What is Cardinal Slice you say?… it is a “supremely elegant cake; long and rectangular and served in stand-up slices” It is comprised of three main parts, each equally difficult to manage which makes this a challenging recipe…but hey I was up for the challenge!
The recipe consists of making three main parts:
- The Couleur/The Cream
- The Meringue
- The Sponge Batter
The Couleur is a syrupy extract of deeply caramelized sugar and espresso. We were to caramelize the sugar spot by spot..which means as the sugar melts you sprinkle a little more sugar over it. The book tells us, “the sugar will smoke..lots; be really, really dark, really; and look foamy”. Interesting. This syrup was then to be added to our whipped cream as the layers in-between our cake.
I took on the task:
Like any recipe, for the first try you only have the recipe to guide you…based on the recipe descriptions I thought I had succeeded, but that was just not the case. My “Couleur” did not remain a syrupy mixture but rather stiff. I even warmed it up slightly when trying to mix it in with the whipped cream and no luck whatsoever! Super disappointing…as was this whole recipe.
The next step was to make the meringue and pipe it in three long lines along parchment paper in a jelly roll pan…leaving room to pipe the sponge batter in-between. You then use the remaining meringue and mix it into the new sponge batter you cream with more eggs and yolks. Then you use the same method and pipe the sponge batter in-between the lines of the meringue with enough pressure to fill up and slightly over the meringue. You then have your three layers for this cake. At this point what I have made looks just like the pictures and I am feeling hopeful.
The recipe also says with the leftover sponge batter we can make Rothschilds, which are a chocolate coated ladyfinger. Of course I went ahead and piped those as well since I already had the batter. All of this is cooked in a 300 degree oven with the oven door slightly ajar so there is no steam building up.
After cooking I pull the layers of the cake out and it looks like the sponge batter isn’t as high as I would have liked but I still had hope…
This is when my real problems started…the recipe says to carefully peel the the parchment away from the cake strips…well that just wasn’t happening. I tried to preserve them to look ok but even that was difficult. Still I persevered…who cares if it isn’t pretty right. I trimmed the edges and the meringue/sponge batter tasted really good so I still had some hope…
Now I try to mix a little of the couleur into a little of the whipped cream…and it just wasn’t happening. I then decided to just go with plain whipped cream to salvage what I had left to work with but it was SO difficult working with the cake layers!
This is my final product…not at all what the one in the cookbook looks like.
The only good thing is my tasters still loved the flavor and couldn’t care less about the appearance but still…this recipe was a disappointment all the way around. It is not a keeper in my book. I will be curious to see if others struggled with it. Oh, and the Rothchilds…not a success either. It was just one of those days I guess 😦 Onto the next recipe!!