Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Once Upon A Time...

This cake tells a story. I will start at the beginning, before the story. It is the week before Valentines Day so, of course I am mad busy baking Valentine treats. I also have my mothers birthday coming up and want to make her a cake for our family celebration. Then, my sister calls and tells me she has tickets to go see "The Chew", do I want to go with her? Of course I do, NOT because it is "the Chew" but because I love to spend time with my sister. This means a trip to Long Island so we can take the train together. I figure I can take a day to go have some fun. This turns into two days because we have to get a 6:19 A.M. train so I have to go and spend the night before on Long Island too. This is still doable until......My neighbor contacts me to see if I can make a birthday cake for her mother, the party is this weekend and since her mother is a major frog collector and as of late started collecting fairies, can you make a frog/fairy themed cake? I am not one for backing away from an opportunity to make an awesome cake plus I really love this family so, I said I would gladly do it. Now I am feeling some pressure. I want you to know that I finished this cake 30 minutes before the delivery. 

This is a 10" chocolate layer cake with vanilla butter cream frosting, the filling is strawberries and butter cream The frog body  is made from rice krispies and marshmallow which was covered in royal icing, then fondant. The legs are fondant as is the lily pad it is sitting on. The wings...were made from fondant but for some reason they did not get hard enough to stand up so, last minute I made them out of sculpy. There was no choice and they ended up looking fabulous. I inserted straws into the cake to support the weight of the frog.
The little frogs are made from white chocolate poured into a candy mold.
So, here is the story; The big frog who is also a fairy rules the pond. All the little frogs swimming to the surface are about to be made into  fairies and will then live to serve the big fairy frog. They all live happily ever after!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A Few Firsts

I have never made meringue butter cream, simply because I was afraid to. 
I had been baking all week and had two cakes to make at the end of a long week, both requiring butter cream frosting. I didn't have enough confectioners sugar and did not want to run to the store (twenty minutes there, twenty minutes back and you know how it is the supermarket...) because the clock was ticking away. I decided to make an Italian Meringue.  Why not take a chance and overcome a fear. I got the recipe from the book "Sugar Baby" by Gesine Bullock-Prado and followed the recipe to the "t". This recipe requires a lot of patience and determination. Everything that Gesine said would happen, did. It curdled, it fell apart but I kept on whipping it and I ended up with a lovely butter cream. I will have to double the recipe next time because I had barely enough to cover a three layer cake. Which brings me to my second first. Since I did not have enough butter cream, I decided to make lemon curd to fill the cake with. I checked the "Sugar Baby" book but did not have the organic agave nectar called for in the recipe, so I used Martha Stewart's recipe. It was so easy, what was I so afraid of? Perfectly tart!
All of the above was so I could make my mother a beautiful cake for her 79th birthday.
It was a 3 layer lemon cake, cannot remember where I got the recipe but it did have greek yogurt in it. The flowers are made of fondant (Duff's) and the flower centers are mini marshmallows that were cut in half. I thought they would stick because, well, marshmallow is sticky. Nope, they fell off so I had to make royal icing to glue them on with. Since there was not  enough Italian Meringue butter cream, I had to steal the regular butter cream from my other cake to do the piping with. I  have made this lemon cake a few times before and it was perfect, this time it was a little too dense, not sure what happened.