Génoise with Coffee Buttercream Frosting

I was initially feeling buckets of sympathy for the patisserie students while I was whipping buttercream and génoise by hand. Twenty minutes of whipping, messing it up and not getting a buttercreamy consistency, and then starting all over again. Another twenty minutes of whisking the génoise and not getting a ribbon-like consistency, and then starting all over again. After a proper hour of constant upper arm and shoulder badgery I was reminding myself about my idiotic seventeen mile sea kayak trip along the Napali coast in Kauai – it was futile. I was still near tears in pain. To add salt to injury, the pastry people gasped, “By hand?!? That’s what KitchenAid’s for!” Rubbing my sore deltoids I sobbed away any sympathy silently.

It’s not even like it was a recipe I was psyched about. What is this obsession with coffee flavoured EVERYTHING in Paris? A little coffee, perhaps even mocha, you know that choco-coffee flavour thing works. But this silly cake was sliced into three layers with each layer being drenched in coffee syrup and sandwiched by coffee buttercream, and then frosted by coffee frosting. Enough coffee already! At least baby-mama neighbour seemed appreciative of the cake.

Layers of genoise, coffee buttercream, and coffee syrup

Coffee Genoise

So I woke up bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, ready to take on whatever was going to be thrown at me in the kitchen. Poached colin and sting ray. Grim. Nothing excites me about poached fish. It reminds me of bad hospital food. The Chef brought these very sad-looking colins out. Their eyes were tired, gills were doggy-bag coloured. When we cut them up into darne peices (slicing across the cross-section) there were clusters of parasitic worms around the gut. They made each colin darne look like Medusa’s battered head with slimey snakes. My appetite diminished to nothingness.

Sad-looking colin

Kinda pretty but the parasitic worms got me again

The sting ray wasn’t going to win any beauty pageant either. It was nasty looking. The Chef explained that the sting ray isn’t very popular in restaurants as you need to have it spanking fresh – if it’s a few days old it could start stinking up an arrondisement. He held the peice up and there was slime dribbling down like…dribble. It looked ugly before cooking and even uglier plated up. Usually when something looks that ugly, it probably tastes pretty nasty too, right? Absolutely. It tasted like slime. Slithery sloppy gloopy slime. The only thing I could take away from that class was the Hollandaise sauce, and even that I ended up turning into scrambled eggs.

Slimey sting ray

Ugly sting ray

Let’s hope these last few days isn’t a reflection on the rest of the week, with dinner, lunch services and the regional menu. Fingers and toes crossed.

Génoise

4 eggs
125g sugar
125g flour

1. Line round cake tin bottom with parchment paper and the edges with butter.
2. Beat sugar and eggs together. Place mixture in a bain marie and whisk over a light heat till white. Be careful not cook it.
3. Fold in flour gently while spinning the bowl slowly and folding in the reverse direction.
4. Pour into tin carefully and bake at 180C for 20 minutes till the cake bounces back when poked lightly.

Coffee Buttercream

200g sugar syrup
100g egg yolks
250g butter

1. Soften the butter to a thick cream consistency (can whack it in the microwave for 20 to 30 seconds.
2. Pour sugar syrup into the yolks and whisk in a bain marie over a medium heat to 86C. Then take off the heat and whisk. Add in the butter when the mixture comes down to the same temperature as the butter. Whisk till a buttercreamy consistency is reached.

Assembling

1. Slice the genoise into 3 layers with a bread knife carefully. Brush each layer with coffee flavoured sugar syrup.
2. Spread bottom layer with buttercream. Lay genoise slice over. Brush new layer with coffee syrup and spread a layer of buttercream over. Sandwich top layer over and brush coffee syrup. Let rest in the fridge for 5 minutes.
3. With a spatula, frost the edges and the top. Rest in fridge for 5 minutes. Spread another layer of buttercream frosting over the edges and the top. Fill a piping bag with the remaining buttercream and pipe pretty things over however you wish. Rest in fridge. Slice and serve.

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