She turned 10 and had fun putting the royal icing fantasy flowers on her little cake at her party.
Pastillage (pronounced PAH-stee-YAZH) is a special fondant that can be modeled like clay. It dries very quickly so you have to work fast. The advantage of pastillage over fondant is it can be rolled paper thin and the finished pieces look like porcelain. But just like porcelain, they are fragile and will shatter if dropped. I made these pieces a bit thicker so they could be safely wrapped in bubble wrap for transportation.
I made this tea set for a cake for my sister a couple years ago. The teapot, creamer and sugar dish, cups and saucers, napkins, spoons, flowers and cake stand are all made of pastillage. The finished pieces were a cooperative effort; my other sister painted the delicate flowers with food color and my mom added the gilded trim using vodka and 14k gold powder.
After the pan was lined with the joconde strip and cake, we made a batch of Peanut Butter Mousse. I’ve made vanilla and chocolate mousses many times so I just adapted a vanilla mousse with the addition of peanut butter and cream cheese.
Peanut Butter Mousse
1 pkg + 1 tsp gelatin softened in 3 Tbsp water.
6 Tbsp boiling water
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
3 cups heavy whipping cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
8 oz cream cheese
2/3 cup peanut butter
Stir the boiling water into the softened gelatin. Stir till dissolved. Set aside.
Beat sugar, whipping cream and vanilla until softly mounding.
Beat the cream cheese with the peanut butter until smooth.
Beat a little whipping cream into the cream cheese peanut butter mixture. Beat in the rest of the whipping cream until almost stiff.
Gradually add the gelatin mixture to the whipped cream mixture. Do NOT overbeat or the mixture will turn grainy.
Spread the Peanut Butter Mousse in the prepared pan.
I’m looking forward to making a Lemon Almond Sponge with Pineapple Cream Cheese Mousse and Pineapple Mandarin Topping. Also a Raspberry rendition. And perhaps three crisp hazelnut dacquoise layers with coffee cream filling. The joconde was good just plain so we’ll be using the mat to develop some bar cookie recipes as well. All in all, we are very satisified with our first joconde cake.
— PB & Jam Joconde – continued from Part 2 —
The beautiful baking mat filled with dough fit our oven wall to wall, with barely room to spare when we first put it in the oven. After a mere 7 minutes baking at 450, smoke started pouring out of the oven. We threw open the oven door to see the mat had swelled up and was buckled and spreading up the sides of the oven! We were so relieved that the mat wasn’t on fire or melting. But some of the batter was burning on the sides and bottom of the oven. No time for photos, we grabbed the oven mits and wrestled the oven rack and huge mat out.
The next time we bake a joconde in our little oven, we’ll try a lower temp, maybe 400 or even 385 degrees since the mat completely cuts off circulation, especially when it swells with the heat. In order to maintain some heat above the mat, we might try starting the oven at 425, quickly putting the rack and mat in but then immediately lowering the temp to 385.
—Up next, the filling of the prepared pan with Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Mousse and Cherry Topping in final Part 4!
— Continued from Part 1 —
Continuing our PB & Jam Joconde, we had a large baking mat, the size of the entire oven rack, filled with chocolate batter that needed chilled. If we were an actual bakery, we would waltz our carefully prepped mat into the walk-in freezer and park it between the charlottes and wedding cake layers. But we’re not a bakery, we’re just a little family kitchen with a family size fridge with shelves that barely hold a fat turkey. So we had to get creative.
We figured that the object of freezing the batter was to make it firm enough to quickly spread a second layer of batter on without disturbing the design underneath. Freezing was out so we went for a good chill.
And then came the baking and our THIRD MAJOR Obstacle. If I recall, we figured 10 minutes at 450 should do it. But by the time we hit 7 minutes, smoke started pouring out of the oven. “The mat must be burning!” I yelled. “Maybe it’s melting!” he responded. “I told you the cake might burn.” he insisted. We threw open the oven in a panic and discovered ….
— To be continued in Part 3 —
There are 43 photos with this entire post so I’ve decided to divide it up into 4 parts. I will post over the next several days so as not to slow down your connection.
A Joconde cake is a delicious, decorative almond sponge cake wrapped around layers of mousse, cake, fruit or other filling. I first discovered Joconde cakes online while surfing for baking equipment. Oh my, I did a double take at the amazing artistry of such a dessert! I didn’t know what it was called, I just knew I had to make one.
[Note about the photos: Two of my sons and I took photos of the process of making this cake. Please excuse the inconsistency in focus and style. My guys were great to kindly photograph when my hands were battered up. It’s important to me that skills are passed on to the next generation. So whenever possible, the guys get to do the fun stuff! And wow, their photos are great!]
Even before beginning to bake, we hit our First Major Obstacle. We’re not a bakery, we’re just a regular family that likes to bake. And our oven is a regular home oven that happily obliges. The mat purchased was 23.64 x 15.76 x 1.18 inches. I should have measured my oven before buying the mat but was just too excited.
I have no pans that size to hold the mat. We considered making a custom pan since the guys can work with sheet metal. We considered cutting the mat in half and placing each half in a half-sheet pan. (Considering the expense of the mat, that was our very last and desperate option.) We considered covering a piece of cardboard with tin foil but weren’t sure if that would affect the heat under the mat too much. Finally, we decided to use just the oven rack itself. It was a risky tight fit, with barely 1/4″ clearance on the sides but we decided to go for it before trying something else.
I found various recipes online and then created one I figured would work. I’m very disappointed in myself for losing the recipe I scratched out on a piece of paper! I decided to use just egg whites instead of whole eggs and we didn’t have almonds so I used almond extract and extra flour for best batter consistency. The batter worked fairly well.
After spreading the batter, we hit our Second Major Obstacle. The filled mat was supposed to be frozen for 5 or 10 minutes. We’re not a bakery, we’re just a plain home kitchen with a standard side-by-side refrigerator/freezer. The mat didn’t fit in our freezer OR our refrigerator. How would we freeze a surface the size of an oven rack?
—To be continued in Part 2 —
I’m not quite mobile yet so my 19 year old son made the awesome birthday cake and my oldest son, Everett’s dad, took photos. We used our own recipes for the Vanilla and Devil’s Food Cake layers but followed this site for the construction of the diagonal layers. Totally cool cake for a little boy!
Welcome and greetings if you are following the Art of Wild Abandonment Bloghop! You probably arrived here from the amazing blog of Paty Shaulis. Her artwork is exquisite!
If you didn’t start at the beginning of the bloghop, you can join in the fun by visiting http://clairesmillie.wordpress.com/ and learning all about it.
Make sure you scroll to the bottom of my blog post to get the link for the next hop on the bloghop!
I and hundreds of others recently finished the e-course, The Art of Wild Abandonment, taught by Junelle Hallstrom Jacobsen and Christy Thomlinson. The projects were crazy and colorful and we learned all sorts of new ways to get our hands messy and express our wild creativity.
In addition to learning how to draw radishes and owls and sheep, altering a purse with paint and turning a roofing brush into an art brush holder, we painted wood blocks! Here is my version of the wood block project – Bloom!
Have fun hopping to the next post about The Art of Wild Abandonment on the wonderful blog of Janet Terrien Bracewell. I love her art journal!
Thank you so much for stopping by my blog. :)