Saturday, October 04, 2008

Whimsical Bakehouse: Fling

Yesterday was all about "Fling," and as you can see, I didn't have an easy time of it.

The most elegant cake in the Whimsical Bakehouse, "Fling" -- at least as it appears in the book -- is a glossy chocolate-glazed beauty festooned with flat, colorful discs of chocolate. 

I started by baking three layers of chocolate chip pound cake (worked fine) and making the whipped chocolate ganache for filling.

Just about every cookbook contains at least one jewel of a recipe, and whipped chocolate ganache may be the crowning achievement of Whimsical authors Liv and Kaye Hansen. Essentially, you melt chocolate, then add cream. Freeze. Whip. Spread the fluffy, delicious ganache on your cake.


Then I tackled the chocolate glaze. Complete disaster. I've made many chocolate glazes, usually the easiest of icings, but this one behaved like oil, slipping off the cake rather than sheeting and adhering smoothly, a problem for which the Hansens offered no solutions. I muddled through, patching chocolate wherever I could, but never managed to cover every raggedy surface of cake.

Finally, I melted the wafer chocolate for the decorative disks and piped circles on a sheet of parchment, something the Hansens make sound straightforward. And so it was, though I ended up not with delicate, flat disks but lumps. 

My sloppy "Fling" does not appear related to the Hansens' "Fling," which is an extraordinarily pretty cake. If you ever get hold of a copy of Whimsical Bakehouse, check out page 56. The dots on their cake look like bubbles, or party balloons, floating across a matte chocolate sky.

Fortunately, no one seemed to care how my "Fling" looked. It was a tall, powerfully rich cake -- not my thing at all, but extremely popular with children.


  1. Well, I like that cookbook and am sorry to have missed the fling. Though probably it was no better than the ones I've enjoyed. Must mention the great turquoise frosted chocolate cake with yellow and hot pink decorations---from some years ago. Terrific in all ways.

    I think tastes do differ---sophisticated and subtle may not be my game.


  2. I've been trying recipes and techniques from the "Whimsical Bakehouse" book lately, though I've been having a little better success. It looks like you didn't crumb coat this cake before glazing? I know it was a little unclear in the instructions, but I think you need to crumb coat all cakes except for the cheesecakes when you do the chocolate glaze. It helps the glaze adhere.
    Also, when you make the chocolate polkadots, you need to pipe them onto parchment/wax paper first, then let them harden, and then invert them when you place them onto your cake. That way you'll have the nice smooth tops facing up :)
    Anyway, I stumbled upon your page via a google picture search, and I just thought I'd share some of my experience too.
    Take care,

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