Monday, May 11, 2009

The classics: Light fruit cake, Gateau Marbre & Piped Sables

My light fruit cake

Lesson VI

Back to the classics.
This was what Friday lesson was about.

Fruit cakes are often the center of many celebrations especially Christmas and weddings. The fruit cake that we were making today is a light one. The difference between the light and dark fruit cake, besides the colour, is that the light fruit cake has a lower content of dried fruits (~35% or less) while a dark fruit cake contains a higher content of dried fruits and they are often include rum.

Besides the light fruit cake, Chef M*ichael also demonstrated the making of the Gateau Marbre ( or the marble cake).

A light fruit cake is not hard to make at all. You just need to watch over a few things. The first being able to ensure the consistency of the batter by constant scrapping of the mixer. The second is to ensure the dried fruits and nuts are tossed in flour so that this will prevent the fruits and nuts from sinking to the bottom of the cake.

The last is not to overdo the crumble.
And was precisely what I did. We had to make a streusel topping (a type of crumble like those you see in an apple crumble) for the cake. Chef said ensure that there are no huge lumps of butter and I really took his word seriously, too seriously for that matter.

For when Chef walked by my bench while I was tossing the crumble together, he said “Chef, all the crumbs are gone!”. I turned over to look at my own ‘crumble” and realised that it was no longer crumbly because it has turned into a whole lump of dough! Thankfully, that could be rectified. With a sprinkle of additional flour, I was able to turn the dough into crumbly bits once again.

That was about the only thing that went wrong in today’s lesson.

What I like about the fruit cake is that you can dump in just about any dried fruits. I loaded it up with orange peel (Which many of my friends dislike, I wonder why), sultanas, glaced cherries and even more chopped almonds!

My cake turned out rather beautifully. Nice and even tan on the outside, cooked evenly on the inside. The crumble turned out alright too.

Time to decorate the fruit cake. During demo, Chef dusted the entire fruit cake with icing sugar. I decided that we really need less sugar so I just made a border with that. Then I got another compliment from Chef. “Looking good, Chef. Nice use of the orange peel.”

This is the second day in the row and boy did it feel good.

There was no time to rest as we also had to make piped sables (Viennese biscuits) in the same lesson. The batter wasn’t hard to make. It was just really exhausting trying to cream the butter and sugar together. I think ‘creaming’ is my most dreaded word these days. Doing it by hand is no joke and I constantly feel like my arm was going numb and going to fall off after that. The guys in the class have a physical advantage. Both Anthony and Jason, both big guys, did the creaming in half the time. Sarah and I would still be struggling through our batter when they moved on to the next step.

Piping the sables was also an uphill task. To be more accurate, it was hard getting the sables in the same size, same shape, same thickness. It takes practice, loads of it.

The sables were rum flavoured and the rum they use in school is really strong. Just by pouring it out, the whiff of rum simply rushed to your nose and through your head. Can you imagine the smell of these sables when they are being baked in the oven?


Its taste was really good and addictive, at least for me. I polished off several of these cookies during lunch break (after my lunch). Many of my friends think that the taste of the rum was simply too strong for their liking.

It was back to the theory class after lunch. Everyone was tired. Some were sleepy. Some even slept during class. I was nearly stoning out. But with the company of my newfound friends, we pulled through lecture and before we knew it, it was the end of the day.

The moment I stepped into the house. I dropped all my stuff and I just wanted to shower and sleep. I caught myself there and proceeded to make a really quick and dirty dinner. At times like these, I am so glad that I bought my 3 layer steamer instead of just a 1 layer one. I just threw everything into the steamer- rice, eggs, chicken. And there I had dinner in just 20 minutes. This simple home-steamed meal felt so good. I polished it off, went for a quick shower and headed straight to my bed.

Yes. On a Friday night. I was in bed by 1030pm while everyone was out partying and welcoming their weekend. I was just in the middle of my school week.


  1. So happy you now have photos on your blog! Anyway, how does it feel to be called "Chef"? ; p

  2. ha..yeah finally have gotten around posting the photos up.

    hmm feels quite weird during the first lesson..but got used to it after around. anyway, everyone in the kitchen is called 'chef'!haha