My entry for the second edition of Sugar High Fridays comes one day late. Despite learning weeks in advance that the theme would be apples, I was inevitably overcome by procrastination, and my unfortunate habit of not reading the entire recipe before starting. Nevertheless, I did end up making an Apple Melody Cake from the book Desserts by Pierre Hermé.
The Melody cake, from top to bottom, consists of a garnish of apples, a layer of cinnamon crust, a layer of génoise (sponge cake), caramel Bavarian cream, baked Fuji apples infused with orange, and two more layers of génoise and cinnamon crust. I chose this recipe because, like most Pierre Hermé dishes, it plays on a balance of different flavours and a contrast of textures.
After tasting the cake's components individually, I thought the Melody cake would be mediocre at best. The apples tasted more like oranges, and the caramel Bavarian cream and the cinnamon crust were bland and unremarkable. But when all the components were combined, the cake tasted much better than I had expected. The combination between the apples and Bavarian cream made the cake work. The crust and génoise served as a base for the apples and cream, while also providing some textural contrast.
The cake wasn't particularly difficult to make, but as I found out, it needs to be started a couple days in advance, since the apples need to cook and rest for 20 hours before they can be used. The cinnamon crust is very fragile and becomes crumbly the thinner it is and the longer it's baked. Next time, I'll probably replace it with pate sucré to give it a firmer cookie-like texture.
As with most cakes, I had trouble getting my Melody cake to look as good as I would have liked. Although I've never been to Pierre Hermé in Paris, I can imagine that his rendition of this cake would have been perfect - with even layers, perfectly cut apple slices, and a crust that's uncracked and evenly browned. I'm certain that my cake decorating skills will improve with practice, but any suggestions would be very welcome.
Many thanks to Jennifer at the Domestic Goddess for hosting the event. As a side note, if you have any mouthwatering photos taken during October, be sure to check out Ronald's 'Does My Blog Look Good in This' photo contest.