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gfron1

Soaking a Cake:

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Last night I made a pomegranate syrup soaked genoise, layered with peach pastry cream covered in peach bavaroise. It was really tasty, but the soaking wasn't complete, so I ended up with a marbled effect in the cake versus the deep red that I was going for. Plus, the cake was drier than what I wanted.

I've had this problem many times before where I either added too much liquid and it seeps, or too little and its not fully soaked. Is there a method that helps to ensure success?

Thanks

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Sorry, I have no idea, but I'd be interested in finding out.

Perhaps you could oversoak, and then let it sit on a drying rack to let the excess drip out a bit?

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Last night I made a pomegranate syrup soaked genoise, layered with peach pastry cream covered in peach bavaroise.  It was really tasty, but the soaking wasn't complete, so I ended up with a marbled effect in the cake versus the deep red that I was going for.  Plus, the cake was drier than what I wanted.

I've had this problem many times before where I either added too much liquid and it seeps, or too little and its not fully soaked.  Is there a method that helps to ensure success?

Thanks

I don't think soaking is intended to saturate the cake. Genoise and other sponge cakes are dry, and traditonal soaking in liquor-spiked simple syrup adds moisture and shelf-life. Most soaking liquids are not so colored as to change the color of the cake, so it doesn't much matter. I think if you soaked a genoise with pomogranate syrup until it was uniform in color, the cake would be too wet. Some tricks (as with lemon syrups) are to pierce the cake with a skewer before soaking, but again this would create colored streaks rather than uniform red color. I'd rather have a cake that tastes good with good texture. Maybe you should learn to see the beauty of a streaked pomegranate genoise?

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Thanks, that makes a lot of sense. I also just split my 9" cake in half instead of making thin slices, and so you are right, if I had fully soaked the cake it would have been a gloppy mess.

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Surely there is a definitive answer? *looks hopeful* Or a close to definitive answer?

I'm still avoiding genoise until I find one.

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Miladyinsanity...don't avoid genoise! Its the base of so many great desserts, and once Jay Bassin left his response it did make a ton of sense how I had lost perspective. As is usual I was rushing to finish up this dessert and so normally I would cut my genoise into 1/4 - 1/2" slices, which then I would either BRUSH an infused simple syrup onto, or allow my filling to soak in a bit.

My original question was fairly silly, but I it seemed to make sense when I was writing it. Soaking (to saturation) a thick layer of genoise would just result in a layer of glop which is fine on some tables, but it really would not be the effect that I wanted. A soaked (for taste and moistening) achieves that effect.

So get out there and make a hundred genoises and see how versitile they can be.


Edited by gfron1 (log)

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Miladyinsanity...don't avoid genoise!  Its the base of so many great desserts, and once Jay Bassin left his response it did make a ton of sense how I had lost perspective.  As is usual I was rushing to finish up this dessert and so normally I would cut my genoise into 1/4 - 1/2" slices, which then I would either BRUSH an infused simple syrup onto, or allow my filling to soak in a bit. 

My original question was fairly silly, but I it seemed to make sense when I was writing it.  Soaking (to saturation) a thick layer of genoise would just result in a layer of glop which is fine on some tables, but it really would not be the effect that I wanted.  A soaked (for taste and moistening) achieves that effect. 

So get out there and make a hundred genoises and see how versitile they can be.

I know how versatile they are, but it gets a bit discouraging when you fail at something thrice in a row.

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ahhh...but the 4th time is the charm! I either use Julia Child's or Pierre Herme's recipe (both Dorie Greenspan's books). And I'm at high elevation, and haven't had trouble, so maybe you're working with a more tempermental recipe.

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a few months ago, i soaked my first cake in class. let me just say that the passion fruityness would dripping down my chin as i made a face of disgust.

i'm sure i'll always undersoak all my cakes from now on.

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Here's a trick I have used successfully. Cut a piece of cotton twine about 4 inches long. Put 3 inches under the cake and leave one inch sticking out.

Pour measured amounts of your liquid, and make notes, so you will know in the future approximately how much is needed.

When the liquid has soaked to the bottom the string will act like a wick and when you see the color change, the cake layer has absorbed enough. Gently pull the string out and discard.

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What a great trick! Thanks for posting it.

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Reminds me that one of my favorite desserts is Tres Leches, a Mexican dessert that I've never made but only ordered at restaurants.

At heart, it appears to be a genoise soaked in different types of milk. (I have never seen the recipe).

It looks like cake but when you bit into it you get this terrific release of a complex cinnamon and dairy taste that is wonderful.

I

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A professional confectioner told me that it is much better to soak seasoned (mature?) cake - it gets as much liquid as needed.

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Just from personal experience, a 10" genoise will hold about 5-6 oz of flavored simple syrup. This is a bit stale, say overnight to 3-day-old... I have to say though that Europeans tend to like a more soaked cake than Amricans or Aussies do.

At Le Cirque Jacques had this thing called a rain bottle that we put the syrup in. It was a plastic litre bottle, volume marks on the side, with a screw-on watering-can type sprinkler head. So we could evenly soak the three layers of full-sheet cakes (say for Opera or tiramisu) with the same amount of syrup, and it worked faster and with less crumbs then a brush. (I haven't been able to find it again, but I'd welcome any leads for this wonderous bottle.) In the meantime I find a trigger-spray bottle works well to evenly sprinkle rather than poking holes in an already fragile cake.

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Just from personal experience, a 10" genoise will hold about 5-6 oz of flavored simple syrup. This is a bit stale, say overnight to 3-day-old... I have to say though that Europeans tend to like a more soaked cake than Amricans or Aussies do.

At Le Cirque Jacques had this thing called a rain bottle that we put the syrup in. It was a plastic litre bottle, volume marks on the side, with a screw-on watering-can type sprinkler head. So we could evenly soak the three layers of full-sheet cakes (say for Opera or tiramisu) with the same amount of syrup, and it worked faster and with less crumbs then a brush. (I haven't been able to find it again, but I'd welcome any leads for this wonderous bottle.) In the meantime I find a trigger-spray bottle works well to evenly sprinkle rather than poking holes in an already fragile cake.

Not sure if this is the bottle you were looking for but it looks similar to what you were describing...see it here:

http://www.bakedeco.com/detail.asp?id=4926&keyword=bottle

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Isn't there also something about letting a cake soak overnite to ensure the liquid "spreads" out?

I think that's interesting that a genoise can take 5-6 oz of syrup, when most of the recipes I've ever seen for syrup to soak a genoise usually only call for 2-3 Tablespoons!

That bottle gadget looks cool.

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The "bottle" is the best way to go, JB Prince sells them for around $10.00. Its all i use and we make lots of cakes that use soaking

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Thanks, both! I'll check them out. Yay, to be able to welcome the rain bottle back into my baking life.

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The "bottle" is the best way to go, JB Prince sells them for around $10.00. Its all i use and we make lots of cakes that use soaking

Do you know who makes these?

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