Friday, February 20, 2015

Breast and Bra Cake :)))

This week, I was asked to make a cake as a practical joke for the birthday of an 80-year-old guy. :) Adult cakes are not my usual kind of work, to say the least, but I didn't really want to say "no" to my husband's coworker (who had planned the joke), plus I do like a challenge every once in a while. So, on with the challenge I ran! :)

Apart from the obvious- that it is a breast and bra cake- it was actually a dark chocolate cake filled with whipped chocolate ganache, frosted with peanut butter frosting, and decorated with my homemade marshmallow fondant and buttercream frosting. I am including all the recipes below, as well as tips on making this particular cake, for any adult cake enthusiasts out there. :)

I used two 6" semi-sphere Wilton pans in which I baked my favorite recipe for dark chocolate cake but modified the temperature and baking time to account for the fact that I was working with domes, not regular flat pans. I normally bake this cake at 350F, but in this case I had the oven set at 325F. Also, instead of the usual 25 minutes or so in two 8" round cake pans, I baked these for a little over 30 minutes. Baking the cakes at a lower temperature but for a longer time ensured that they baked more evenly- this way, I avoided overbaking the outside of the cake and having a hard crust. The recipe I have produces a little more batter than is necessary for the two 6" pans, so I just baked a few mini cupcakes with the extra batter. :)

Dark Chocolate Cake

  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 tsps baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk, shaken
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup hot coffee
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Butter and flour two 6-inch semi-sphere cake pans (or use “PAM for Baking”).

1. Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix on low speed until combined.

2. In another bowl or large measuring cup, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla. Gently whisk.

3. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry. With mixer still on low, add the coffee and stir just to combine – scrape up from the bottom to make sure all the flour is incorporated. Batter will be very runny, but that is okay- this is a very moist cake!

4. Pour 2 1/2 cups of batter into each of the prepared pans and place them on top of a cookie sheet. This way, the batter that may spill over will end up in the cookie sheet and not all over your oven. The reason for overfilling your pans slightly and even letting them overflow a little is because you want them to bake by filling the pans completely once they are done. Only this way can you have perfect semi-spheres as the final product- you may need to level them off a little bit by cutting the tops slightly. Also, as I mentioned above, this recipe produces a little more batter than you need for this particular size and shape of cake pans, so you can just make a few mini cupcakes with the extra batter (an added bonus!). :)

5. Bake for about 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then turn them out onto a cooling rack to complete cooling.

Whipped Chocolate Ganache

12 oz (about 2 cups) semisweet chocolate chips or chopped chocolate
1 cup heavy whipping cream

Bring the whipping cream to a boil in a little saucepan. Watch it carefully, because it may boil over. Put the chocolate in a heat-proof bowl. Pour the hot whipping cream over the chocolate. Stir a little until the chocolate melts and mixture is smooth and glossy- it literally looks like brown velvet! :) Place ganache in refrigerator for about an hour, until ganache has cooled completely but is not yet hard- it should still be spreadable. Beat with electric mixer for about 3-4 minutes, until it becomes the consistency of frosting that can hold stiff peaks. Do not overbeat- it may become grainy! If this does happen, however, do not panic! Just melt the ganache again and run it through a fine-mesh sieve.
Use ready whipped ganache to fill your cake (I cut the dome in two horizontally and cut out some of the middle, to create a hollow spot inside- this became the home for my yummy whipped ganache!)

Peanut Butter Frosting

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter (not natural)
3-4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1 tsp vanilla extract
2-3 tbsp heavy cream or half-n-half

In the bowl of your electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter until creamy and smooth. Add the sifted powdered sugar, one cup at a time, beating on low. Mix in the peanut butter and the vanilla extract. Add the heavy cream, one tablespoon at a time, until frosting reaches your desired consistency. Frost the outside of your cake with a crumb coating- a thin layer of frosting, just to seal in the crumbs, so to say. Leave for about 30 minutes or more. Apply final layer of frosting and smooth out with a large offset spatula. Leave to dry out a little bit- another 30 minutes or more. Using a Viva paper towel, pat the frosting very carefully with your hands and smooth out any imperfections. The resulting surface should be as smooth as a lady's skin. :)))

Marshmallow Fondant

16 oz mini marshmallows
1/4 cup water
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 lbs powdered sugar, divided
1/4 cup vegetable shortening

Place the marshmallows in a large microwave-safe bowl, and microwave on High at 30 second intervals for about 1 to 1-1/2 minutes to melt the marshmallows. Carefully stir the water and vanilla extract into the hot marshmallows, and stir until the mixture is smooth. 

Transfer mixture (it will be very sticky) to the bowl of your electric mixer which you sprayed liberally with PAM or greased with vegetable shortening. Use the dough hook attachment. 
* (See note below). Beat in the confectioners' sugar, a cup at a time, until you have a sticky dough. Reserve 1 cup of powdered sugar for kneading. The dough will be very stiff. Continue kneading the fondant until the dough is smooth and no longer sticky to the touch (about 5-7 more minutes). 

Form the fondant into two balls, grease them with vegetable shortening (this prevents them from drying), wrap them tightly in plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight. To use, allow the fondant to come to room temperature, and roll it out onto a flat surface dusted with confectioners' sugar (or if you prefer, use vegetable shortening instead- that's what I did). For this cake, I rolled out the fondant with a rolling pin that had a squiggly pattern on it, to replicate a fabric texture. I was pretty happy with the way it turned out.

Cut out the fondant into two large triangles and lay each one on the "breasts" for a bra. :) Trim off any excess.

* Note: If you are using all of the fondant in one color, the easiest way is to add your food coloring at this point. However, if you need different colors, then you will have to add the coloring after the kneading stage, when you separate the fondant, and work it in by hand while kneading- I suggest using latex gloves for this, to avoid technicolor hands. :)

Finally, I used Buttercream Frosting for making the lace on the bra after I placed the fondant, and also for the writing on the cake.

1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2-3 tsp heavy cream or half-n-half

Beat butter in the bowl of your electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until it is light and fluffy. Add powdered sugar gradually and beat until smooth. Add vanilla extract and cream (1 teaspoon at a time). Add desired food coloring, if using, and pipe frosting on your cake. 

I adapted the following fondant recipe: marshmallow-fondant

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Lizzie's Banana Cream Pie

This week, my daughters had a talent show at church and they both decided they were going to do art and bake! :))) Miss Lizzie (age 5) made a terrific Banana Cream Pie from scratch! I was so proud of her!

First, she measured all the ingredients for the vanilla custard, following the recipe we chose. Then, she set up a chair for herself in front of the stove and started whisking it all together in the pot! It melted my heart, watching her whisk that custard away... She whisked, and whisked, and whisked... Until it all thickened and bubbled! She was super excited!

Once, she added the tempered eggs, the custard was all ready for butter and vanilla! It looked like this:  

We covered it with plastic wrap and put it in the fridge for a while. Once cooled, it went in the pie dish lined with crackers: one layer of custard, sliced bananas, the rest of the custard. We covered it with plastic wrap again and left in the fridge overnight. Lizzie came up with the design herself and decorated it just before we had to leave for the talent show. It turned out gorgeous!

Lizzie's Banana Cream Pie
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 tsp salt
2 1/2 cups whole or 2% milk
2 eggs, lightly beaten
3 tbsp. butter
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Graham cracker crust (or other crackers of your choice to line pie dish with; Nilla wafers work too)
1 cup heavy whipping cream, whipped
strawberries for garnish (optional)
In a large saucepan, combine sugar, cornstarch, salt, and milk and whisk until smooth. Cook and stir over medium-high heat until thickened and bubbly. Reduce heat; cook and stir 2 minutes longer. Remove from heat. Stir a small amount of hot filling into eggs; return all to pan. Bring to a gentle boil; cook and stir 2 minutes longer.
Remove from heat. Gently stir in butter and vanilla extract. Press plastic wrap onto surface of custard. Refrigerate, covered, 30 minutes.
Spread half of the vanilla custard into Graham cracker crust or pie dish lines with crackers. Slice bananas; arrange over filling. Pour remaining custard over bananas. Spread with whipped cream or decorate to your liking. Refrigerate 6 hours or overnight.                
As you can see, my daughter decided to decorate this pie with whipped cream rosettes and halved strawberries and it looked beautiful. I've always liked the combination of bananas and strawberries. She was happy with it too! And we were all super proud of her! Everybody at the talent show loved her Banana Cream Pie! It was all gone! :)

Recipe adapted from:

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