This should be an easy cake, at least now that I'm fairly comfortable with génoise. However, things just didn't go my way with this week's cake-of-the-week. The génoise was not too bad, the main flaw being that as usual, my batter didn't have the full expected volume. I think I've got a two-fold problem. First is that I need to continue to work on my folding technique so I don't lose the lovely volume from the beaten eggs. Second is speed--I think I'm folding too long (see #1), then also being too compulsive about scraping all the batter into the pan and otherwise dallying while getting the cake into the oven. I need to work on that TV chef style where utensils and pans with lots of the ingredients covering them are tossed willy-nilly into the sink, while the chef moves on in the recipe.
All that aside, I did get the chocolate génoise baked, and prepared the syrup with Chambord. (Unlike several Heavenly Cake Bakers, I had a dusty bottle in my liquor cabinet from some long-ago baking endeavor so didn't have to break the bank to get a new bottle.) Then it was on to the peanut butter whipped ganache. This should also have been simple--ganache has no terrors for me, and this recipe is just ganache with some peanut butter added, then whipped. Well, it was the whipping part that did for me. I carefully checked the temperature, but nonetheless when I started to whisk the mixture it seemed impossible to get soft peaks. I continued whisking and ended up with a grainy ganache. Rose says such a ganache can be rescued by re-melting it then beating it again, and indeed when I remelted it and got it to the right temperature it looked just like it had when I started. Unfortunately, it also once again never produced anything like soft peaks and quickly turned grainy. I gave up and frosted my syruped génoise with it anyway. It did have a nice light texture, so all that was affected (as far as I could tell) was the appearance.
Tasting results: not many opinions from the home front this week. Personally I thought it was good, with a nice light texture and well-balanced flavors. Peanut butter can be very "in your face", but this one is nicely balanced with the chocolate. However, it's still a génoise, and I strongly prefer butter cakes, especially the dense pound-cake styles. As far as the folks next door--sister-in-law and older niece dislike peanut butter and declined to taste (SIL did try a nibble, and found the PB to be at a very objectionable level). Younger niece tasted and declined any more. Nephew, a PB fan, presumably ate the piece I sent over to him but I didn't get a report. My brother didn't ask for any (and I forgot to offer it)--actually, I'm not sure how he feels about PB.
Office opinions: a big hit. My supervisor called it the best cake-of-the-week he'd had. (He does have a limited sample size, as his office isn't on my regular Cake Distribution Route. <g>) P, who hadn't had a cake-of-the-week before, loved it (he started out asking if it was a mix, and the concept of frosting not from a can seemed rather foreign to him), as did B and V. C, like me, prefers the butter cakes and gave it an "OK". Still, I think we'll call it a success.