Saturday, July 14, 2007

Black Friday & a striped chocolate cake

Yesterday was Black Friday - that is, Friday the 13th - and from my perspective, it truly was a black Friday. The reason for this is that Tim left the building as a work colleague for the last time to move on to other things. In a job that often requires me to turn around results in a short time and for which I rely on good team work from my colleagues to be able to meet the expectations of others, I appreciated Tim's fast and to the point advice. Tim also has a unique sense of humour which often brightened up the routine of a working day for our group. While no-one in an organisation is irreplacable from a functional viewpoint, this doesn't take account of the fact that the individuals who fill each role in an organisation are valued by others for themselves, quite apart from the functional role that they perform. Tim is a fantastic person, and the imprint that he has made on my life cannot be filled by anyone else.

As part of Tim's leaving presentation, he was presented with collective gifts from the team, which included lots of chocolate! It therefore seemed apt that the leaving cake that I chose to make for Tim contained about 400g of chocolate. This cake was a striped chocolate cake, the recipe for which I have to thank Zinnur from the beautiful blog, Our Patisserie. The recipe for this cake can be found here.

I have made this cake once before, and was able to draw on that experience to realise that I needed to make two roulades instead of one to end up with a cake of normal (ie 20cm) diameter. If you only make a single roulade, you will end up with a very small cake, and will have to waste a lot of the chocolate layers. Even when I used two roulades to make the "striped" component of the cake, I still had to trim off a small amount of the chocolate layers to match the diameter of the three cakes. I chose to decorate this cake with grated white chocolate and white chocolate piping to contrast with the dark ganache, instead of with the chocolate curls used by Zinnur. This also enabled me to personalise the cake with a piped message (which is legible even if it is a little wonky!).

Apart from the "heavy duty" chocolate experience that this cake provides, it has the advantage of the "wow" factor, especially if you don't tell anyone that the cake is striped inside before it is cut. It looks a lot harder to make than it actually is - the only tricky parts are ensuring that your roulade strips are approximately even in width so that you end up with a flat middle section for the cake (hence ensuring that the three sections fit evenly together), and that the three sections of the cake end up approximately even in diameter (so that you don't end up with something akin to the Leaning Tower of Pisa!).

I enjoyed eating this cake as much as making it, and I particularly enjoyed the "oohs" and "aahs" from my colleagues when they saw the stripes and wondered how I made the cake. Unfortunately, Tim was rather unwell with a cold on his last day, so I am not sure if he could taste this cake or whether he liked it. However, I hope that he did.

Good luck Tim - I will miss you!

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