As I’ve mentioned in my last post….I LOVE MY KA MIXER!!! Seriously. It’s amazing. I get excited now when I get in the kitchen since now I feel invincible. I no longer need to do the cave-man style mixing nor will I have any more sprained finger muscles (yes, they do happen).
Seems Fall is birthday season and this time it’s for Madeline (aka: Maddy. You may remember her from my previous Cake Smash post! And thx Angela for the pics!!)
We came down to a jungle-animals-theme with the giraffe being the highlight! Since the focus color is yellow, we went for the tried-n-tested lemon blueberry cake with lemon buttercream frosting. After a bit of researching I came across SO many cute cakes with fondant animals….so CHALLENGE ACCEPTED.
Where to get fondant?! Seems the most convenient way is via bakery supplies store and most likely in the format of pre-packaged in a box. Since I just wasn’t really sure how long it’s been sitting there…that and I had time to spare, I went for the make-from-scratch route. Researching ensued again and I never even knew that there’s such thing as a marshmallow fondant! SO CUTE and just so happens I do have a steady supply of them in the pantry 🙂
My first batch was from allrecipes.com and interestingly enough it used butter instead of shortening and seems although there were mixed reviews, shortening was generally more preferably. Next day I went and bought some shortening (I’m a curious person) and did some testing using the same recipe, just swapping. Result? Both worked equally well but I liked the texture of the fondant from the shortening. It was more…stretchable and smooth, whereas the butter one tended to be harder to mold with. Also, I preferred adding no water as called for in the original recipe since it made it too sticky.
Marshmallow Fondant (adapted from Allrecipes.com)
Makes 2 ¼ lbs fondant
– ¼ cup butter or shortening
– 1 (16 ounce) package marshmallows (mini or full size are both okay)
– 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
– 2 lbs confectioner’s (icing) sugar, sifted, divided.
1. Put marshmallows in microwavable bowl. Add vanilla and shortening. Microwave on high for 30 seconds.
2. Stir the marshmallows to ensure there are no lumps. You may also add any food coloring you wish at this point, otherwise you can also knead the color into it after it is finished (although it will be harder and will require significant arm muscle!). Another option is to buy colored marshmallows, this way, you will not need an extra step.
3. Add half of your confectioner’s sugar. Using an electric mixer (I used my KA mixer), mix on medium. From there, you can just keep adding more sugar until the consistency is dough-like and no longer sticky.
4. Then take out the dough and flour a clean surface with confectioner’s sugar. Knead the dough to ensure everything it smoothed out. Then you are ready to start using it for molding (excellent for molding!) or covering a cake (I’ve not yet tried!). It was keeps well in the fridge for a couple weeks. Just make sure you take it out and let is sit in room temperature for 20 minutes or so before using.
For the frosting of the cakes, I used Sweetpolita’s Zesty Lemon Frosting recipe since although I like the texture of buttercream for piping, for the cake taste itself, I prefer a lighter frosting:
Zesty Lemon Frosting (Source: Sweetpolita)
Recipe makes enough to frost three 9” layers
– 1 cup soft unsalted butter
– 2 teaspoons lemon zest
– 5 cups icing sugar (or 6 cups for sweeter version)
– 45 ml fresh lemon juice
– 6 tablespoons whipping cream (35% cream)
– ½ teaspoon pure lemon extract (I used vanilla extract! Was out of lemon!)
– Pinch of salt
– Drop of yellow gel coloring (optional)
– Cream butter and lemon zest in bowl of electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment for about 3 minutes. Slowly add icing sugar, mixing on low speed for about 2 minutes. Add remaining ingredients and beat on med-high for 3-4 minutes until very fluffy. If using color gel, add a drop or two (until ideal color achieved), then beat until blended.
Next I whipped up some vanilla buttercream dyed green to pipe on the bottom and top trim around the cake.
1. Frost and stack the three layers. Then do the crumb coat: Spread a thin coat of frosting on top and sides (doesn’t have to be pretty) and put it in the fridge for 30 minutes. This is just the foundation so that your next layer can be “crumb free” and smoother.
2. Spread another layer of frosting and smooth with an offset spatula.
3. Put green vanilla buttercream into a piping bag and use your choice of tip to pipe around the cake or any other way you want!
4. Put on the fondant animals each facing outwards leaving and attach your palm tree (I followed these instructions!) in the middle.
To top the party theme off, I baked some chocolate cupcakes using a very simple recipe since I was short of time! 1 box chocolate cake mix + 1 can of coke. The coke pretty much substitutes the eggs, water and oil originally called for and the result? A SUPER MOIST and light cupcake!! If you are using vanilla cake mix, you can always change it to Sprite. Next I piped some grass on top (this tutorial is great! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Un9YV5tjog4) and viola J