soundtrack: apple iphoto’09 sample music, minuet in g
if one can turn into a pumpkin, why can’t a pumpkin turn into a turkey?
happy thanksgiving month everyone. here is my rendition of ROSE’S heavenly CAKES: Pumpkin Cake with Burnt Orange Silk Meringue Buttercream (page 125).
the twist: using mac nuts instead of walnuts, mac oil instead of safflower and walnut oils, and maui gold turbinado sugar instead of light brown sugar. covering the turkey with Lacquer Glaze.
the results: love it! mac oil transforms when baked in a cake (sorry, as a salad dressing or for frying, mac oil imparts a characteristic fume most chefs dislike, but baked in a cake it transforms into something you should savor in life, heavenly). i am certain walnut oil is luxurious, so the nut is your choice.
tips for success:
1- use a 3d turkey pan with a 10 cup volume. This is the same volume of the pumpkin 3d pan used on the book. because the turkey shape has different thickness for the neck and feet compared with the chest and wings, the cake doesn’t rise evenly nor fully. it is best to make a double recipe and fill the turkey pan to the very top or not lower than 1/4 inch full. there will be 1/3 extra batter, ideal for cupcakes or financiers (easier to double the recipe and have extra batter to make cupcakes, than to calculate a 1.667 factor!). the turkey will dome considerably, so level it off with a serrated knife prior to inverting the pan. eat this, tastes wonderfully still warm!
2- the turkey halves are refrigerated overnight, then attached with a thin coat of buttercream. trace a cardboard round to fit under the base of the standing turkey and attach with a thin coat of buttercream, this is for stability and perfect plating.
3- generously, glaze the turkey, avoiding the back of the tail if possible. let the glaze set for about 2 hours at room temperature. meanwhile, roses are piped without a center core, on individual parchment squares, then frozen. with a paper towel, wipe off lacquer glaze from the turkey tail, only as much as possible without damaging the cake; this will provide a rougher cake surface, ideal for attaching the roses. attach frozen roses with a nickel sized dollop of room temp (soft) buttercream. arrange the roses as close as possible but without smashing; pipe leaves or petals to fill the gaps. once the roses thaw to room temperature, do not move the completed cake or you risk the roses falling off. i transport this cake frozen or well refrigerated inside a cooler with ice packs.
4- i love my instant read thermometer. one of the many uses is for testing cake doneness rather than using a wooden toothpick or wire cake tester. once the internal temperature is between 198 to 205oF, i take the cake for done! this particular turkey pan took 10 minutes longer to bake, my instant read thermometer gives 100% assurance of doneness, specially on such irregular cake thickness.
i really love my instant read thermometer. besides being yellow (no surprise) and having an improved design, my friends at the manufacturing company are fast addressing all my questions and assure love. the best was when one day i mentioned that i need to show it off and wished it would fit inside my chef’s coat arm pocket (having a little bit of yellow sticking out, of course). the manufacturer replied by saying this is a well asked request by chefs, so they are working on a special carrying case or clip. then, after 15 minutes, they emailed me a photo of a chef’s coat where they had unsewn the middle thread between the pen pockets so now my thermometer fits perfectly! love it. note that this is the thermometer of choice, however if you can’t afford one, go to the company’s website and have fun shopping for one of their several less expensive instant read thermometers.
i use my instant read thermometer to bring the buttercream to perfect piping temperature (72oF). with my instant read thermometer, i also continuously monitor the ambient temperature around the roses while been piped. because my room temperature is above 80oF, i need to chill the freshly piped roses immediately, otherwise the petals may droop excessively. rather than opening and closing my refrigerator as i make each rose, my favorite way is to place the freshly piped roses, as done, on a large 2-inch deep layer cake aluminum pan, this pan over a couple of frozen ice packs. i place my instant read thermometer on the pan, and it reads about 620F which is perfect! when you are finished piping all the roses, cover the pan with aluminum foil and place in the freezer (a shallow sheet pan will be of no use, to avoid damaging the roses with the foil!).
my instant read thermometer is also absolutely necessary when making the buttercream: you need to heat the sugar temperature to the exact range, otherwise forget about piping roses and defy gravity, i don’t care on my tail, the turkey tail, rose’s tail, or whatsoever. my instant read thermometer is also very useful when making the creme anglaise, but not absolutely necessary.
5- if you haven’t gotten your digital scale yet, please, do so. nowadays, digital scales are affordable and wonderfully easy to use, easy to read, and more importantly: accurate. it is important you have one, to a point where you won’t enjoy my blog unless you have one! you will notice me using my digital scales appearing on each of my youtube episodes, that is how often i use one!
in addition, i also find practical a pocket digital scale for small quantities, i.e. baking powder. pocket digital scales have an accuracy of 0.10 grams or better! note that, the preferred method for measuring baking powder is by volume with teaspoons. the pumpkin cake uses 4 tsps of baking powder, so when making a double recipe, measuring 8 tsps becomes a chore. also, more than often when i am on the 7th tsp, i ask myself if that was the 7th or 8th!!!!! this confusion happens to my students, too! what i prefer, is to measure with tsps, but over my pocket digital scale (measure by volume over a scale), noting down the weigh for 1 tsp, then as you add more tsps, the scale reading confirms when the correct number of tsps are added! keep in mind that most pocket digital scales have a maximum capacity of 500 grams or less! practical for weighing minute quantities and not a replacement of a standard size digital scale (which have a maximum capacity of 5000 to 8000 grams aprox and an accuracy of 1 gram).
6- whatever nut option you choose, be sure to use freshly packed ones. i find less than fresh all mac nuts sold in cans at supermarkets. best if you befriend a local bakery that buys in bulk, or better yet, most small mac farmers on Hawaii will mail order. try this once and you will never go back.
7- this turkey cake has only the Lacquer Glaze on it, no ganache undercoat. if the cake surface bakes terribly with large air pockets, you can touch it up with dark chocolate ganache. most air pockets on the surface of shaped cakes are preventable, by first brushing the pan with a thin coat of cake batter (but without removing the baking spray), filling all the cracks and convolutions, then filling the pan rest of the pan.