Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Monkeying Around with Fondant and Cake

So just days after my first party cake, I had another cake to make. This time, it was for a 1 year old boy's birthday. And the request was a chocolate cake. Other than that, I received no other instruction. I was free to do what I wanted.

I liked this assignment.

I immediately thought I wanted to try fondant since I hadn't had the opportunity to make it or use it yet.Then I had to come up with what to decorate on the fondant, and for some reason, I got stuck on the idea of a monkey.

So I looked up cartoon monkeys, and found this adorable picture here.
And I knew I had to do a monkey.

I decided to not cover the whole cake in fondant, but to do just the monkey decoration, big on the top.

The order was a quarter sheet, so I did a double batch of the following chocolate cake recipe that I found here. I'll put it at the end of the post.

And I filled it with a chocolate mousse, which I also doubled, and found here. Recipe's at the end.

And then I covered it with a chocolate ganache that I made up. It wasn't the best because I didn't get it very smooth, but it tasted alright, and once the monkey face was on it, you didn't really care.

So, you might be asking, where's the monkey? There it is!

I thought this was pretty close to what it looked like. What do you think?

I also made a "smash cake" for the one-year old, which you can see in the upper left hand corner. I tried to take pictures of it, too, but I was rushed and they came out blurry.

The client came earlier than he had anticipated getting there, so I didn't have much time to take pictures or try to fix flaws. I noticed later than there was some cornstarch that needed to be wiped off on the edge. I rolled the fondant a little thick, I think. But I was unsure how thin it could be and still transfer easily to the cake.

If you are wanting to try to make your own fondant, I suggest the tutorial found here. It helped me a lot.

And now for the recipes.

Beatty's Chocolate Cake
by Ina Garten

butter, for greasing pans
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour, plus more for pans

2 cups sugar

3/4 cup good cocoa powder

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup buttermilk, shaken

1/2 cup vegetable oil

2 extra large eggs, at room temperature

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee

Preheat oven to 350F. Butter 2 (8 inch) round cake pans. Line with parchment paper, butter again and flour both pans.

Sift and combine flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt in large bowl. In a medium bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs and vanilla. With a mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to dry. With mixer still on low, add the coffee and stir just to combine, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula.

Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool in the pans for 30 minutes, then turn them out onto a cooling rack and cool completely. (In the quarter sheet pan, I believe it took about 40-50 for the double batch.)

Chocolate Mousse
1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
1 tablespoon cold water
2 tablespoons boiling water
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup HERSHEY'S Cocoa
1 cup (1/2 pt.) cold whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Sprinkle gelatin over cold water in small cup; let stand 1 minute to soften. Add boiling water; stir until gelatin is completely dissolved. Cool slightly.

2. Stir together sugar and cocoa in medium bowl; add whipping cream and vanilla. Beat on medium speed of mixer, scraping bottom of bowl occasionally, until mixture is stiff. Pour in gelatin mixture; beat until well blended. Store in the refrigerator to set.


Kurt N. said...

How do you like the flavor of the fondant? I've heard that some people don't care for it, which is why they stick to buttercream.

Christina and Jacob said...

This fondant is made out of marshmallows which people say tastes better than other versions, but I've never had other versions. Buttercream is better though; you can't beat a real icing. But fondant makes neat decorations.