Sunday, April 24, 2011
7/99 Apple Caramel Charlotte
The Apple Caramel Charlotte is a cake that I've been looking forward to making for quite awhile. It's a really pretty cake in the end with the stacked cake crust and the apple rose in the middle.
The one problem with this cake though is that it takes quite awhile and, honestly, the flavor didn't wow me. Maybe I made it wrong or maybe I'm just a southerner and so I like my desserts to be so full of sugar that I have a headache for a couple of days afterwards. This cake was good, and everyone else said it was great, however it was not my favorite.
To make the cake, first you make the batter and bake it on a large half sheet pan (17 1/4 x 12 1/4) until it's golden brown. Then you let it cool and then cut away!
Once you let it cool, you spread strained apricot preserves on the bottom and then stack another cake and repeat. After it's frozen for a few hours, you continue to cut the long rectangles into even smaller pieces (3/8 inches per slice), and prepare to stand them in a spring form pan.
While that's cooling, you proceed to poach the apples and make the caramel Bavarian cream filling.
Poaching the apples wasn't difficult but I was terrified that I was going to over-poach them and make them grimy. This is where the vanilla bean came in and I took a picture of it because I have had so many people ask me what on earth a vanilla bean looks like:
It's really long and skinny (triple the length of what you can see in the picture) and then you slice it down the middle and scrape the beads from the inside into your mixture.
I used Golden Delicious apples with the peel of a McIntosh to give it some color. Here are my apples, just poaching away:
Then the cream. Oh the cream. I think something went wrong here but I problem solved. To make the cream, you combine a caramel apple custard, Italian meringue, and heavy cream (aka whipped cream once you get done with it). The Italian meringue was beautiful as was the whipped cream but somewhere in the process of making the apple caramel custard, I messed up.
When I added the hot poaching liquid (leftover from the apples) to the caramel that I made, it bubbled up "furiously" as it was supposed to.
I think it's when I added it to the egg yolk mixture that I let it get too hot. My candy thermometer was in place but I think it took me a second too long to remove the mixture from the heat.
As a result, the custard looked like this:
Not terrible- after all it's going to be mixed with whipped cream and italian meringue right? But somehow as it was cooling it turned into jello. It was supposed to stay liquid the whole time. I thought to blame the powdered gelatin but I know for a fact that I measured it correctly. Whatever the issue was, I just put it in the blender and pressed smoothie and it did the trick. I don't know if it totally messed up the consistency but in the end it was nice, just like it was supposed to be!
I made an apple glaze and added a teeny bit of food coloring to it to make the petals stand out more with pink on the edges so it was finished with a nice effect.
On the whole the cake was a lovely summer cake with a very light feel to it. It is great for parties because it is pretty to look at but as I said before I wasn't wowed by the flavor.
Rose's Heavenly Cakes
Batter- page 215
Strained Apricot Preserve- page 217
Poached Apples- page 218
Caramel Bavarian Cream Filling- page 219
Apple Glaze- page 221