a birthday cakelette for my very own little ‘throw back chic’

It is weird for me to think of my sister being in her 30s.  Not because I cannot reconcile myself to occupying greater numbers of 30 than she, but because she is the ‘little’ sister. I mean obviously, it is static: she will always be 2 years behind, but still… This business of ‘little’ traditionally works out so well for us: she measures in at 5’3″ to my 5’4″… making her shorter, she wears a 4 to my 6… making her smaller, her tootsies require a 5 1/2 to my 8… making her feet almost freakishly pint-sized. When she rode the bus to junior high, my friends called her ‘little Beth’ since they thought she was a tinier version of me and even now, her husband calls her ‘little Duff,’ and while I do not boast to be ‘big Duff,’ all this chatter does keep her in her proper little sister place.

And yesterday was her little sister birthday, ringing in, unbelievably to me, the big three-one.

For her day, I wanted to go all out because for herself, she rarely does. But for others, she always weighs in heavily with a sweet-Kate sort of grace. She made her Edmonton-famous chocolate turtles for her neighbours, whom she has never met, and placed these pretty parcels of goodness in their mailboxes at Christmas.  She completed a post-graduate degree to welcome a job that sent her to off-the-beaten-path-Bolivia, and paid her $200 a month for which she worked tirelessly with the women and children engaged in this education / nutrition program. She works all day raising funds for Habitat for Humanity before driving directly to pick up her little sister in order to give her care and time one evening every week. She remembers the poor and trades evenings out on the town for donations to their struggles for clean water. And she gives gifts like: “a day off,” volunteering to take care of my demanding hound for an entire day.

So, I had to up my baking game for her, but it also had to be a classy sort of sweet thing since she really is a throw-back chick if there ever was one. Her freckled face framed with dark hair calls up images of 40s glamour queens. Her wedding dress was a vintage find that left no question as to what era she would have ruled the runway in. And… she makes iced tea from scratch, knits gifts, listens to the CBC and really does bake the world a better place.

And so, for her day, I came up with…

Happy Birthday Katie.

Chocolate Lavender Mousse Cakelettes

Chocolate Genoise
Recipe from Cannelle et Vanille
6 eggs
180 grams sugar
80 grams cornstarch
80 grams flour
20 grams cocoa powder
20 grams butter, melted and cooled
In a metal bowl, whisk together the eggs and the sugar.  Place this bowl over a double boiler and continue whisking until the sugar has dissolved and the eggs feel hot to the touch.  Transfer egg-mixture to the bowl of an electric mixer and whip on high-speed until the eggs triple in volume and they form a thick ribbon.
Sift the cornstarch, flour and cocoa powder together into a bowl.  Add the sifted mixture to the whipped eggs in three batches folding each time slowly to avoid deflating the batter too much.  Finally add the melted butter and fold so that the butter doesn’t fall to the bottom of the bowl.
Divide this batter into two half sheetpans that have been greased and lined with parchment.  Spread the batter evenly and bake at 375F for about 10 minutes.  Remove from the oven and let cake cool. The cake can be wrapped in plastic and frozen.

Lavender Mousse
55g pate a bombe (recipe below)
2 tsp lavender buds
1/2 cup whole milk
1 tsp gelatin
1 Tbsp cold water
1 cup heavy cream, whipped to stiff peaks
Place the milk and the lavender into a sauce pan and bring to a boil, remove from heat and allow to stand for 15 minutes before placing the fridge for 30 minutes. This allows the lavender flavor to infuse the milk. Strain the lavender buds and set the milk aside.
Sprinkle the gelatin over the water to bloom. Mix a spoonful of cream into the gelatin and heat in the microwave for about 7 seconds. Whisk it and then quickly whisk it into the rest of the whipped cream. Mix the lavender milk and pate a bombe together and then fold into the whipped cream. If it is a bit runny place it in the fridge for a few minutes.

Chocolate Mousse
55g pate a bombe (recipe below)
85g dark chocolate
1 cup heavy cream, whipped to stiff peaks
Melt the chocolate over a water bath. Add a generous spoonful of the whipped cream to this and whisk, then add the pate a bombe and whisk until smooth. Fold in the rest of the whipped cream until a smooth chocolate consistency results.

Chocolate Ganache
9 oz dark chocolate, chopped
10 oz heavy cream
Place the chocolate in a spouted bowl. Heat the cream in a sauce pan until it boils. Pour the cream over the chocolate and allow to stand for one before whisking together until smooth.

Pate a Bombe
8 oz sugar
2 oz corn syrup
4 oz water
3 oz egg yolks
Cook the sugar, corn syrup and water to 240 degrees Farenheit on a candy thermometer. In the meantime, whip the yolks until they turn fluffy and pale. Add the cooked sugar to the yolks and continue beating until light, thick and the bowl has cooled.  This recipe makes more than what is called for here. I separate the pate a bombe into 55g containers and freeze for later use – before using make sure you allow it to come up to room temperature.

To Assemble:
Use a 2″ round cookie cutter to cut circles from the genoise – I cut a total on 30. Place 15 of these on a cookie sheet covered with parchment. Place the lavender mousse in a piping bag with a plain tip. Pipe mousse onto the pieces of genoise in a circle, filling into the centre. Top with the second genoise cut out, creating a sandwich. Place in the freezer for 15 minutes. Remove and smooth the edges of the mousse to the edges of the genoise. I used a palette knife dipped in warm water to do this. Return to freezer and freeze over night. Place frozen cakes on a wire rack over a clean cookie sheet. Pour ganache over as many cakes as you have ganache for, smoothing edges with a palette knife. Scrape the scraps off the cookie sheet back into the spouted bowl –  microwave for a few seconds and use for the remaining cakes. Place into the freezer for an hour. Pipe chocolate mousse onto the top of each cake and garnish with lavender buds. Keep in the freezer until about half an hour before serving and then place at room temperature. I added a towering narrow candle to each before we sang to the birthday girl and watched her huff and puff to blow them ALL out.

Enjoy xo

This entry was posted in Cakes, Chocolate, Lavender, Mousse, Recipes and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to a birthday cakelette for my very own little ‘throw back chic’

  1. trialsinfood says:

    Your little sister sounds amazing, but she’s lucky to have a big sister to bake her birthday cakelettes.

  2. Mom says:

    The photography is right on…. very effective.

    I’m blessed to have you two as children….wonderful human beings.

  3. These look so wonderful, what a perfect birthday gift

  4. Those are so beautiful!

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