Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Valentine's Day Chocolate Bake Off

A few weeks ago I was called about a Valentine's Day Bake off that Hamilton Medical Center (the local hospital) was hosting for their associates.  The employees could enter their best chocolate dessert to see who would be crowned as "Hamilton's Chocolate Champ!"  All the employees would get to sample the goodies too, so they were making a little party out of it.  I thought it sounded like a really cool idea, and so I offered to donate a cake.  I didn't spill the beans at the time, but I have been really chomping at the bit to make this Eiffel Tower cake for a while (since my Mike McCarey Big Bird class - WOW!).  The cake is actually pretty small, I would say it would feed 6-8 people, but I had fun making it!

But they also asked if I would be one of their chef judges too and I was more than happy to help them out.  I really expected that their might be only 20-30 entries, but I was surprised t hear that 80 people entered their various cake, cookie, brownie, and pie recipes.  There were so many entries they decided to get a second set of judges (one set for each category!!)  It took me an hour to sample 40 cookies, brownies, and pies!!

Here is the Eiffel Tower Template I purchased from Mike McCarey. As you can see, it is very simple, but the effect is incredible. It's just 2 cutting guides and an impression mat, but man, are they effective! I think they give you an instuction sheet when you buy these templetes, but they were out and I have failed to follow up.  So, I winged it!  Make sure you use a dense cake as the only support is the master dowel going through the center.  Box cake will not hold up, so don't even waste your time.  Use cake drums or foam core so you have something to stab your master dowel into for support.  Lastly, use modeling chocolate for the outside coverings.  You know I love the stuff and it did not let me down here!  It made the tiny bit of cake much more sturdy and I was able to carve more lines and details after I let the cake chill up.  We also found a cute blog where the author gave some great information and pictures.  Take a look at it if you decide to make this cake.  http://www.sweetdreamscakeapp.com/2011/05/21/amazing-classes-with-mike-mccarey-day-1/
 I have said it before and I'll say it again -- If you ever get a chance to take a class with Mike, jump on it!  The man is a genius!


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