Ralph from Madison, WI (2017 Week 8: Wisconsin Week)




Madison, WI

Baking Challenge

Marzipan Centerpiece

Give your baked creation a name and tell us about your flavors. Also, what are you most proud of?

Bucky’s Blackberry Super Bowl. I LOVE marzipan and have since I was a kid. Making it was a real challenge, though. In my first attempt I tried to be true to the original recipe and "ground" the blanched almonds in the food processor but I ended up with a gritty mass that just wouldn’t be fine enough. YouTube was wrong. So, I bought blanched almond flour, which made such a difference. To complement the sweetness of the marzipan I wanted something tart. Local blackberry jam was my pick. I baked two types of sponges, a genoise and a chocolate sponge. In between layers came scrumptious meringue buttercream, pure and mixed with jam. And then there was one layer of pure jam. So, here we have sweet and chewy marzipan, airy, fluffy cake and melt in your mouth blackberry buttercream, and finally tart jam. As I was struggling with the marzipan, I was happy and proud when it finally came together and I covered the whole cake with it. So satisfying.

The key to this week’s challenge is your creative presentation. Describe your display.

I was hoping for a simple, yet striking, design with clear lines (and clean flavors underneath). That is why I covered the cake in marzipan, which became my canvas for the badger design. The black marzipan was cut out to give the cake an embossed look. I also formed a slight dome in order for the head of the badger to appear more 3D. As you can see in the photo, the design was not just (literally) superficial. I cut circles out of the layers of sponge for a checkerboard look when you cut into the cake. What good is a design when it is not followed through?

It’s Wisconsin Week, so you need to showcase a super Wisconsin twist to your recipe and/or arrangement. Tell us about it.

With the new academic year upon us, badgers (old and new) will be everywhere. I don’t think we have had a badger design yet. So, I think it is fair to say that badgers (in whatever form) are super Wisconsin.

How did you do?

Pleasantly satisfied.