Tuesday, December 30, 2008

On Turning 24 and the ensuing chaos


Last Christmas, I turned 24.

Yes, you read right. My birthday falls on the most joyful day of the year. But I do not know if receiving only one present per year instead of two is so joyful after all. J is the only one who gives me a mid-year present to compensate for it. (Does it take that many guesses to find out why I stay with him?)

But seriously. Because I had more than my fair share of baking to do this Christmas---mostly for the party at J's parents house on Boxing Day---I decided that the French buche de noel, the December Challenge for Daring Bakers, can multi-task as my birthday cake.

I was really looking forward to this challenge, and decided on the following component to complement the warm Australian Christmas:

-Coconut dacquoise
-Mango mousse
-Cinnamon and vanilla creme brulee
-Coconut crisp insert
-Cinnamon-milk ganache insert
-White chocolate icing

Everything went well until the day I took the log out of the mold to glaze. First, the icing quantity specified in the recipe proved too little to sufficiently cover the log. So, being a smartass, I made another batch and though: It should be fine if I cover it with another layer. Well, guess not.


My icing got too heavy and slipped down the sides of the cake. So in the end I had to trim off the icing on the sides with a palette knife and cover the whole thing in dessicated coconut to mask its ugliness. Oh, but wait, there's more.

While I was defrosting my log, I noticed that the mango mousse started to resemble a very runny mango custard, and was behaving in the same way. When I lifted it up, the upper half started to slide around a bit, and right then I knew that I should have gone out to buy some gold-strength gelatin leaves instead of being so cocksure that titanium-strength ones would do the same job. So, long story short: I ended up serving mango goo to people at Christmas. Thank God family (and boyfriend) do not judge.


This month's challenge is brought to us by the adventurous Hilda from Saffron and Blueberry and Marion from Il en Faut Peu Pour Etre Heureux.
They have chosen a French Yule Log by Flore from Florilege Gourmand

30 comments:

Elra said...

Oh, happy birthday Christy!

Your yule log look so beautiful decorated with fresh cherries, and mango. I also had the same problem with the creme brulee when it was being assembled.

Cheers,
Elra

Engineer Baker said...

Happy birthday (although the timing of yours makes me glad mine is in July)! I love the coconut / mango / cinnamon combo - very different. Boo for the mango goo though, that's no fun at all. I'm glad your family was understanding of the troubles :)

Y said...

The flavours sound like the perfect Summer treat. I can't believe that pretty log you photographed really turned into goo. Maybe you should have served it frozen and called it ice-cream :D

Aran said...

first of all happy birthday christy. i have friends whose birthdays fall on christmas too and they have always struggled with it. but hey, if they had a yule log like this as birthday cake it might not be so bad right? gorgeous!

Hilda said...

Happy belated birthday Christy! I'm sorry it didn't quite come together the way it should have, but seriously it looks great, so I don't think anyone would have known if you didn't tell us. That's interesting about the gold vs titanium gelatin leaves, I've only seen silver and gold ones. I'm glad you enjoyed trying it out though. Have a Happy New Year!

Lynn said...

Happy Birthday. And a congratulations on your Yule Log. I love your combination of layers. It sounds amazing. I think I would enjoy eating yours at your mid birthday. Mango and coconut in the summer sounds fabulous. Well done.

Vera said...

Christy, dear, Happy Birthday! And the most wonderful wishes! And Very Happy New Year! Your log doesn't resemble "goo" at all! It looks pretty!

ice tea: sugar high said...

Hello fellow melbournian foodie.

your cake looks AMAZING! so summery. Happy belated birthday and hope you have a great new year.

Asti

Mallory Elise said...

oh Christy your birthday!!??! Happy birthday!!! big 2-4 eh, i know how you feel (not really my birthday is july) but my mom's birthday is today and she has always hated it, but christmas eve, that's even worse! i know, i will make sure to help you celebrate your half birthday too :)

your cake is beautiful, the first photograph of those cherries, that is a fantastic photo! its like a dried blood deep red, ahh brilliant! ps. mangoes are my favorite fruit and the thought of a mango mousse is making me drool.

happy new years!

Cherie said...

Happy birthday! It might feel weird to have your bday on Christmas day, but remember: even if you don't get as many presents as the rest of us:( the fact that you were born on Christmas day makes you a very special person:)

MeetaK said...

i was thinking of the mango mousse combo too but decided to take it with the classic version. and lady - where the hec does your log not look good?

cakeflower said...

Happy Birthday! And your cake looks gorgeous either way! I am sure it tasted lovely in the warm weather!

Elra said...

Just a quick note to wish you a happy new year. I wish you and your love one always in a good health, lot's of luck and all beautiful things come in year 2009.
Best wishes,
Elra

Tartelette said...

Happy belated birthday sweetie!

Your log is positevely smashing!

Elle said...

Happy Birthday! It sure looks good, especially with the fruit toppings...and the coconut on the sides complements those great flavors!

Christy said...

Thank you everyone for your comments and your birthday wishes. Thank you for your readership, and have a very happy new year!! I wish you all the best in 2009, and I really will make an effort to see you all more often in the new year!

natalia said...

Happy birthday !! Your log looks so beautiful !! It really doesn't lack anything !! Happy new year !!

breadchick said...

Well that is a lovely birthday cake. Well done on your challenge

Mallory Elise said...

well. i think to have a cloudberry patch either in seattle or melbourne would have to be a magical cabbage patch since they only grow in Scandinavia and Newfoundland, buttttttt i think we can manage it. i'll look up seeds and illegally imported vines...i am half canadian...anyways. well i didnt read when i was little, everyone thought i was the dumb one (i have 5 siblings) but strange turn of events, and hey i am the valedictorian and writer wanna-be! who woulda thought. Well, you should read some moomins this year!

linda said...

Happy belated birthday!
Good thing the gooeyness doesn't show in the pictures. Despite the scraped off icing it looks perfect and delicious to me :)

Helene said...

Love your blog. Beautiful pictures.

Happy New Year!

Madam Chow said...

Happy Birthday! And this was one heck of a challenge, wasn't it? My creme brulee never set up, so I had to serve the dessert straight out of the freezer or the whole layer would have melted out.
Madam Chow's Kitchen
http://www.mzkitchen.com

Natalie... said...

Happy late birthday!!
Your yule log looks so elegant, sorry about the mango goo!! Bet it was stilld elicious though.

chef_d said...

Happy birthday! It still looks beautiful!

Jenny said...

It looks wonderful.
Belated Happy Birthday, btw. Hope you had a good one!

Liska said...

Happy birthday! It's incredible that you're so young, your cakes look very professional and I'm always hungry looking at them.
All the best in 2009 :)

Cathy x. said...

figuring out gelatine amounts for recipes is sooooo annoying! :P i think i saw stickers on the gelatine sheet packets at my local chefs warehouse saying that one sheet of gold sets 80 grams liquid and one sheet of titanium sets 260 or somewhere thereabouts.

Maria said...

Despite the mishaps, this dessert still looks pretty impressive. I think you've done a great job. Anything with fresh mango slices is a winner in my eyes.

Dee said...

Once again, I'm humbled by your photos. Your yule log is stunning, and I'd be thrilled to have something like that for my birthday cake.

Belated birthday, christmas and new year wishes, Christy! I'm terrible aren't I?

Leanne said...

Aw, they better not judge after all the work you put into making such an ornate log! The photos look beautiful-- I ran into trouble with the icing too. Nice choice using mango.