(This photo was taken by my brother. I have never thought to put food on the floor and take a picture of it! An obvious idea to many of you I'm sure but I'm glad my brother introduced me to this.)
I'm extremely excited to have participated in my first Daring Bakers' challenge! I wasn't sure if I'd have time for it with school keeping me busy but I decided to just make the time since I knew it would make me really happy. For those of you that don't know, the Daring Bakers are a group of bakers who choose one baking recipe a month and all make the same thing, following the recipe without alterations, then post about it on the same day. This month Mary at alpineberry chose the bostini cream pie for us all to make.
(I had my brother take a photo of my adorable niece holding the cake. She knew exactly how to pose with it!)
I was hoping for something with pumpkin for the October Daring Bakers' challenge, but I know my boyfriend was happy to find out it was something that combined orange and chocolate. I've never heard of bostini cream pie before so it was definitely something new for me. The recipe didn't seem like it would be too difficult, just putting a few separate parts (orange chiffon cake, vanilla custard, chocolate glaze) together.
I've never made a chiffon cake before and haven't actually made that many cakes at all. I thought it would go okay but when it came time to folding in that massive bowl of whipped egg whites into the cake batter, I started to get a bit anxious. I found it really hard to fold the egg whites into the batter without collapsing the egg whites and at the same time making sure everything was properly mixed. It seemed like the batter didn't want to be pulled up from the bottom to mix with the egg whites. Perhaps using a giant spatula (like ridiculously giant) would've been more helpful for that amount of batter.
I was really happy when I took the cake out of the oven and it smelled good. The recipe just said to gently press the middle of the cake with your finger and if it springs back then it's done. I stuck a toothpick (or three) into it just to make sure. The next problem was when I thought it wasn't going to come out of the pan (I made it in a sheet pan type thing), but a little coaxing with a spatula, and thankfully it fell out.
(The goo on the cake.)
When I took the cake out of the oven, the top was dry. But after cooling for a couple of hours, the top became wet. No idea why that happened or if that was supposed to happen or how I could've avoided it. Another problem was the bottom of the cake looked like it had all these little lumpy things (which I'm glad I didn't notice when I was eating the dessert so they didn't end up being that big of an issue.) I picked one out with a spoon and tasted it and I think it might've been a bit of the batter that hadn't mixed properly with the egg whites? Even though it seemed like I might've overmixed the batter. So overall, I was not really happy with the cake making experience. I tried a little piece of it separately and it tasted okay. It's pretty spongey, not sure if that's what it's supposed to be like.
Now the custard, I love making custards (though I do get quite hot standing over a hot stove for at least 15 minutes.) And I loved the taste of this custard. It had a really comforting homey taste to it (if that makes any sense). Some people are really good at pie crusts, at cakes, or whatever else, but for me I think it's custards. I know some people are scared that they won't stir fast enough and it will burn or curdle, but I think the trick is to use a big pot so you have lots of room to whisk. I really enjoy the whole process. Mixing a bit of the hot cream into the egg mixture to temper it and then quickly whisking the egg mixture back into the cream and watching it all thicken up.
This recipe definitely made a huge amount. Since I cut the cake into pieces to put on top of the custard, I just mixed the leftovers together (custard, cake, chocolate) and put it in the fridge. When I had the dessert after it was first put together, I thought it was okay but not my favourite or something I'd want to make again. After it sat all mixed up in the fridge overnight, it was so insanely delicious. The chocolate had hardened a bit (but was still a bit soft due to the butter in the glaze) and the cake had soaked up some of the custard. I almost couldn't believe it was the same dessert because it just tasted so different. I would definitely make it again and do it that way, with putting it in the fridge all mixed up overnight, but probably try a vanilla cake instead of the orange (since I'm not a huge fan of orange). I can't wait for next month's challenge!
For the recipe, check out Mary's post, which has some beautiful photos. To see all the other lovely Daring Bakers' bostini cream pies, you can go to the Daring Bakers' Blogroll.