I find my cake inspiration all over the place and on both sides of the Atlantic, drawing from a wealth of blogs, books and video clips. It isn’t often that I actually want to shout about a book though but Evil Cake Overlord by Marie Porter at Celebration Generation is definitely worth a mention.
I had come across her site by chance and had wanted to get hold of a copy of her book for a while. I finally ordered it whilst visiting my sister in California (any chance to avoid paying the ridiculous import duty here!) and I wasn’t disappointed.
The book is a wealth of information for the cake decorator who wants to try something a bit different. It is full of basic recipes for both cakes and fillings/frostings, more complex recipes, upside down cakes and last but not least multi-flavoured and layered cakes. This was the bit I was particularly interested in. Everyone seems to be doing the same recipes for cakes these days – vanilla, chocolate, lemon, carrot and so on and to have a recipe book which actually gives ideas for unusual flavour combinations and innovative cakes is just wonderful.
I wholeheartedly agree with Marie’s philosophy that a cake should taste as good as it looks. Unfortunately, too many times I have had cakes which look great and taste like s***, well you get the picture. With these recipes though it makes it possible to have cakes that will stack well, carve well yet still taste yummy and be a bit different from the crowd.
I haven’t had much opportunity to try it out having been busy with orders and wedding fairs but I did manage to squeeze in one recipe last week for a Neapolitan cake which is basically alternating layers of chocolate and vanilla cake spread with thin layers of chocolate ganache and fresh strawberry Swiss meringue buttercream.
The recipe converts easily to British measurements, the only thing that threw me a bit was instant vanilla pudding mix but a quick internet search revealed the English equivalent to be vanilla Angel Delight. Weird you might say but I would argue you don’t actually know it is in the cake and I guess it helps to add to the moistness of the sponge. And anyway it isn’t so weird when put in the context of a well known cake maker who I recently heard adds mayonnaise to their cakes for added moistness. I also didn’t have any strawberries handy so I used fresh damsons, which I did have, made into a thick puree and combine with a basic Swiss meringue buttercream. Still the end result was fantastic – a really nice-looking layered cake, that impresses visually when it is cut into and tastes divine. In fact, it tastes so nice that I have had to freeze the remainder to stop myself eating it.
So I would recommend this book, which is now available through Amazon , to anyone who fancies going off piste with their cake flavours.
I am looking forward to trying such mouthwatering concoctions as the Mango Mojito Torte, Fat Elvis and Southern Belle and hopefully introducing some similar recipes to my own available repertoire soon…