Tuesday, March 4, 2014

A Pinstrosity from a Pinstrosity!

Part of the purpose of our blog is to provide a good smile and laugh for your day. Part of the purpose is to try and troubleshoot pins. But another part of the purpose of Pinstrosity is to motivate and inspire you to keep trying and to get out there and Bust a Move! We love hearing stories of things you were inspired to try from something we posted up on the blog, no matter the level of success or hardship you had with it. Today I have a Pinstrosity for you that was inspired by the post on October 22, 2013: A Complicated Cake Concoction

This is the cake that inspired both the October submission and today's submission:

(Still can't find the original source for this. I looked again, but I came up with nothin' just like in October!)

Pretty, huh?! 

This was the October Pinstrosity:

And now for today's submission by Meghan:

Ever since I saw this http://pinstrosity.blogspot.com/2013/10/a-complicated-cake-concoction.html I have been dying to try it myself. I know it takes a special kind of arrogance to look at a complicated project that went badly for someone else and think, "I could do that!" but there we go.

I have a recipe for a Black and White Chocolate Cake that I've been dying to make for a while, so I decided to adapt it to make the complicated cake. I knew the middle spiral layer needed to be a cake that was designed to be rolled, so I used a white chiffon roll cake off the King Arthur Flour website. For the round layers on the top and bottom of the cake, I used a chocolate chiffon from KAF's Sacher Torte recipe. I decided to fill the roll with the dark chocolate pastry cream from my B&W cake recipe, and adapt the white chocolate whipped cream from that recipe by adding mascarpone to it for stabilization.

Here is where I screwed up: even though I bake a fair amount, I've never made a roll cake. I just kind of assumed that when the recipe said "half sheet pan," it meant my mother's jelly roll pan. Apparently a jelly roll pan is smaller than a half sheet, so my roll cake came out very, very thick. It still cooked fine, even though it cooked longer, but it was so thick that it was difficult to roll and cracked very badly. It also meant that instead of a lot of thin vertical stripes, there were only a couple of thick vertical stripes in each slice.

I soldiered on. Luckily, the dark chocolate cream filling was very thick and a little bit sticky and worked perfectly for spackling together the broken chunks of cake roll. This is where I ran into problem number two: I'd vastly overestimated the scale of the original cake. You can see that the original cake looks pretty small and delicate next to the forks in the picture. I was going from memory (common Pinstrosity mistake!) and cut the roll cake into strips that were simply too tall, about 4". I think they should have been closer to 2.5". Because of this, I didn't have enough strips to make a roll that was 9" in diameter like my cake layers. It was also about 2pm on Valentine's Day, and I had spent all week talking up the cool cake I was going to make to my boyfriend, so I didn't really have time to make another cake roll. 

Again, I just had to soldier on. I hacked a bunch of uneven chunks off the chocolate cake layers until they were the same size as my aborted spiral, and then got ready to try and cover up the disaster with the white chocolate whipped cream.

I ran into another problem of scale. Adding mascarpone to the whipped cream made it so it didn't whip up to any great volume, and my 4" roll added to two 1" chocolate layers was towering enough that it needed a ton of frosting. I had enough to fill between the layers and crumb coat the sides, and then I was out of frosting. I decided to stick it in the freezer to regroup. I did not have time to go get more mascarpone, but I did have leftover white chocolate and whipped cream, so I made a large batch of the regular white chocolate whipped cream. The recipe states that it was supposed to be chilled for about 2 hours before being used to frost the cake. Haha as if I had time for that. On it went, still quite soft and gloppy. Luckily the cake was still cold from the freezer, which helped it to set up. After spackling enough on and smoothing it out as best I could I was shocked to see that my cake actually looked like a cake. I threw it in the fridge while I showered and prepped dinner, and once it had firmed up a bit, I stenciled a heart on it with cocoa and was amazed at how much of a disaster it wasn't, from the outside.

I was sure it was going to look horrifically bad when sliced, but it was actually more forgiving than I thought it would be. 

It didn't have any of the elegance and visual impact of the original, but it tasted quite good. That is the good thing about experimenting with cake: even if it turns out ugly, it's still cake. In the future, though, I would save two days of baking and stress and just bake it as a simple layer cake.

Recipes used:
White roll: http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/bche-de-nol-recipe (minus hazelnut/simple syrup)

I think my favorite line from Meghan's submission is this: "That is the good thing about experimenting with cake: even if it turns out ugly, it's still cake." So true. I'll eat ugly cake, mediocre looking cake, weird looking cake, or beautiful cake any day. Yea cake! 

What projects have you been inspired to try from Pinstrosity? Let us know, we'd love to hear!


  1. Still better than I could have done and hey...it's cake...how bad could it really be? As long as it tastes yummy and it looks like it did.

  2. My sense of challenge is rising....I feel I may need to attempt this cake.

  3. The first time you posted this, I thought to myself "I know that picture." But, then you couldn't find where it came from, and I forgot about it. This time, it was bugging me. It's from a book, I work at a library and I remember checking it out because it's got that cake on the front. It's called Bake it Like you Mean it by Gesine Bullock-Prado. Here is the Amazon link for it: http://www.amazon.com/Bake-Like-You-Mean-Gorgeous/dp/1617690139/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1394068855&sr=1-1&keywords=bake+it+like+you+mean+it
    I hope that clears a few things up.

  4. Hi everybody, by googling the picture, the closest I could get to the origin of this pin, is a that this cake was created by a chef of thailand (Sorry, but since I just googled it out of curiosity, I don't remember the chef's name, but it seems to be quita famous one).
    My birthday is coming soon, and despite I'm not a "cake person" I'm considering giving this one a try. I'm from Argentina, and around here for rolled cakes we use a special dough called "pionono", I tried to find an equivalent receipe in English to share with all the people struggling with cakes that won't roll nicely, but I didn't find any, so I guess that if I happen to submit my pinstrosity, I'll try to include a decent translation of my recipe for rolled cake (Sorry, you'll have to deal with grams and centilitres).

  5. Found this as a pretty close match! It's the same TYPE of cake, if not identical! And it's a pretty good tutorial!


    I found it by Googling images using the term "vertical jelly roll cake"


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.