Meh.

So, I’ve always known that my main weak spot when it came to my baking projects was my decorating skills. After my boring yule log and this disaster, I think it’s time to stop putting off the inevitable and sign myself up for a cake decorating class.

My dad put together a little paper model of the Sydney opera house that he found here (lots of other cool models there, too!). Using that, we made little templates for the pieces which I used to bake them. For the curved pieces, I placed the hot-from-the-oven cookies on a baking form (of some kind) that my mom had to get them to curve. Unfortunately, this also meant I could only do two at a time, so it was a bit time-consuming…

Then it was time to construct:

That wasn’t too much of a problem – my constructing skills are far superior to my decorating skills. This lack of skills led to this:

But now that I know how to do curves and provided I get my ass in gear and actually do take those cake decorating classes, I’m thinking next year…

or

or even

(and a parenthetical photograph – while I was searching for a photo of a VW Beetle, I found what is perhaps the most awesome thing EVAR – I WILL have one when I get married:

A Beetle limo?! Pure awesome, my friends.)

December Daring Bakers Challenge!

And WHAT a challenge it was! 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.

This is probaby not what you’re thinking of when you think of a yule log (some sort of log-shaped cake with marzipan mushrooms [which the Daring Bakers did last year]) – this is a proper Buche de Noel – a frozen layered dessert!

Six layers, to be precise – dacquoise, creme brulee, vanilla mousse, white chocolate feuillete, white chocolate ganache, and white chocolate icing. Whew! Quite a handful, especially in light of all the other holiday baking I’ve been attempting, but somehow I managed to get it done just in the nick of time.

I forgot to place it in the fridge for a while before attempting to slice it and, as could be expected, the almond bark that I’d used over the white chocolate icing (because it didn’t end up coating as well as could be hoped) pretty much shattered, hence the missing picture of a slice. But my layers actually turned out pretty well, I think.

Two questions, though, for any other Daring Bakers who happen to be wandering by:

  1. I don’t think I understood why the first step of the ganache had us make a caramel – my ganache insert ended up being pretty much just caramel with no hint of the white chocolate. It’s quite nice, but just not what I was expecting.
  2. I always thought you weren’t supposed to boil cream (or else it would curdle), so I didn’t even though the instructions repeatedly had us bring it to a boil. Have I just been laboring under an urban myth all these years and it really is okay to boil cream?

Click on the Daring Bakers logo to see all the other (more beautifully decorated, I’m sure) Yule Logs!