Sunday, September 29, 2013

Marshmallow Fondant Hockey Goalie Mask Cake


I don't know why I do these things to myself. I had never made a fondant cake before, so for my first one I decided it would be fine to make a hockey goalie mask cake for a cousin's son. No big deal right? No practice needed right?

Okay, maybe some practice wouldn't have hurt. But alas, I didn't practice beforehand, and it led to some frustrating moments. I even ended up roping in the hubby to help me! Which, by the way, I tried to do from the beginning since he is an avid hockey fan and would know the dimensions better than me; however, it took me almost having a breakdown to convince him to help. What a sweet man I married...


Yes, I could pick out a million mistake with it (although I will not bore you with them, and will instead let you decide what is wrong on your own ;) ), but in the end, the cake came out pretty well! The 9 year old birthday boy was very pleased at least! 





yes, they are Habs fans...

For the cake and frosting portion I used the recipe from my Peanut Butter Hot Fudge Cupcakes (times 4). I baked half of the batter in a 9" x 13" pan and the other have in a Pampered Chef batter bowl, which I was surprised to find out can go in the oven up to 350°F. I made up my fondant the night before so it could rest overnight. The next day I stacked (I cut the 9" x 13" cake in half and stacked them first), carved and crumb coated my cake, rolled out and put the fondant over the cake, hated the way the shape looked, ripped off the fondant (this was close to my breakdown point), recruited hubby to help carve it to be closer to a real goalie mask shape, crumb coated a few areas again, made MORE fondant and rolled it out AGAIN, and then finally, successfully (although still not in love) placed the fondant over the cake. I used gel food coloring mixed with a small amount of vodka to paint the logo on.  I used black icing to make the shield on the mask and then more fondant rolled into cylinders to make the metal mask over the shield.

Here is the batter bowl for those who are unfamiliar with it

I'm not really sure if you wanted to know all that, but if you did, there it is. If not, the true purpose of this post is slowly approaching...the recipe I used for my marshmallow fondant! It really is very simple, and MUCH cheaper than store bought fondant. It also tastes better (woo hoo!)! Plus you get a mini arm workout out mixing in the powdered sugar, and a major arm workout if you add rolling it out afterwards (yes, I am currently jacked...not). The basic process is as follows:

Take 4 cups of mini (or regular) marshmallows (this is actually double that because I had to double the recipe) with some water and pop in in the microwave


Stir slightly melted marshmallows together until smooth. Add a ton of powdered sugar (this is where the arm work out comes in)


Remove from bowl and knead in MORE powdered sugar until no longer sticky

Anyway, try it, love it, mold it, eat it, do whatever you want with it really. The creative options are endless with fondant!

Oh, and if you were wondering how much you need to make, this link may help! http://www.wilton.com/decorating/fondant/fondant-amounts-to-cover-cakes.cfm

marshmallow fondant
{recipe from I Am Pisces}
Makes about 1 pound of fondant



Ingredients
  • 4 cups regular or mini marshmallows
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
Directions
  1. Place marshmallows and water together in a large microwave safe bowl. Microwave for 1 minute and then stir until completely melted. If you are tinting ALL of the fondant, you can add the food coloring now.
  2. Add powdered sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, until you reach 3 1/2 cups.
  3. Sprinkle the last 1/2 cup of powdered sugar onto countertop. Rub hands with powdered sugar and then remove fondant from bowl and onto powdered surface. Knead fondant, adding more powdered sugar as needed until it is no longer sticky.
  4. Once finished, if desired, you can use a sugared knife to cut it into sections and dye each section with food coloring as needed.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Chocolate Turtle Cupcakes


So, a couple weeks ago my husband and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary (yeay!). We had saved part of our wedding cake from the year before, as tradition told us to, but to be honest, I did not have high hopes for this cake. I mean, it had been frozen for 1 YEAR! 
But, I shouldn't have doubted our wonderful cake and the talents of the amazing baker who made it. IT WAS SO MOIST! It was strange...it was pretty much like it was a year ago (not that I can remember exactly). Granted, the edges were a little mushy and the fondant had kind of smushed into the cake in parts (although that was probably due to the fact that my wonderful husband dropped it out of the freezer one day), but for just been double plastic wrapped, I'd say that it was pretty amazing.

Anyway, what does that have to do with that gorgeous picture above you may ask? Well, eating that delectable cake reminded me of the moist and delicious cake for those peanut butter hot fudge cupcakes I made. I HAD to make them again. I decided to change it up though and made them into chocolate turtle cupcakes! Chocolate, caramel, pecans...what's not to like?



I even decided to go the extra mile and make my own caramel sauce too! Don't be scared to try it! It was easy! I would recommend using a light colored pan just so you can see the color of the caramel as it's cooking. It can go from just right to burnt fast! If you don't have a light colored saucepan (I didn't), then you can test your color on a white plate or other surface.  Below is what the sauce should look like when all is said and done.



These cupcakes came out great! The next time I might make extra frosting and add some to the center of the cupcake as well (why not right?) to make them really over the top!

yes, that is a mini version :) ...don't judge me!


chocolate turtle cupcakes
Makes 12 cupcakes
{recipe for hot fudge and cupcakes slightly adapted from Tasty Kitchen}
{recipe for frosting and caramel sauce slightly adapted from Annie's Eats}

For the hot fudge:

Ingredients
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup dark cocoa powder
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup boiling water or scalding milk
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Directions
  1. Combine sugar, cocoa, salt and flour in bowl of double boiler. Bring water or milk to a boil in another saucepan or in the microwave. Gradually add hot liquid to sugar mixture. Stir constantly until mixture thickens
  2. Once desired thickness is reached, remove from heat and stir in butter and vanilla. Use fudge in cupcake batter, as directed (see below), and then to drizzle over baked cupcakes. Store the rest of the sauce in the fridge for 1-2 weeks.
For the cupcakes:

Ingredients
  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream
  • 1 1/8 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup dark cocoa powder
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup homemade hot fudge (see above)
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a cupcake pan with 12 liners.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk the egg and sugar until smooth and no lumps remain. Add milk, cream, butter and vanilla and mix until combined. Stir in sour cream.
  3. In a separate bowl whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Add to wet mixture and mix until batter is smooth. Gently mix in fudge sauce.
  4. Fill cupcake liners with batter about 3/4 full. Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean from the center. Cool cupcakes in pan for about 5 minutes before transferring to cooling rack. Let cool completely before frosting.
For the caramel sauce:

Ingredients
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cups heavy cream, warmed
  • 1/8 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans
Directions

Spread sugar in even layer over the bottom of a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan. Place over medium-low heat, watching carefully. When the sugar begins to liquefy around the edges, use a heatproof spatula to gently stir it towards the center. Continue stirring very gently until all sugar is melted, making sure not to over stir. Once the caramel reaches a deep amber color, immediately remove saucepan from heat (to test the color drop onto a white plate or bowl). Carefully pour half of the heavy cream into the saucepan in a steady stream down edge of pan, whisking constantly. The mixture will steam and bubble violently. Stir until cream is well incorporated, then whisk in remaining cream. Stir in salt and vanilla. If any sugar has seized or hardened, place saucepan over low heat and whisk until smooth. Transfer to a bowl and let cool to room temperature.

For the frosting:

Ingredients
  • 6 ounces cream cheese, cold
  • 6 tablespoons (3 ounces) salted butter, at room temperature
  • 3 tablespoons caramel sauce
  • 1 1/8 cups confectioners' sugar
Directions

Combine cream cheese, butter and caramel sauce in bowl of electric mixer. Beat on medium-high speed until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. Mix in confectioners' sugar at medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes more. 

Assembly:

Transfer the frosting to pastry bag and pipe a swirl on top of each cooled cupcake. Using a small spoon scoop an indentation in the center of the frosting. In small bowl, mix together caramel sauce and chopped pecans. Fill indentations in the frosting with a small spoonful of the caramel-pecan mixture. Drizzle cupcakes with additional caramel sauce, hot fudge sauce and sprinkle with additional pecans, if desired.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Tiramisu Truffles

I love making truffles. I'm not sure why exactly, but I think it has something to do with the fact that a small little ball can be as delicious as an entire slice of cake, possibly even more delicious. I guess that makes them a little more dangerous too...they're bite size so you may not realize how many you've eaten until they're all gone!



When I made these for the first time, my husband said that these were his new favorite dessert- high praise from someone who dislikes sweets (really, why did I marry this man?)! 

They truly are delicious. They consist of an espresso and white chocolate ganache ball covered in chocolate shavings and cocoa powder. And yes, it's tiramisu so there's a bit of alcohol in there too! 



When making this recipe I wasn't too sure what couverture chocolate was, and after a quick internet search decided that using the white chocolate candy melts from my local grocery store should work fine. And they did! For those who don't know, couverture chocolate has more cocoa butter than normal chocolate, which means it melts and pours more readily than normal chocolate. My local grocery store did not have the couverture chocolate so I'm glad that my substitute worked out well!


These are definitely something I will make again, and would make an excellent addition to my holiday baking list!

tiramisu truffles
{recipe from Not So Humble Pie}
Makes 40-50 1 inch truffles

Ingredients

  • 10 ounces white couverture chocolate (I used white chocolate candy melts), finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons Marsala wine
  • 1/2 - 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder, to taste, divided
  • 1 ounce milk chocolate in block form
  • 1/2 teaspoon cocoa powder
*if your mascarpone cheese is very stiff and thick, whisk it in a small bowl until it is smooth and creamy before adding it to the chocolate


Directions
  1. Melt the white chocolate in double boiler, stirring until smooth. Set aside and allow to cool until lukewarm.
  2. While waiting for the chocolate to cool, dissolve half of the espresso powder in the Marsala wine.
  3. When the chocolate has cooled a bit whisk in the mascarpone until smooth. Then add the espresso Marsala. Mix in the remaining powdered espresso, cover the bowl and place in the refrigerator overnight. 
  4. The next day: Grate the block of milk chocolate on the largest holes of a box grater. Toss the shaving with the cocoa powder.
  5. Take the espresso speckled chocolate ganache from the refrigerator and scoop balls out with a spoon (I used a small cookie scoop) and roll quickly between your palms to form a ball. If your hands get sticky, dust your clean palms in a little powdered sugar between rolling.
  6. To finish, roll the truffles in the shaved chocolate/cocoa mixture.
These will keep in the refrigerator in an air tight container for 10 days. It is also best to allow the truffles to come to room temperature before devouring them.