Fluffy buttery vanilla cake filled with creamy white chocolate mousse and fresh grapes, frosted with crème chantilly and garnished with almonds, pistachio brittle, caramelized hazelnut powder, fresh figs, and grapes.
I'm usually a very modest person. But another one of my virtues as a human being is that I am honest. And it would be a violation of the moral fiber of my very soul to say that this little cake is not the most adorable little gem of a cake I had ever seen get created from my two hands. (I have submitted the previous sentence to the writers of the SAT for their writing improvement section). I simply adore natural decorations on a cake (translation - this person is too lazy/nooby to decorate cakes otherwise). Just look at the gorgeous villi-like innards of the figs contrasting with the shiny jet black skins, the little veins of the translucent grape flesh, and the organic shards of the nuts and iridescent caramel (mais non, I did not plagiarize from an anatomy text). I made the butter cake part ages ago and froze it. Then I split it in half - this was a genius maneuver because it enabled me to dodge my knack of mutilating soft cakes while sawing them into layers. I cheated on the white chocolate mousse too - it was made by pouring 1 cup hot cream on 2.5 oz of chopped white chocolate, stirring to melt, and then chilling the ganache and beating it til soft peaks formed.
Please let me redeem myself by telling you about the grapes. Those grapes were individually hand selected and peeled, cut in half, and seeds removed. The pistachio brittle and hazelnut caramel powder were made by pouring caramel over the nuts, letting it cool, and breaking it up. For the powder, I used the food processor to blast the brittle to smithereens. The outside of the cake is just lightly sweetened whipped cream (it sounds fancier when you call it crème chantilly), stabilized with "Whip-It." The almonds conveniently cover all the imperfections.
I learned a trick to making the cream smooth while frosting the outside! I don't actually think it's a trick...I'm pretty certain all legit cake decorators would roll their eyes upon hearing my profound discovery of dipping the spatula in a vat of hot water while smoothing the cream. Genius, huh?
Believe it or not, there are improvements I would make to this cake. The white chocolate mousse could be more legit. Although it was super simple to make, I thought the flavor was lacking in something. Maybe I would add some malted milk powder to it or use a mousse recipe with egg yolks. The crème chantilly, however, cannot be improved - kudos to whichever cow made that cream and the Hawaiian farmer who made that sugar. Oh, and I guess the matchmaker behind that happy marriage should get some credit too. I only used figs and grapes because all the other yummier fruits got eaten. If I could have my way, the cake would be filled with blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries, would be 3 layers tall, and would be topped with mango, kiwi, strawberry, and blackberry slices. Kind of like a fruit tart. It would be gorgeous! But I shall stop right there because I think I hear some sniffling coming from the fridge, and you know I hate to hurt cakes' feelings. Perhaps we can console it by devouring another slice...