July 27, 2014

Daring Bakers' July 2014 Challenge - Surprise Cake

For the July Daring Baker’s Challenge, Ruth from The Crafts of Mommyhood challenged us to bake a cake. But not just any cake; she asked us to add in a special surprise for our eyes as well as our taste buds! Her instructions can be found here.

Now, there are many fun surprise cakes out there. There's rainbow cakes, checkerboard cakes, there's cakes with hidden shapes inside or with filled with chocolates.

But for me this challenge was the perfect opportunity to finally tackle the Mondrian Cake. Ever since I bought Caitlin Freeman's formidable book of Modern Art Desserts earlier this year, I wanted to try my hands on this pièce de résistance.

The cake is not per se difficult to make, but it requires mainly lots of time. The first step is to bake cakes in 4 different colours and let them cool over night. The next day the cakes have to be cut into different sized strips and glued together with chocolate ganache. In the end, the whole cake is covered in chocolate ganache.

The cake Caitlin Freeman suggests is Rose Levy Beranbaum's White Velvet Cake, tinted with food colouring for the coloured strips. I used a little more salt (3/4 Tsp.) and replaced the 300g cake flour with 250g all purpose white flour and 50g corn starch.

Here are the cut up strips before I started covering them in the chocolate ganache
The cake was quit firm and cutting the strips was not as difficult as I thought it would be. But as it turned out, my chocolate ganache was too liquid and seeped into the cake. This means that the lines between the squares are not as clean as they should be. At least the pattern is still clearly visible, so I'm pretty happy with it, considering it was my first try.

Blurry lines, but still clearly a Mondrian Cake :-)
The next day I was wondering what to do with all the leftover cake. While the cake itself has a nice taste, I still felt it needed a bit more. It is quite a sweet cake and I thought it would pair nicely with a little fruity acidity. So I cut the leftover cake into slices and filled it with lemon curd, passion fruit curd, whipped cream with raspberry jam or caramel spread. With the pieces and crumbs that were too small to be filled, I made cake pops. I crumbled them up in the food processor, mixed them with a little chocolate ganache, shaped them into little balls and covered them in chocolate icing. In the end, it took quite some time to make use of all the leftover cake, but I just couldn't throw perfectly fine cake out. And my office liked that they got so many extra sweets.

From back to front: red cake with raspberry cream, white cake with caramel spread, yellow cake with lemon curd, blue cake with passion fruit cake and cake pops
Thanks for a great challenge, Ruth!