Blackberry and Orange Thyme Bombe
Your eyes start in the middle and follow the dark purple ribbon in a circle. Suddenly it ends and your eyes search for a new beginning, a new ribbon to trace on this frosty dome. Inside it's robed in creamy whites and browns, but the blackberry lanterns persist, you can't escape.
The July 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Sunita of Sunita’s world – life and food. Sunita challenged everyone to make an ice-cream filled Swiss roll that’s then used to make a bombe with hot fudge. Her recipe is based on an ice cream cake recipe from Taste of Home.
For me, July 2010 is really about a wedding cake. Every spare moment I've spent baking layers, testing frosting, whipping buttercream. But when Emma told me about this month's challenge, I knew I could use it as an opportunity to hone my techniques, the very ones I'd need for the big cake at the end of the month: planning and execution.
You see, doing a wedding cake for 120 people isn't that different from a bombe of this complexity. In both you have to figure out the cake recipe, how you'll flavor everything, how to assemble the different pieces, and how to break it into manageable steps given your time and resources. Oh yeah, and the heat if you're talking July and you live in a place that doesn't believe in A/C (like Seattle). That's the planning muscle I exercised.
Execution means, in this context, taking things slowly, without shortcuts that would compromise the finished cake. For the jelly roll component, it meant straining blackberry seeds out of the jam so the cake had a smooth texture. It also meant freezing the pieces every step of the way so that there were clean borders between the ice creams and cake. And then waiting a whole 24 hours to unmold so the knife wouldn't push softer layers together, but respected the borders frozen in place.
A little obsessive compulsive? Maybe. But if you were the bride, you'd want me to practice too, to take the time I needed to get it done right. And after this performance, I think I'm ready for the big day.
All recipes are at The Daring Kitchen, but I'm showing my variations and tips below.
Blackberry and Orange Thyme Swiss Roll Ice Cream Bombe
- As soon as the cake comes out of the oven, dust it well with powdered sugar and roll it as tight as you can in a flour sack towel until cool.
- Unroll it and soak the sponge well with simple syrup. I made a simple syrup flavored with orange thyme (the herb orange thyme, not orange + thyme) from our garden, and it was fruity and floral, and a perfect compliment to the white cake.
- Strain out the blackberry seeds in the jam before applying a layer to the sponge.
- After applying the jam, roll it tightly and soak with additional simple syrup, and then wrap in plastic wrap.
- Freeze at least 24 hours before cutting.
- Cut 1/2" slices of cake - enough for structure, but not so large that it is unwieldy. Try to keep the slices the same size.
- Pick complimentary flavors, and regulate the amounts so nothing overwhelms. You still want to taste the cake and syrup.
- Use one flavor to line the bowl, probably a solid color because it will peek through the holes between the cake slices.
- Line the bowl with plastic wrap first.
- Arrange the Swiss roll slices with thought. Do all the swirls go the same way, or do you want them alternating?
- Melt the ice cream slightly, for something like 10 minutes at room temperature. Use a hand mixer to loosen more, if necessary.
- After placing the cake layers, line the inside of the bombe with the first flavor and put everything back in the freezer to harden, at least 4 hours.
- Add the second flavor and allow it to firm up before adding the third.
- If you have extra cake slices, use it to 'top' the ice cream before wrapping it with plastic. Put a weight on the top to pack everything in tightly.
- Freeze 24 hours before serving.
- Too many strong flavors get muddy. Pick one dominant flavor, try to reflect it in the cake and ice cream, and use other flavors to accent. I used the tiniest bit of milk chocolate ice cream to bring a richness to the blackberries and cream. The vanilla became the creamy backbone, but it didn't distract at all.
- Simple syrup is your friend. Use it. Flavor it, color it, take advantage of it.
- If you put fresh or real fruit in your ice cream, use a serrated knife to saw slices. That way you'll cut the fruit, not just smoosh it. I could have cut my blackberries a bit more before mixing them in. Would've made it easier to cut.