pan. Each cake layer will be coated with your choice of syrup. Your freezer is your best friend in this process. It is the only way to achieve clean layers which will be visible once the cake is removed from the springform pan. I like to add a layer of chopped candy bar like snickers or fried coconut on top of the frosting. Crushed pistachios are divine as well, again it could be any flavor combination. I think about my favorite desserts like banana split or favorite candy bar for flavor inspiration. You can coat the springform pan with butter then coat with cocoa powder which gives a nice look to a chocolate cake or coat with pudding powders for added flavor. You can also add fruit to the sides for decoration. Once your layers are complete transfer springform pan to the freezer and leave for a day. Release the cake from the pan and defrost. The exposed sides are beautiful. The cake is incredibly moist and soft to cut through. This is my most requested cake. I think you will enjoy it.