Today I set out to improve the my Tottenham Cake recipe. I had several changes I wanted to experiment with:
The hysterical results of experiment #4 are presented to you below. I mean, seriously. Just look at it. Really look at it. Isn't it just priceless?
That definitely didn't work out. I also need to use even less batter, because this time I really whipped up the eggs well and the entire thing rose like a soufflé.
But, at least things are looking good on the flavour front. I think next time I will use both vanilla and the super-secret-amazing extract, but I'm definitely getting there.
The addition of cream was also interesting! It resulted in this light soufflé texture, with almost a custardy feel. I will have to experiment with different cream/milk proportions to see what works best, but I think it's definitely a good idea to be adding cream - it will help keep the cakes nice and moist during transport.
Today, after many bureaucratic hurdles, I've finally submitted the payment for the general liability insurance and in that, concluded all of the business-side 'To Dos' of the application process. To be honest, it wasn't that bad looking back - but it seemed overwhelming in the beginning. Opening a corporation? banking stuff? insurance? Where do they teach you any of that? (Hint: they don't).
Now, it's time to concentrate on perfecting my recipes for the Jury Date - only 3 weeks to go!
We are making progress, the eclairs seem to be giving up.
I did some calculations (that math degree wasn't for nothing after all!), and realized my flour/liquid ratio is significantly lower than some of the other recipes out there. So I upped the flour content and prayed (quite literally).
I'm glad to report that the results were quite good - as you can see from the picture, the eclairs were much easier to pipe, and I avoided the boney look from last time.
They rose well and didn't deflate, but had some strange ridges around the sides. I wish I could talk to a professional about it, I have no idea what they mean!
Things to Improve
The war rages on, and I am left with a rather phallic collection of eclairs that are most definitely not PG.
This time I tried playing around with the eggs and flour content - which is quite visible because the eclair ridges have disappeared. The egg quantity is definitely quite tricky. Different videos show different batter consistencies, and I'm not sure which one is the right one.
I also tried going for a faster, and a thinner pipe. You can see it didn't work out, because the eclairs got that boney structure (thick ends and thin middle), and were not wide enough to rise.
Overall, less successful than yesterday's attempt - but I'm learning.
Things to continue next time:
Things to skip:
I used to think of myself as an eclair-master. Some years ago I spent weeks perfecting my pâte à choux recipe and was immensely proud of my hollow, crisp creations.
Well, the years have passed and apparently so did my talent. When I picked up the old recipe again, things were looking good and the eclairs were rising to be big&strong boys up until the moment I took them out of the oven. Within minutes my beautiful babies turned flat and soft. Oh the pain - I've forgotten to poke the tops to let the steam escape!
I preserve and try again the next day. However, I'm late to a party and have an hour to bake the eclairs, make the caramel pastry cream, shiny chocolate glaze, and assemble. The odds are not in my favour. Alas, things are looking good - I'm prepping the caramel and the eclairs are in the oven. They are expanding well and I take them out when they are nice and crisp. I prepare to cut the slits in to let the air out when I notice the caramel is burning and like in a slow motion movie, all of my attention is diverted to saving the caramel. I think you can guess what happened next. I turn around and the eclairs are dead. Again.
It is time for attempt number three. My garbage bin is filled with dozens of deflated eclairs but I will not give up. The eclairs will not have the final word on this.
Update, Attempt #3: I have finally won. This time, I baked the eclairs at 375F, and sprinkled some water around them for added moisture. I poked them open the second they came out, and voilà - no deflation!
Alas, the search for the perfect eclair is not over yet. There are still a few things I'd like to work on:
Kitchen Wars is an account of my ongoing battle against recipes and techniques that refuse to work. Sometimes it takes a while, but at the end -
I always win 😉
Enjoy this record of split buttercreams, wasted eggs, and record setting sugar usage.