I only had an assembly job for this week's cake for the Heavenly Cakes Bake-Along. The génoise had been made two weeks ago when I made the White Gold Passion Génoise (still haven't blogged that one), and my first attempt at the génoise didn't get as tall as the recipe said it should. OK, I'll go ahead and admit that the second try didn't either, but both cakes worked out fine in the end. Knowing that the True Orange Génoise was coming up, I froze the first attempt. The orange curd was made when I first found sour oranges--that must have been the same weekend as the passionfruit cake baking. The syrup was made this past week when I again found sour oranges at the farmers' market, my extras from the first purchase having done that 'instantly blue with mold' trick they seem prone to. That left only the ganache for actual cooking this weekend.
(Which was good, because I made another cake this weekend for a charity auction...need to blog that separately too.)
Back to the True Orange Génoise. The cake, as I mentioned, didn't get close to Rose's expected 2 inches high--more like a little over one inch. The texture seemed fine, and perhaps the lower rise made the resulting cake easier to handle once brushed with syrup.
The orange curd presented no difficulties in the original making, then kept fine in the fridge with plastic wrap pressed to the surface and in a tightly covered container. I let it warm up a little before using, for ease of spreading. The syrup was a snap, just bringing the sour orange juice and some sugar to a boil, cooling it down, and stirring in Triple Sec.
For the cake assembly, the top crust of the cake is removed, and the bottom crust in my case came off with the parchment paper that had lined the pan. The cake is split into two layers, and the tops and bottoms of both layers are brushed with the syrup. One layer goes on the cake plate, the orange curd is spread on it, and the other layer goes on top. The assembly is covered with a thin layer of ganache, then more ganache is drizzled over the top and spread on the sides.
I did find the ganache instructions confusing. The preparation instructions say to cool it until it reaches a soft frosting consistency. I went on the 'thin' side of this, for easier spreading of a 'very thin coat' to the cake. But the next instruction is to drizzle fine lines of ganache over the top of the cake, implying that the ganache is still quite thin. Mine was nowhere close to 'drizzlable', so I warmed a tablespoon or so for the drizzling. Lastly, the recipe says to cool the remaining ganache, stirring occasionally, 'until thick enough to lift with a small metal spatula'. Hmmm...I really don't know what consistency that would be--I could have called my first spreading consistency that thick. My ganache was actually stiff by the time I'd finished my drizzling, and I ended up warming it slightly as well to be able to spread it without damaging the cake.
I did dry some orange slices for a garnish, which was very easy. The first half day of drying I used my warming drawer then moved them to the oven with the light on for another full day. The resulting slices were very pretty, though the thinner slices curled a lot.
Tasting results: Quite mixed. My sister-in-law and I both found that the flavors didn't blend, with the curd dominating the center bites to the exclusion of anything else. The curd is a wonderful thing, don't get me wrong, but it was too much for the cake in those bites. The edge bites, with a thicker ganache layer, were all that gave a chocolate/orange mix to the taste buds, and to me there was almost too much chocolate there. That was at a tasting perhaps 6 hours after the cake was put together, and I suspect the flavors needed a little more time to blend. Older niece took a bite or two and returned the plate with the rest, saying "it isn't good". I don't think I got a comment from younger niece, who was eating a little later than the rest of us. Nephew returned a cleaned plate, but said "I didn't really like the flavor". The positive vote was from my brother, who thought the central bites of the cake had just the right amount of chocolate, and who really liked the orange flavor.
Today at the office all reviews were positive--either a less-critical audience, or the cake flavors had blended. Or perhaps my ganache layer was too thin on top, and thus too heavy on the sides on at least some of the pieces we ate last night. There was some variation in my spreading, and I'm wondering if the piece my brother got had just a little more ganache on the top of it. If not, we'll just chalk it up to different strokes for different folks.