I do like apricots with chocolate, but I like ginger with chocolate more. When I ran across the jar of Trader Joe's Ginger Spread (basically a ginger jam) in my fridge last week, it just called out to me to be used in this week's cake. Chocolate & apricot will have to come along later. Let me also say that I had already decided to skip the levkar and buy preserves, as life is just a little too hectic right now. I needed the shortcut.
So, that decision made, and also having resolved to make the cake at least 24 hours in advance of serving it so that I could skip the syrup, the 5 component recipe was down to 3: cake, ganache, and the lacquer glaze. Only the glaze was unfamiliar territory. The cake-baking went smoothly, except for that little incident with the plastic wrapper from the top of the vanilla. I pried it up with the end of my scissors, and it snapped off. I found one piece on the counter, and didn't notice that other piece until I spread the cake batter in the half sheet pan and a little coil stuck up. Good thing it was a week for an inch-high pan!
The rolling of the cake also went smoothly, assisted by the use of a silicone baking mat--I'm really glad to skip the flipping of a large, flat, hot cake onto a towel, and instead slide liner and cake out of the pan and roll them up together.
I made the ganache (mmmm....Scharffen Berger) before the cake to give it time to cool, so once the cake was cool I was ready to make the roll. I stirred up the ginger spread to loosen it up, but probably could have added a tablespoon of water or liqueur, as it was a little stiff and I snagged my cake in a couple of places. The ganache went over it easily, and then I rolled it all together and wrapped it in plastic wrap to store overnight.
The next evening I made the lacquer glaze. I almost forgot to spread the last bits of ganache over the cake roll as a crumb coat--I didn't have three tablespoons left after weighing out 257 grams for the filling, so my crumb coat only extended about half-way down the sides of my cake. Thanks to juggling the preparation of the entree for dinner and baking a challah at the same time as the glazing operation, the glaze was a little too cool and didn't flow as smoothly as I'd hoped. I had to help it along to cover the underside curves of the cake, and that poor decision to go back and pour a little more on top to try to cover one end more thoroughly just created a little blob and a seam. Still and all, the glazed cake was quite pretty. Not a mirror surface, but shiny. Had presentation been critical, I'd have gotten out my hair dryer and tried Rose's trick for reviving glaze that had been refrigerated.
[Younger niece wandered in at the crisis point of the glazing, having called to ask if she could come over to talk about ice cream. (There'll be a post later on the results of that conversation.) As soon as she stepped in the kitchen I commanded her to grab a thermometer and check the temperature of the challah, pull it out of the oven, then put in the pans of lemon chicken that were ready to go in. As she handled all that, I was checking the temperature of the glaze and pouring it over the cake. Niece took payment for her efforts with a taste of the glaze, which she declared tasted like Jello pudding. I must say I have to agree--is it the cocoa? However, once the entire cake is together, the Jello pudding resemblance was not noticeable.]
Tasting comments: younger niece liked it and mentioned the contrast of textures of cake and ganache. Older niece liked it. Nephew found the ginger too strong, calling it bitter. I liked the chocolate and ginger combo, but thought it just didn't all come together well with the cake. I was eating first a ribbon of ganache, then cake, and back to ganache, not "chocolate ginger cake roll".
At the office, a couple of people also found the ginger a little too in your face, but A- came looking for me to say that was the best cake he'd had, ever. However, most reactions were on the lines of "good, not great".
So, a fancy cake in presentation, but not a rave for flavor. If I were doing it again I'd go for the apricot filling or perhaps a less assertive ginger spread, but as the overall effect was so-so I suspect this one won't get made a second time.