This is the other thing I baked for Christmas. I've not always had positive experiences with sponge cake, so needless to say - I was just a tad leery of undertaking this project at altitude regardless of whether I had THE cookbook or not. My fears were completely unfounded however, and the spongecake worked out perfectly; it was tender, and springy enough to result in NO CRACKS! It was also delicious!
The filling is whipped cream with a tablespoon of Frangelico, vanilla and half a cup of crushed toasted hazelnut praline (which I made and also used for the "sawdust" on the plate). the frosting was a chocolate buttercream, which I wasn't crazy about (ever so slightly grainy and too sweet) though it was easy and took about three minutes. I opted for that since I was too tired from this darn cold which I can't seem to shake, to deal with the chilling and beating and blah blah blah of ganache. Fortunately the guests didn't seem to notice.
I did, however, have issues with the meringue mushrooms. Those babies erupted in the oven giving my caps a vaguely volcanic appearance. Sheesh. I should have realized that our dry air would dry the outsides faster than the insides could expand. Next time: lower heat, shorter bake, and overnight dry. I pasted the tops and stems together with a little melted chocolate (white and semi-sweet mixed)
So the book? Pie in the Sky, absolutely a must if, like me, you're baking at over 2500 feet. I won't reprint the recipe for the cake since every altitude is different. I did follow the cake recipe to the letter. Well, practically, except that I added extra salt, extra vanilla and a teaspoon of chocolate extract to pump up the flavor. It's really hard to follow the instructions to the letter - you know?
PS. and the cocoa did wash right out of the tea towel!