Somehow in the midst of all of the sickness and snow, I tried two additional crepe recipes, just to see which one I liked the best. (This is where the egghead comes in - I always like to try lots of recipes to make sure I'm using the very best one. I've subscribed to Cook's Illustrated for too long...) One of the two crepe recipes was from The Cake Bible and used cornstarch instead of flour. These were quite tasty crepes - the batter included vanilla which made them yummy. The other recipe was from The New Basics Cookbook by Julie Rosso and Sheila Lukins. It was a good one, too, but we didn't like it as much as the other ones. My husband, the expert crepe tester, likes the crepe recipe we tried from Joy of Cooking. I think that was my favorite, too, but I'm going to add vanilla to the batter the next time I make this recipe.
Also, this week, I made a new cake for my mom's birthday. I whipped up my first genoise with orange curd filling and orange mousseline buttercream frosting, all from "The Cake Bible." It turned out as it was supposed to, but the orange flavor lacked the zip I think it needed. It was too sweet with neither salty nor tangy counterpoint. I would like to try again but with lemon juice and zest to create the curd and buttercream. In the cake's defense, the buttercream was ultra-smooth and the cake was light and moist. I'll share the orange buttercream recipe, but know that I will make it with the lemon variation next time around.
I'm taking a Wilton cake decorating class at Michael's this month, so there will more cake posts to come!
Mousseline Buttercream (adapted from The Cake Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum)
Makes 4 1/2 cups
1 lb. unsalted butter, cool room temperature
1 c. sugar
1/4 c. water
5 large egg whites
1/2 + 1/2 t. cream of tartar
3 T. Grand Marnier
1/2 c. orange curd
IN a mixing bowl, beat the butter until smooth and creamy and set aside in a cool place.
HAVE ready a heatproof glass measure near the range.
IN a small heavy saucepan, heat 3/4 c. sugar and the 1/4 c. water, stirring constantly, until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is bubbling. Stop stirring and reduce the heat to low. (If using an electric range, remove from the heat.)
IN another mixing bowl, beat the egg whites until foamy, add the cream of tartar, and beat until soft peaks form when the beater is raised. Gradually beat in the remaining 1/4 c. sugar until stiff peaks form when the beater is raised slowly. Increase the heat and boil the syrup until a thermometer registers 248 to 250 degrees. Immediately transfer the syrup to the glass measure to stop the cooking.
IF using a hand-held mixer, beat the syrup into the whites in a steady stream. Don't allow the syrup to fall on the beaters or they will spin it onto the sides of the bowl. If using a stand mixer, pour a small amount of syrup over the whites with the mixer off. Immediately beat at high speed for 5 seconds. Stop the mixer and add a larger amount of syrup. Beat at high speed for 5 seconds. Continue with the remaining syrup. For the last addition, use a rubber scraper to remove the syrup clinging to the glass measure. Lower speed to medium and continue beating up to 2 minutes or until cool. If not completely cool, continue beating on lowest speed.
BEAT in the butter at medium speed 1 T. at a time. At first the mixture will seem thinner but will thicken beautifully by the time all the butter is added. If at any time the mixture looks slightly curdled, increase the speed slightly and beat until smooth before continuing to add more butter. (Note: I finally had to put the frosting in the fridge until it cooled down to 68 degrees. It was not getting smooth.)
LOWER the speed slightly and fold in the curd and liqueur. Place in an airtight bowl. Rebeat lightly from time to time to maintain silky texture. Buttercream becomes spongy on standing.