Its Raining Babies!

Its Raining Babies!

Is it just me, or is there another baby boom? I guess the economy is making people stay at home more and babies are resulting from all of the forced homebodies! :P Could that be it? My dearest friend Lisa, my BFF since I was 14 years old, is having a baby and I offered to make the baby shower cake. Their little boy will be named Justin, so I made blocks of cake with his name on the blocks. Congratulations Lisa & Jack… Can’t wait to meet the little guy!

As usual… I decided to try all new recipes for the cake. Yeah, that’s how I roll. Luckily everything turned out great, except the serving platter. I had the perfect one in mind, but it ended up being too small to hold all of the cakes. Since we had a long wedding the day before, it wasn’t even an option to find another platter to display the cake. Then I had the great idea to display each individual cake on its own square plate. However, I only had 5 square plates and needed 6…. Vat to do… vat to do? So I had to get creative and turned a half sheet pan upside down and covered it with aluminum foil… It would have been better if I had covered the pan with fondant, but I didn’t have enough left over to do so. Looked sort of like lipstick on a pig… :P

This was also my opportunity to try marshmallow fondant. I’ve seen it floating around the blogosphere lately and due to the raves, was looking for an excuse to try it. I used the recipe from Confections of a Foodie Bride, (find recipe here) and was VERY pleased with the result. It looked and acted just like fondant, but was NOT nasty! Greeeeat success! It was very pliable and flexible. I rolled it out quite thin and had absolutely no problems. I will NEVER use store bought fondant again!!! Of course, it is painfully sweet (literally… I have very sensitive teeth), but definitely edible.

Butter Cake Recipe
(Adapted from the Wilton website)

1 ½ c butter, room temperature
2 ½ c granulated sugar
5 eggs, room temperature
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
¾ tsp almond extract
3 c all-purpose flour
¾ tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 c milk, room temperature

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter 1/2 sheet pan (18″ x 13″) and line bottom with parchment.

2. In mixer bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Mix in vanilla and almond flavor. Mix flour with baking powder and salt. Add flour mixture alternately with milk, starting with the flour; mix well. Pour into prepared pan.

3. Cool 10 minutes in pan. Loosen sides and remove. Cool completely before decorating.

Makes about 7 1/2 cups cake batter, which was perfect for a 1/2 sheet pan. 20 servings.

Swiss Buttercream Recipe
4 lg. egg whites
¾ c sugar
1 ½ c, 3 sticks, unsalted butter, softened
1-2 tbspliqueur of your choice (optional)
1 tsp. vanilla

1. Place the egg whites in a lg/ bowl of a electric mixer and beat with the whisk attachment until the whites are foamy and they begin to thicken (just before the soft peak stage). Set the bowl over a saucepan filled with about 2 inches of simmering water, making sure the bowl is not touching the water. Then, whisk in the sugar by adding 1-2 tablespoon of sugar at a time over a minutes time.

2. Continue beating 2-3 minutes or until the whites are warm (about 120 degrees) and the sugar is dissolved. The mixture should look thick and like whipped marshmallows. Remove from pan and with either the paddle or whisk attachment, beat the egg whites and sugar on med-high until its a thick, cool meringue, about 5-7 minutes. Set aside.

3. On med-low speed, blend the butter into the meringue, about 2 Tbsp. at a time, over 1 minute. Add the liqueur and vanilla and mix for 30-45 seconds longer, until thick and creamy.

Refrigerate 10-15 minutes before using.

Marshmallow Fondant Recipe
Marshmallow Fondant
16 oz bag plain marshmallows (the small ones, not the jumbo ones)
2 Tbsp water
shortening, for greasing bowls
1-2 tsp flavoring
2 lb confectioner’s sugar, divided
pinch of salt

1. Grease a microwave safe bowl, a spoon, the dough hook, and the bowl of your stand mixer with shortening (grease it well). Place the marshmallows and water in the greased microwave-safe bowl and microwave for 60 seconds. Stir with the greased spoon. If all the marshmallows have not melted, microwave for 30 seconds more. Stir in flavoring.

2. Place confectioner’s sugar and salt in the stand mixer bowl, reserving 1 cup, and make a well in the center. Pour in the marshmallow mix and turn the mixer on to the lowest setting. When it sounds strained, increase the mixer speed up one setting. Turn off the mixer once all sugar has been incorporated. If the fondant is sticky, add the reserved confectioner’s sugar 1/4 cup at a time.

3. Turn fondant out onto plastic wrap. Rub a bit of shortening on the outside of the ball. Wrap in plastic wrap, place in a ziploc bag, and let rest for at least 2-3 hours. Keep unused portions covered when not using. If the fondant becomes stiff, place in microwave for 20 seconds at a time until pliable.

4. Roll out on a greased mat/fondant circle to the desired thickness.

Simple Syrup Recipe
1/2 c water
1/2 c sugar
1 tbsp flavoring (liquor, vanilla extract, almond extractetc…)

1. Combine all ingredients in a microwave safe bowl. Heat for 2-3 minutes on high until very hot. Stir to dissolve the sugar. Let cool.

Cake Assembly
1 half sheet pan of cake
1 recipe of simple syrup
1/2 c strawberry or seedless raspberryjam
double recipe of buttercream
1 recipe of marshmallow fondant

1. Cut the half sheet of cake in half to make two rectangles, 9 x 13 each. Place one half on a piece of cardboard. Using a squeeze bottle or pastry brush, moisten the layer with simple syrup. Use about 1/4 cup or so. With an offset spatula, spread thejam on top of the layer, leaving 1/2 inch around the border.

2. Spread about1 cup of buttercream on top of the jam layer, again leaving a1/2 inch border. Top with the other half of cake. Moisten with the simple syrup. Trim off the edges of the cake to make it perfectly straight. Now cut into individual cakes, about 3 1/2 inches square.

3. Place each square on cardboard and coat with a thin layer of buttercream. I prefer to mask the cakes first with a thin layer of buttercream and refrigerate until set. Then I put a thicker layer, about 1/4 inch on all sides. Try to make as straight as possible so the final cakes will be very square and straight. Refrigerate again until set.

4. Knead the fondant on a shortening coated counter until pliable and color as desired with food coloring paste. A little goes a long way, so only add a drop or so at a time and knead to distribute the color. Roll out to 1/8 -1/4 inch thickness and carefully cover each individual cake. Smooth out the sides as best you can.

5. Color small portions with assorted colors and roll out 1/8 inch. Cut letters with cookie cutters and carefully pick up with a small knife or offset spatula. Moisten the area you want to place the letter with a drop of water and gently place the letter and press down lightly to adhere. Repeat with the remainder of the cakes.

Note: I stored the extra fondant covered cake in the refrigerator, and the marshmallow fondant did not deteriorate like the storebought stuff.