Well, geez. I tried to post an "in progress" message about my cake-of-the week but it went to my LJ, not the food blog. And now I can do a full writeup, so I guess I'll let the mistake stand as it is. I was wondering why a comment came in through LJ's notification service....and look how ugly the formatting is. Fix it later...
Part of my distraction and delay is that I have a group of co-workers in town for a database test which I'm also participating in. That means full days that start earlier than my usual, so I'm also way behind on my blog reading. I had the group over for dinner tonight and decided the chance at a new group of tasters for cake-of-the-week was not to be missed, so I scheduled my baking to have the cake for dessert.
My last of the "cakes Marie has baked" is the Chocolate Raspberry Trifle, which she baked in June 2009. Lots of familiar components here, and it was pretty easy to spread the work over a number of days. The chocolate genoise is the recipe we baked this March. I made a half recipe in two 6" cake pans about 10 days ago, and froze the cakes. Monday I made the vanilla-bean rich crème anglaise (familiar from the pineapple pudding cakes and the silk meringue buttercream) and a raspberry syrup for brushing on the cake. Last night I stirred up the raspberry preserves, and started the assembly. Oh, on the search for a half-sized trifle dish: there are such things, but the only one I spotted was one with sides that curved out and in. Very pretty...but not ideal when you want to layer chocolate cake layers that fit tightly against the sides, so the trifle stays in fairly coherent zones. I ended up with a plastic canister that was slightly larger at the top than at the bottom, and the top was just barely bigger than my finished 6" cake layers. Perfect, if not so elegant as glass.
Assembly starts with scraping the crust off the cakes so the syrup will be absorbed, splitting them into 4 layers, and trimming to get that tight fit in the trifle dish. Then one side is spread with thinned raspberry preserves, and the first one goes into the dish, preserves-side down. (Messy, that. Actually, with my level of coordination, much of this was messy.) Then the top side of the cake is brushed with the syrup, and on goes a third of the crème anglaise. My crème anglaise was thin despite using the full amount of cornstarch in the recipe, and required no spreading with a spoon--it pooled evenly on its own. Next is a layer of raspberries, then the sequence repeats twice. The trifle then is ready for overnight in the fridge so all the flavors and components meld a little.
This morning before leaving for the office I whipped the cream, adding in the other lot of thinned raspberry preserves to get light pink whipped cream. I might have made it to the office on time if I hadn't dragged out the piping bad for a swirly topping...nah, traffic would have prevented that anyway, and the piped swirls were pretty. Another handful of raspberries on top, and then the whole thing went back in the fridge ready for the evening.
Tasting results: I didn't get many specific comments, though "this is really good" got repeated several times. Kim said the best part was the raspberry whipped cream topping--not a negative on the cake, I think, but a big thumbs up for the flavorful whipped cream. I sent a sample off next door to younger niece but will have to collect that comment later. For me, I like the dessert, and it was less trouble than I thought to put it all together. I'll keep it in mind for another party occasion.