Monday, March 08, 2010

The return of the croquembouche



Please. If you are a friend of mine, and you're turning 40, don't invite me to a big party to celebrate it. I might have to offer to make a croquembouche again.

One year later, I made another one of these cakes for a friend's 40th birthday. This time I used more caramel, and let it harden before turning the cake right side up, so we had no tower of Pisa syndrom. Not to say we had no drama though. I had bought a dress, was dressed and ready to go, building my cake at the last minute since it doesn't keep too well, when I realized the snow was really falling heavily, and cars were having trouble going down the hill outside our home. I started worrying but my husband reminded me we have chains for the tires. Next, the babysitter didn't show up. Every babysitter in the neighborhood had been booked for this party, so I began to panic. I had visions of being stuck at home with a cake for 40 people... Finally we found a teenager who agreed to cancel her Saturday evening plans for double the usual rate. The cake made it despite the slippery driving in the snow, and it was a success. Too much caramel to my taste (and the caramel was a little too dark), but dramatic and quite tasty.

OK, so maybe give me a year to get over this one, and then invite me to your party. After all, I did get to dance at the last one, and that in itself is worth a croquembouche to me!



I increased the kitsch factor by crafting these marzipan roses to decorate the cake (the theme of the party was pink). My seven-year old daughter made the small one on her own. I watched this video to learn how to do it. It's in French, but you'll still get it even if you don't speak French. I used supermarket marzipan (I think it's called "Modelliermarzipan" here in Switzerland) and added some pink food coloring wihtout mixing completely to make the petals different shades of pink. I even had some luster dust to make them sparkle a little (OK so yes I hate food coloring, but who is going to eat these roses anyway? Though they did disappear. I wonder what happened to them.) The only thing was the bigger ones were heavy, and I was too stressed to figure out a good way to attach them to the cake, so I glued them on the bottom with caramel. The little one stuck well near the top of the cake.



Last-minute rushing around gluing "dragées" (candied almonds) as decorations. "Enough!" said my husband, but nothing is ever enough when you make a croquembouche...

 
How do you serve the darn thing?! Wack the caramel hard.


Et voilà, another croquembouche devoured.


Joyeux anniversaire Sabine! (Sorry for the blurry shot, I was having too much fun to hold the camera steady!)

13 comments:

Memória said...

What a beautiful croquembouche!! You did an amazing job! Your friend is lucky to have you.

Vivian Teixeira said...

Very nice job :) And it's good to have u back at La Cerise

Nisrine@Dinners and Dreams said...

I would have loved to have croquembouches for my wedding, but I didn't the bakeries nearby didn't have them.

linda said...

Sabine is lucky to be your friend. I for one love the marzipan roses, also to eat, colouring or not ;)

ps my boys don't always like eating my creations, usually the less refined ones ;)

Anonymous said...

Just read this. Uproarious! I'll let the cooks comment on the product. I think the presentation is even better.

D

liz said...

Wow, and I thought my baby little croquembouche was enough baking achievement for the year - this is a serious tower of cream puffs! Thanks for stopping by zested.

Allie said...

How many puffs did you use to make your tower? I just made a small one, but assembled it free hand. Next time I'll use the cone!

Mami said...

This is soooo beautiful, and well done for keeping it straight. It looks sooo elegant. I have a question, you mentioned you used Pierre Herme's Secrets Gourmands is that the French version of 'Desserts' by Pierre Herme and Dorrie Greenspan?! I am thinking of investing in it, as Desserts doesnt have his macron recipes, and I heared this one has? is it a good book? Merci beaucoup.xx

Katraven said...

Very impressed! I'm about to attempt this a birthday as well - if all goes well it might look 40% as good as yours.

Astrid said...

I'm sorry I didn't see the latest comments until now for some reason.

Allie - I'm not sure how many puffs I used, but if memory serves, about 130?...

Mami - Sorry I don't know the English version of the book

Katraven - How did it go?

Cupcake recipes said...

Congrats! This is really mouth watering and indulging too.

Frozen calzones said...

Owwww they look so cute in the 1st picture!

fran said...

Wow this looks amazing. so i have been asked to make one for 130 people. did you have yours hollow in the center or did you fill it with more caramel puffs. how many puffs did you make and how tall was it please. i have been asked for a 65cm one. I would really appreciate your feed back. In need of my head been read i think LOL. Cheers Fran