04 September 2007

La Fleur

(The Flower) The name of this cake has more to do with the decoration, which I didn't bother with. It's actually Honey Génoise with Pears and Milk Buttercream. When I tasted the buttercream alone, I actually got worried that my cake would taste like sweet butter, but when it's applied in a thin layer and you add the grainy freshness of pears, the flavors meld remarkably well. It's from Flo Braker's The Simple Art of Perfect Baking.

This is also a birthday cake for fellow blogger, eGulleter, and (mostly) sane guy Graeme. I had a hell of a time thinking of a cake I could make that made use of non-tropical flavors. Anyway, happy birthday! Trust me, it tastes great. There's only 30% left, a feat for an 8-inch cake in this household. (Recipe follows)
La Fleur
La Fleur Slice
Sift together 1 cup sifted cake flour, 1 tablespoon sugar, and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Set aside. Melt 2 tablespoons butter and mix in 1 teaspoon lemon zest (I used calamansi rind). Set aside. In a bowl set over 1 inch hot tap water, whisk together 2 large egg yolks, 3 large eggs, 1/2 cup sugar, and 1 tablespoon honey (or maple syrup) until warm (up to 40°C/110°F) and feel smooth and not grainy, about 30 seconds. Take off the hot water and beat on medium-high for 3-4 minutes, until ribbons falling from the beaters stay on the surface of the batter for a while. Fold in the flour mixture in 3 additions. Take 1 cup of the batter, fold into the melted butter, then fold this into the rest of the batter until just combined. Pour into a greased and lined 8-inch round cake pan. Spin the pan to raise the sides. Place in a preheated 350°F (170°C) oven and bake for 25-27 minutes, or the cake feels spongy, the sides begin to contract, and only moist crumbs stick to a cake tester.

To make the buttercream, beat 1 large egg yolk and 1 large egg in a large bowl for 1 minute on high. In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, bring 1/2 cup of whole milk and 1 cup sugar to a boil until a candy thermometer registers 220°F (105°C). Pour in a thin stream down the side of the eggs while beating the eggs on high speed, taking care not to hit the beaters with the hot syrup. Continute beating for a total of 10 minutes, until the eggs are just body temperature (37°C/99°F). Beat in 3 sticks of room temperature butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, on high speed, waiting until each tablespoon is completely incorporated before adding the next. If the buttercream begins to curdle, beat on high speed until it reaches a satiny consistency and continue adding the butter. If you have Poire William pear liqueur available, beat in 2 tablespoons of it into the buttercream.

Split the génoise horizontally in two and brush the bottom half with a mixture of 1/2 cup simple syrup mixed with 1/4 cup Poire William pear liqueur, or do as I did and brush with the syrup of canned peaches (the liqueur is unavailable here). Spread the bottom half thinly with buttercream. Place slices or cubes of poached or canned pears on top. Place the second layer on top of this, and frost the top and sides with the remaining buttercream.

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