I made it! Challenge four! Thank you so much to my loyal readers and new friends who took the time to vote for me. I appreciate all your support and words of encouragement.
“Sure, you can take a pretty picture. But your task here is to go above and beyond and use photography to create a step-by-step, instructional photo tutorial. It could be anything from how to bone a chicken to how to make your favorite recipe, but your photos need to guide the reader through the steps. For this challenge, you'll want to go well beyond the 2 photo minimum with at least 6 photographs.”
More often than not food blogs are salt and peppered by impossible yet beautiful photographs. Fantastically layered slices of cake. Intricately detailed lattice pie crust. Perfectly frosted cupcakes. Food bloggers present their subjects in such a way that they transcend food and transform into art.
Like any art form it can be broken down into steps and taught. As an artist I've always believed that art is both a talent and a skill. Those that aren't born with the ability can learn it.
For those of you who bitterly complain that you can't draw a straight line or sculpt mashed potatoes I give you this tutorial. Follow these step-by-step photos to create your own masterpiece.
Chocolate Génoise Orange Mousse Cake
Source: Adapted from The Cake Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum's Moist Chocolate Génoise.
8 ounce semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 cup water, boiling
1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 cup cake flour (or substitute)
1 cup whipping cream
1 cup orange juice
1/4 cup orange zest, finely grated
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tbsp unflavoured gelatin
1 ounce semisweet chocolate
To Make the Cake:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and position a rack in the center. Butter and flour a 9 inch spring form pan and set it aside.
In a small heavy sauce pan combine the chopped chocolate and water then bring it to a slow boil over low heat, stirring constantly. Remove it from the heat once it thickens to a pudding consistency and stirring leaves temporary lines in the surface. Set it aside and let it cool to room temperature.
In a large bowl with an electric mixer and the whisk attachment beat the eggs and sugar until they triple in volume. Gently but quickly fold in the cake flour half at a time until it's just incorporated. Next fold in the cooled chocolate mixture.
Pour the batter into the prepared spring form pan and bake it for 30 – 40 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. The top of the cake will rise while baking then lower slightly when it's done and feel springy to the touch. The sides will also shrink as they pull away from the pan.
Once the cake has cooled level it off with a cake leveller or a long serrated knife then place it on your cake plate. Wrap a ring of parchment paper snugly around it and tape the ends together to create a vessel to pour the mousse into.
In a large bowl with an electric mixer whip the cream until soft peaks form. Put it in the refrigerator to chill and use when you're ready.
In a small sauce pan on medium heat combine the orange juice, zest and sugar. Stir it until the sugar dissolves then mix in the gelatin and remove it from the heat. Let it sit for 5 minutes then fold in the chilled whipped cream.
Pour the mousse on top of the Chocolate Génoise with the prepared parchment paper edge. Allow it to chill in the refrigerator 2 - 3 hours until the top is set and no longer shiny.
Carefully remove the tape and peel off the parchment paper to reveal the mousse.
On a piece of paper sketch out your desired design for the filigree. It doesn't have to be overly fancy. Even the simplest design is impressive when drawn in chocolate on cake.
In a small bowl melt the reserved ounce of bittersweet chocolate in the microwave for 30 seconds. Stir it up with a spoon until it's all melted and smooth. Fill a small piping bag fitted with a tiny round tip with the chocolate.
With a steady hand pipe the chocolate onto the set mousse in quick even strokes. It's ok if it doesn't quite turn out like you wanted. With a little improvisation you can turn mistakes into perfection. Then stand back and admire your masterpiece of edible art. Enjoy!