Friday, February 11, 2011
Red Velvet and Rubbing Alcohol Cake
For several months, I’ve been on the quest to make the perfect macaron. I conducted full macaron DOEs (that’s Design of Experiment for those of you who aren’t engineers) to determine the right oven temperature, meringue variety and wait-time. My coworkers were growing bored with the plates full of macawrongs that turned up in the breakroom-- wondering at my obsession with the “cookies” or “mini hamburgers.”
In honor of Valentine’s Day (which is one of my very favorite days) I decided to create a cake of love. Love wouldn’t simply be the secret ingredient, it would be a theme. What, you ask, represents love? I decided on a red velvet cake with rose mousse on top. It appeals to all the senses. Except hearing. Maybe I could serve a mix-tape along with the cake.
The cake went without a hitch. The mousse was more problematic. I added 8 tablespoons of rosewater to some gelatin and let it sit for 15 minutes. I should have noticed then that the gelatin was not doing its thing but I had other issues on my mind. I had the egg whites whipped ahead of time but attempted to tackle the whipped cream and the custard simultaneously. As such, I overwhipped the cream and while I was sighing over the stiffened milk, the custard developed huge lumps. I trashed both and remixed.
I dumped the gelatin and rosewater into the mix, folded it together and was about to pour it over the cake when I thought to taste it. As I lifted the spatula to my tongue, a feeling of dread floated over me. Or maybe I assumed the feeling was dread because it had the thick flowery scent of a funeral.
That also might explain why it tasted like embalming fluid.
A more likely explanation is that I used 8 tablespoons of rose extract instead of rose water.
Mousse part 2 was much better. According to what my coworkers said, “it tastes like roses smell.” I feel like that’s a compliment.
Rose mousse--much like Valentine’s day and love in general--may not be great the first time...but once you get it right, it’s wonderful.