First Birthday

Well, I was all set for Vivian’s first birthday party on August 10, but due to typical one year old circumstances, it was postponed until today, August 25. This offered no problems, rather a whole new opportunity to perfect (maybe too strong a word) a mermaid themed birthday cake for Vivian.

The cake was comprised of two 12″ round merengue white cake layers and three 9″ chocolate layers. Each were crumb coated and refrigerated. Meanwhile, I made marshmallow fondant and colored portions a shades of “ocean green” colors. The entire 3 layer chocolate and 2 layer vanilla cakes were covered with fondant.Then used some of it to punch out circular “scales.”

A variety of sea “creatures” were molded from both chocolate, white chocolate (tinted pink) and gum paste. The purple “sea weed” was made from gum paste and stored at room temperature in an airtight container. These were actually made over a month ago and were fine to use today. The chocolate sea creatures were made three weeks ago and stored in the fridge.

The cakes were stacked this morning and the “sea creatures” and mermaid tails were attached using Dab-And-Hold edible adhesive.

My critique: the design and execution was good. The chocolate cake was outstanding, the meringue white cake tasted good, but was a bit dry. I am still looking for an acceptable recipe. Marshmallow fondant is too sweet, but the little figurines need to be a fixed to a smooth surface. I may give rolled buttercream next. I also found a recipe where I can substitute the cocoa ingredients to create a vanilla cake with similar crumb and moisture to my chocolate cake recipe. More experimentation!!

Extreme Chocolate Cake

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup dark unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. Grease and flour the two Wilton 3D Egg cake pans. 
  3. Use the first set of ingredients to make the cake.
  4. In a medium bowl, stir together the sugar, flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
  5. Add the eggs, milk, oil and vanilla, mix for 3 minutes with an electric mixer.
  6. Stir in the boiling water by hand.

Meringue White Cake

INGREDIENTS

• 1 cup butter (softened)
• 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
• 3 cups cake flour* (345 grams spooned & measured carefully)
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 2 teaspoons baking powder
• 1 cup milk (2% milkfat)
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 3/4 cup egg whites plus 3 tablespoons (160 g)

METHOD

  1. Using a stand mixer, beat the egg whites with the whisk attachment until they are stiff and form peaks. This may take a minute or two. Pour the egg whites into another bowl and place them in the refrigerator until you’re ready to add them to the batter.
  2. Using the same bowl that you used to beat the egg whites, place the softened butter in and cream the butter for about 2 minutes (using the beater blade attachmenuntil it is white in appearance.
  3. Add the sugar to the butter and beat until fluffy (about another 1-2 minutes).
  4. In a small bowl, combine the flour (measured carefully*), salt and baking powder. Set aside.
  5. In another bowl, combine the milk and vanilla extract.
  6. Add the flour mixture to the butter/sugar mixture alternately with the milk.
  7. Add the stiffly beaten eggs to the cake batter. Fold the egg whites in gently. Do not overmix at this point. If you do, your cake will become more dense.
  8. Grease and flour 2 9″ round cake pans. Pour the cake batter equally into the prepared cake pans.
  9. Bake the cakes at 350 degrees for 25-27 minutes or until the top bounces back when you touch it.
  10. Allow the cakes to cool for 10 minutes, then loosen the edges and remove them from the pans to a wire rack, allowing them to cool completely.

Marshmallow Fondant

INGREDIENTS

  • 500 g marshmallows
  • 1000 g confectioners sugar
  • 1 tsp white vanilla
  • 2-3 Tbl water

METHOD

  1. Grease (well with Crisco or equivalent) a heat proof microwavable bowl
  2. Place marshmallow in the bowl and sprinkle 2-3 Tbl water over the marshmallows
  3. Heat in a microwave in 30 second increments until the marshmallow is melted and smooth. Don’t overcook and burn.
  4. Grease (well) dough hook and stand mixer bowl and add melted marshmallow.
  5. Add confectioners sugar a cup at a time and stir on medium until incorporated.
  6. Add the vanilla during one of the sugar additions.
  7. Reserve about a cup of sugar to use during hand kneading
  8. Grease (well) your workspace and hands and turn the fondant out.
  9. Cover with sugar and begin kneading, adding more sugar as necessary until the fondant is smooth and not sticky.
  10. Use a greased rolling pin and roll the fondant out to required size. For this cake I rolled it out to about 24″ x 24″. Once kneaded and no longer sticky I folded it into quarters to make it easy to pick up and drape over the cake. Be careful. If not adequately kneaded, it will tear.


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