Sunday, June 27, 2010

June 2010 Daring Bakers Challenge ~ Chocolate Pavlovas

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The June 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Dawn of Doable and Delicious. Dawn challenged the Daring Bakers’ to make Chocolate Pavlovas and Chocolate Mascarpone Mousse. The challenge recipe is based on a recipe from the book Chocolate Epiphany by Francois Payard


Too bad I couldn’t participate. June was a busy month. With out of town company and preparing to move for July…plus a birthday. We was a tad bit busy in this house.


I do want to try Chocolate Pavlovas though. Anything chocolate is right up my alley.


Check out Dawn’s blog Doable and Delicious to see how delicious they look! Thanks Dawn, when I try them I will let you know how I made out!


In the meantime, I need to collect some boxes to get to packing…..

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Elmo’s World!

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My son turned 2! Unbelievable..just seems like yesterday I held his little tiny body in my hands! Hey, they certainly grow fast. Don’t blink!


My eldest son was tired of fondant. However, I had already decided that I was going to do buttercream anyway. I wanted to do something different but familiar to him. I researched Umizoomi…which is a show that he loves and so do I. But Umizoomi is better in fondant. Then I thought most two year olds love Elmo and it is so familiar. So here is Elmo.


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The hardest thing about Elmo was getting the buttercream a great red color. I think next time I will buy it! I also wanted to give him a birthday hat but I was running out of time. I did get a little sloppy with it as you see a dollop of buttercream by his feet.


My son was getting very impatient with me. He would come in the kitchen and demand his cake. He had every right too, after all it was 9pm. How come I can get everyone else’s cake ready in time but not my own child's?


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Anyway, it was so worth the wait. The fur was the most fun!


When Elmo was cut his flavor was a great lemon cake with raspberry filling. I tried a new recipe that was inspired by someone named Mellissa who gave me a few tips. That’s all I have. Mellissa..I don’t know if she has a blog that I can refer you too, but anyway, I will share what I have adapted from her tips on this lemon cake. Now, before I share the recipe..I must note that this cake was more of a pound cake texture which surprised me. But it was good. It had a great moist crumb, and the density of it proved very good to support the cake.


Lemon Pound Cake




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Ingredients


5 cups cake flour


3 1/3 cups sugar


2 tbsp + 1 tsp baking powder


2 tsp salt


1 cup lemon juice (the bottle was fine but fresh is best)


1 cup unsalted butter


16oz plain yogurt (i used fat free)


1 tbsp lemon extract


5 whole eggs


Zest of 4 lemons ( I wanted a really strong flavor so I am sure you can cut this down to 2 or 3)



Directions


Sift flour then add other dry ingredients and mix with whisk.


Add eggs, butter and sour cream.


Beat on high for 2 mins


Stop mixer and add lemon extract and lemon juice and zest.


Beat for another 2 mins on high.


Pour into pans.


Bake at 350 for approx 45 mins or until cake tester comes out clean.


This recipe makes 10 cups of batter(which is ALOT). You can cut it in half if you need a two layer 8 inch cake only.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Naruto is the man!!

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And this mad almost defeated me. His top half wouldn’t support his bottom half. I had to give him new bottoms!! I was truly sad because I did an awesome job on his bottom half!!

I contemplated just using his top half but I thought it would be freaky if it was half of Naruto… isn’t he supposed to be awesome…? So having half of him..well…wouldn’t that show his defeat?

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My next challenge is that I didn’t have the green dye that I wanted for the top of the cake. So I was not happy with it.. To me it didn’t flow with the rest of the colors.  But the cake must go on.

My next challenge was because I gave him a new bottom half he didn’t have the days of drying time he should have. So I had to form the legs on the cake! Oh gosh, I don’t like putting gumpaste figures in the fridge. Never have and don’t want to try. The cake needed to stay firm to support him. Technically I was stuck between a rock and a hard place.

I cranked up the air condition and let the entire cake sit next to it. See, my house was hot.  My central air wasn’t keeping the house cold.  It caused much condensation issues with my fondant. Normally its no problem when the fondant condenses..you just have to stick it in front of a fan or real cool area and let it dry. It can be scary because even as I applied the fondant it was sweating.  It was hard for me to smooth.

 

I had tried a different technique with this cake called “Cake Speckle”. I wasn’t sure if the not so smoothness of my fondant was because of this. I will definitely do a post about cake speckle soon. Look out for it! But here is a peek of what it looks like! This was chocolate cake with chocolate buttercreme and strawberry filling!!

 

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In this end.. the cake came together. Naruto sat on top..well until we got the cake to the destination.. then under him a crack formed!!  It was sweltering!

Bottom line..again…I learned from this cake. Would I do things differently next time I have a cake like this to do? Yes indeed! Working in the summer with fondant is certainly an experience!! And we have a whole lotta summer left!!

Here’s a treat for you.. the recipe for the Chocolate Buttercreme! Hand’s down the best I have tasted!

Chocolate Buttercream

Recipe Source: Recipezaar

*Kittencal’s Buttercream Icing*

Ingredients

1/2 cup butter

2 2/3 cups confectioner’s sugar

1/3 cup half and half cream or milk or whipping cream (I prefer heavy whipping cream)

1 1/2 tsp vanilla

~ADD ONE OF THE FOLLOWING~

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted (for light)

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted (for medium) ( I use this)

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted (for dark rich)

 

    Directions

    Cream the butter in a small bowl.

    Blend in the desired amount of cocoa powder *

    Then add vanilla, confectioners sugar*, alternately with the cream.

    Beat with an electric mixer, until the desired texture is achieved.

     

    *Note..I sifted my cocoa powder and confectioners sugar together then added them prior to vanilla and cream.

    This recipe makes 2 cups. Ah, I’d like to add that you may want to double it because it is highly likely that you will be “tasting” this a bit more then usual! Make sure you have some for the cake!!

    Friday, June 4, 2010

    Autobots wear flowers too…

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    Here's the story,
    Of a lovely lady,
    Who was always wearing flowers in her hair.
    Then one day,
    she saw the movie Transformers,
    and the Autobots were also her flair!

    Angie love Autobots and flowers in her hair (as my make shift song above implies). It was her birthday. She asked me to make her a small cake. I don’t think she remembered that months ago she said she wanted an Autobot cake.

    So, this I think, was a complete surprise to her. What made it even more surprising was the yellow gumpaste flower that I put on her Autobot. :)

    It was great to see her face when she saw it. It was a basic 4 layer 6 inch round vanilla cake with vanilla buttercream. It was covered with black fondant. The Autobot is gumpaste with nu-silver luster dust and accented with smoky amethyst luster dust.

    For a relatively small easy cake…I did have an issue. MY HOUSE WAS HOT!! The air-condition was pushing as much as it could. I was about have a fondant melt down..

    But that was it. Which is a big it…but I got through it.

    Anyway,

    Happy Birthday to the lovely lady Autobot, Angela.

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