Tuesday, November 12, 2013

bruce and wayne's wedding

Last week, I had the honor to cater dessert for a very special wedding. The grooms are in their 60's and 70's, and they are close family friends of my client. After 37 years together, with the overturn of Proposition 8, they decided to make it legal with a beautiful ceremony and evening celebration. What a treat to be part of such an important day! The grooms requested cheesecake - we opted for two flavors - and we decided to add an 8" cake so they'd have something to slice and taste together.

I think this vertical piping looks elegant and clean.

Smart fellas: they are chocolate lovers, so while the outside decorations corresponded with their invitation and event colors, the inside was four rich chocolate layers filled with creamy chocolate mousse. The ribbon design with cursive initials mimicked the wedding invitation, and the grooms requested their names and the wedding date underneath. I used white candy melts to pipe the letters onto parchment. They are so delicate, I was afraid they would either snap or melt, so I piped about half a dozen of each. It was a wise choice, as a few of them bit the dust as I tried to transfer them; I was really grateful to have extras! I used an offset spatula to gently lift and transfer them and simply laid them on top of the fondant, using just a tiny dab of corn syrup on a paintbrush to act as glue and make sure the letters wouldn't slide around.

We decided on plain cheesecake with candied lemon peel and pumpkin cheesecake with a cream cheese-caramel swirl. It felt seasonal, and I liked the look of having two flavor options.

I have posted the cheesecake and candied lemon peel recipes before. The pumpkin cheesecake recipe is from the 1993 Thanksgiving edition of Bon Appetit, and I think my family has made it every year but one of the last 20! I made 1 1/2 recipes and baked it in a 9x13" pan following the same basic formula as the other cheesecake (which also bakes in a 9x13). I started it at 475F for 8 minutes, then reduced the heat to 200F and baked it for 50 minutes, and then turned off the oven and left it in for another 50 minutes. The pumpkin cheesecake has a little more volume than the plain, and it needed just a little longer. I probably baked it for 60-65 minutes and left it in the oven for 65-70 minutes. As a note, 1 1/2 recipes made just a little too much batter for a 9x13, so I had a little batter leftover (and made a few mini-cupcake-sized cheesecakes that baked for about 18 minutes).

Tasting the two side by side, I was surprised to find that I preferred the pumpkin cheesecake. It is much creamier, and in comparison, the plain cheesecake was a bit dry. I also think I would add a bit of melted butter to the crust for the plain cheesecake. It would hold together better and provide a little more flavor. And I would not skimp on the Whole Foods (or at least Trader Joe's) vanilla wafers; I used a different brand (not 'Nilla Wafers) and the others are superior.

Cheesecake needs a day to sit and develop the flavor in the fridge, which makes it a great "do ahead" recipe for parties. I sliced the cheesecakes into about 2" squares and placed each piece into a silver cupcake liner (following the wedding color scheme). Make sure to wipe the knife after each cut to keep the lines very clean and smooth!

For the cake, I made the Martha Stewart chocolate cake and regular vanilla buttercream. The chocolate mousse filling came from a very simple recipe I found here, though I admit to some temperature confusion. This recipe - and several others I saw - call for folding whipped cream into a melted chocolate mixture, but I wasn't sure how much, if at all, to cool the melted chocolate before folding in the cream. The recipe didn't mention it, but the heat from the chocolate definitely melted and deflated the whipped cream a bit. I ended up whipping it a little more before refrigerating it (which I think was probably not strictly necessary, but gave me more confidence it would turn out okay). After several hours in the fridge, it had set up nicely and ended up being thick enough to stand up as a cake filling. With more time to experiment, I might look for other recipes or play around with the temperatures a bit. Here's the recipe for the record.

Chocolate Mousse

1/2 cup cold heavy cream
1/2 cup (2 ounces) powdered sugar
1 cup (6 ounce) chocolate chips
2 teaspoons vanilla

1 1/2 cups cold heavy cream
1/4 cup (1 3/4 ounces) sugar

In a medium saucepan, combine powdered sugar and 1/2 cup heavy cream. Add chocolate chips and stir over low heat until chocolate chips are melted and well-blended. Remove from heat, stir in vanilla, and set aside. (The recipe doesn't say so, but I feel like it couldn't hurt to cool it to just warmer than room temperature. You don't want it too cold, or the chocolate may seize when you fold in the whipped cream, but too warm and it will melt the whipped cream you're about to beat.)

In a large bowl, beat the remaining 1 1/2 cups heavy cream on medium speed. Gradually add sugar. When all the sugar has been added, increase speed to high and beat until stiff peaks form.

Fold about 1/3 of the whipped cream into the chocolate mixture to lighten ("temper") it. Then fold in the remaining whipped cream, but do not overmix. Refrigerate for several hours before filling cake.


Bruce and Wayne have already shared nearly four happy decades. I was honored to help make this special day a little more memorable, and I wish them many more happy and healthy years together!

Print chocolate mousse recipe.

1 comment:

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