Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Merry Christmas!

I took a few days off to celebrate Christmas with family and friends, but now I'm back with lots of baked goods and handmade Christmas pressies to show you all!

I'll start today with the Japanese tradition of Christmas cake. My first Christmas here, around November I started noticing tons of advertisements for cakes with little candy Santas and mushrooms on them. I didn't really get it. The longer I've lived here, however, the more I've noticed that Christmas cakes are definitely a must here. Everyone has a Christmas cake - most ordered from grocery stores or bakeries. I, however, have always made mine. That being said, our Christmas cake tradition only started a few years ago.

The first one I made was a strawberry cheesecake. The next year's was a sponge cake with chocolate buttercream and handmade royal icing toppings - a free-standing house with a cobblestone path, trees and a "Merry Christmas" sign. Last year was a traditional Bouche de Noel and finally this year was a raspberry and chocolate mousse layered cake.

This cake took a lot of work, but the mousses were delicious and well worth it. The cake starts off with making a standard sponge cake. I used an Emeril recipe and while you were only meant to bake it for 15 minutes, I had to bake mine for close to an hour. I finally just took it out, because I got nervous I'd over bake it. This is so disappointing, but it wasn't done. When I sliced it open, I realized it really should have been baked longer. The result was kind of like a really thick crepe.

Alas, I kept on with the show since I was low on time and didn't want to make a whole new sponge cake. The next step was to cut the circumference of the cake about a centimeter or two smaller, then slice it in half horizontally.

Next came the chocolate mousse.

Then you have to freeze the mousse to one layer of the cake.

Next you need to puree raspberries...

to make the raspberry mousse.

In the original baking pan, I layered the other cake half and the covered it and the side bit with the least amount of mousse as possible.

Then pull the first cake half out of the freezer and put it on top, cake side up. Then cover with the remaining raspberry mousse and freeze the whole cake.

Once it's frozen, take it out of the cake mold and put it on top of a wire rack hanging on top of a bowl.

Finally make the raspberry glaze for the top.

Pour it over the frozen cake a few times until it's the color/thickness you want.

Finally refrigerate it and then decorate it - I used dragees and a meringue Santa. I ditched the mushrooms because I still don't get their connection to Christmas. I decorated it first and my little dragees soaked up the liquid and turned to balls and Santa sunk into the cake a bit.

Had I properly baked the sponge cake, this would have been delicious. Total bummer since it was a lot of work and I'll likely never make it again.

If, however, YOU want to make it, leave a comment and I'll add in the recipe. It seemed like a lot of work to type up if no one even wants it!

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