Archive for September, 2010
I recently attended a class hosted by Sugar Wonders, the McKinney Cake Club. The class was taught by Sylvia Wilson and I loved her laid back “about this big” style of teaching. We made several different figures out of fondant and discovered a few basic fundamentals…all figures start out as a ball and/or a cone and all sizes can be compared to some kind of candy… “make his head about the size of a gumball”, “legs should be fatter than a tootsie roll”. By the end of the 5 hrs, we were all wanting to stop by the candy store for some treats. Here are the figures I made in class…I like them all but I still think something is a little bit off about Miss Bear….oh well that just gives me a good excuse to practice making bears.
We started our day with the biggest figure which is the happy Mummy. His head and body are made out of store bought Rice Krispy Treats which were abused into taking specific shapes. He was then wrapped in black fondant, and again wrapped in strips of white fondant.
Something about this guy just makes me think of Elmo. It’s probably that nose. We made the pumpkins later on. As you can see, my pumpkin is a grumpy pumpkin. How would you feel if someone took out all your insides and stuck a candle in you?
Then we made different animals.Yes Kitty is my favorite so her pic is slightly bigger but the painter penguin is running a close second. The smaller animals are all fondant. We made the bodies (fat cones) and then used toothpicks to stick on the heads (balls). Each person’s figures were so different and had so much personality. It was great.
My penguin was a happy accident. I was going to make him a winter hat but when I put the fondant on to measure the hat it looked like a beret and Frenchy the penguin was born. The reindeer was fun because before you added in the 2 extra points on his antler he looked like a goofy longhorn. Being in Texas we all came up with a million uses for goofy longhorns….cupcake toppers, graduation cakes….the options are endless.
Everyone has their “go to recipes” so I’m posting my chocolate recipe first. Overall, I use both doctored cake mixes and scratch recipes depending on the flavor cake I’m making. My go to Chocolate Cake Recipe is from the the Cake Mix Doctor….one of my favorite recipe book.
I prefer Devil’s Food cake to regular chocolate cake but I’m sure you can adjust using the chocolate cake mix you prefer.
1 Devil’s Food Cake Mix (I like Duncan Hines)
3 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (I use the Hershey Dark which is a dutch processed cocoa)
1 1/3 cup of buttermilk
½ cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract*
*Almond extract is not in the cake mix doctors original recipe. I really love chocolate cake with a little bit of almond flavoring. I also love chocolate cake paired with an almond buttercream.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Traditionally you bake cakes at 350 degrees but I find you get a more even cake and less of a dome at 325.
Put the wet ingredients in the bottom of the bowl then add the dry ingredients. This prevents you from having to scrape down the very bottom of the bowl as you mix. Blend all the ingredients together for 1 minute on low , scrape down sides then mix for 2 minutes on medium speed.
By the way I use powdered buttermilk because it keeps longer in the fridge than regular buttermilk and I always have it on hand.
You can grease and flour your pans but I prefer homemade cake release (recipe at the end of this post). Prep two 8 inch pans. Fill each pan about 2/3 of the way full. This recipe makes 2 8 inch rounds with a few cupcakes left over.
Bake at 325 degrees until a toothpick comes out clean. Ovens do vary so you want to watch your cakes but try not to open the oven all the time. This can cause the cakes to sink in the middle. I usually check my cakes around 30-35 minutes and they’re usually finished around 40 to 45 minutes. Mine do take longer than some because I bake at 325.
Let cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then turn out on a cooling rack and leave them until they are completely cooled.
Homemade Cake Release
¼ cup shortening
¼ cup vegetable oil
¼ cup flour
Mix until completely combined and looks kind of like paste. Use a pastry brush to apply to the pans. Be sure to coat the corners well. This is much easier and much less messy than the grease and flour method. I store my cake release in a squeeze bottle from Michael’s that I got in the candy making section. It keeps on the shelf for several months but it rarely lasts me that long. If you need a larger quantity just be sure you use equal parts shortening, oil and flour.
I’ve always preferred dessert to dinner and this is still one of my all time favorites. This is an old ice box pie recipe my great Aunt Bitsy used to make. It stars two of my favorite foods, cherries and Cool Whip. To all the pasty chefs and food purists out there ….I can’t help it …. I LOVE Cool Whip! I also love real whipping cream but I’m not giving up my Cool Whip.
2 graham cracker pie crusts (you can make your own or use store bought….Bitsy won’t mind )
1 can Cherry Pie Filling
1 can Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk
2 tablespoons lemon juice (this is what thickens the pie so do not omit it)
1 8 oz container of Cool Whip
1/2 cup to 1 cup of chopped pecans (I don’t usually measure these. And they’re optional if you’re not a fan of pecans.)
Mix sweetened condensed milk, lemon juice and Cool Whip in a bowl. Fold in cherries and pecans. This recipe will make 2 pies if you use the store bought crusts. Be sure and save the plastic insert that protects the crust. This doubles as a lid.
Split the contents between the 2 pie crusts. Cover the pies and stick them in the freezer. Technically you can refrigerate the pies overnight and it will set up great but I never plan that far in advance so I throw my pies in the freezer for a couple of hours and store them in the fridge about an hour or so before I want to serve them.
This can also be served as a “salad”. Skip the pie crusts. Delete the lemon juice and sub in an 8 oz can of crushed pineapple. Chill and serve.
This recipe is super easy and always a big hit at Thanksgiving. Yes we eat ice box pies in November…in Texas this is totally acceptable behavior.
This recipe is a family favorite. It’s my dad’s favorite birthday cake and has been since he was a little boy. The frosting is a traditional buttercream with fresh strawberries. It does require refrigeration and is not really meant for piping or decorating.
1 box White Cake Mix
1 small box of strawberry jello
3 tablespoons flour
3/4 cup of oil
4 large eggs
1/2 cup strawberries (fresh or frozen – do not thaw)
1/2 cup of water
Mix all ingredients together. I usually follow the cake mix doctor’s recommendation of mixing for 2 minutes. My great grandmother said this will fill 2 eight inch pans but she was not talking about “professional” cake pans. I really find this cake will fill 2 6 inch pans and a few extra cupcakes.
Edited to add: Bake at 325 degrees until toothpick comes out clean. Usually 30-45 minutes.
1/2 cup strawberries (fresh or frozen – thawed)
1 stick of room temperature butter
2lbs of powdered sugar
Blend strawberries and butter together with hand mixer. Slowly add powdered sugar to desired consistency. This frosting can be used as a glaze by reducing the amount of powdered sugar you add. If your strawberries are very juicy, you may need to add a bit more powdered sugar to get the consistency you desire to ice your cake.
Because the frosting isn’t very decorator friendly I wrapped this cake in Chocolate Pirouette Cookies. It took just over 2 containers of cookies. Fresh strawberries are piled on top with a red ribbon to finish the look. The ribbon also helped the cookies stay in place on delivery:)
Supplies used :
9 inch dummy cake (or regular cake)
1.5 lbs of fondant
Small rolling pin
Large rolling pin
Pizza cutter Pasta roller (optional)
Dry paint brush
Water to adhere panels (piping gel or gum glue would also work)
Fondant Panels need: 1 Front panel: Rectangle rolled to a number 1 on my KitchenAide pasta roller.
18 -20 side panels: Nine triangles for each side. Rolled to a number two on my kitchen Aide pasta roller.
1 – Back panel cut into a triangle with its top cut off. This I had to hand roll to get the width needed for the back panel.
Step 1: Roll out fondant about as wide as your pasta maker. Approximately 4 inches across. Run it through the pasta machine at level one. If you are not using a pasta roller, roll it just under your normal ¼ inch thick layer. Cut fondant to make a 4X8 rectangle for the front panel. This is slightly longer than it needs to be. Adhere to cake with water or glue. Smooth down. Trim the top to avoid too much bulk.
Step 2: To create the side panels, Repeat step one but this time run through the pasta machine to level 2. (This is slightly thinner than the front panel). Cut another 4X8 panel (this does not have to be perfect because you’ll be trimming the ends to avoid too much bulk at the top of the cake).
Step 3: Cut the 4X8 rectangle on an angle to create two elongated triangles.
Step 4: Gently roll up the angled edge of the triangle. This should create a soft rounded edge. Creasing it causes the fondant to look more flat and less like fabric so make sure you roll it gently and don’t press down on the rounded edge. I gently ran the edge of my hand along the rounded edge to make sure it was straight. When you roll up the angle side, part of the tip of the triangle is hanging over the bottom portion of the triangle. Trim the bottom of the triangle so that it is straight across and can be lined up with the bottom of the cake. Trim the top inch or so off the triangle to avoid bulk in the middle of the cake.
Step 5: Using a damp brush, apply a very light layer of moisture to the back of the panel. Place the bottom corner of the triangle in the center of the front panel already on the cake. Adjust the top of the triangle so it appears draped over the cake. This may mean that the bottom of the triangle does not lay flush with the cake. This is OK. Applied pleat to the cake. Trim bottom edge.
Step 6: Trim the bottom of the triangle so it is flush with the cake. Like you would any time you apply fondant to the cake. Run the dry brush along the bottom edge of the panel to remove any rough edges and help to adhere the tip to the previous panel. I preferred using a smaller dry paint brush for this job.
Step 7: Flip the second triangle over so that you will create edge the facing the opposite way of the first triangle. Roll the edge and apply to the other side of the center panel following the same method in step 3. You can play around with placement but for the first few panels, I liked the bottom points to come pretty close to the previous triangle point. This is strictly a personal preference on how you want the cake to look.
Step 8: Repeat steps 3-5 until you have panels that almost to the very back of the cake. Be sure and use the same number of panels on each side of the cake. I used 9 panels on each side of this dummy cake.
Step 9: Before you make the back panel, you will want to create a template to make sure you get the basic dimensions correct. Take a piece of paper or paper towel and place it on the back of the cake. Determine how wide the bottom will need to be and the angle that looks best with your last 2 panels. Cut your template as a triangle and cut the top off of the triangle to avoid bulk on top of the cake. For this cake, the base of the triangle was a little over 7 inches and needed a pretty steep angle on both sides to match the angle of the last 2 panels.
Step 10: Roll your fondant out on a mat to the same thickness as your panels. I was unable to do this in the paste roller because I could not get the width and I height I needed. Use your template to cut out the back panel.
Step 11: Gently roll each side of the triangle up. Trim the bottom so that it can lay flush with the bottom of the cake and trim the top to remove any overlap of the two sides.
Step 12: Lightly dampen the inside of the panel and apply the panel to the back of the cake. Using your pizza cutter, trim the bottom edge of the back panel. Using your dry brush, brush the bottom edge to avoid rough edges to ensure the points attach to the previous panels.
You may be able to do this cake in a such a way that the top comes out pretty but I knew when starting the cake, I was going to have a solid topper to cover up any mess I made. I made sure the middle section of the cake did not too bulky where the next layer would sit.
Hi my name is Cristy and I’m a cake addict. I love cake…eating it, decorating it and everything in between. I’m a hobby baker who really enjoys everything involving cakes, cupcakes and parties. I have been so fortunate to learn from others on the web, that this website is my attempt to give a little back to the cake lovers out there.
I am by no means a professional decorator or baker. I learn by trial and error, youtube and cake sites galore. I will share with you my sugar successes AND my failures.
Please join me on my cake journey through the good, the bad and yes even a few of the ugly.