Saturday, July 01, 2006

Sarah's Cake

This was made for a sweet girly-girl ballerina who's turning nine. It might be hard to tell from this picture, but that's a tiny pair of pink ballet slippers pirouetting on top of the stage. The stage itself is a tiny (chocolate) cake perched on top of the main (chocolate) cake below, and has its mint green curtains drawn back to announce whose birthday it is!


SuperHolmie said...

Holy crap! Could you BE any more talented??

Will you explain what fondant is and how to make it? It looks really complicated and it is always a player in those Food Network cake competitions.

Kevin said...

Oh superholmie ... you crack me up.

Yes, I will explain.

Fondant is a combination of sugar, gelatin, corn syrup and water (aka, a diabetic coma waiting to happen). But hey -- there's ZERO trans-fats!!!

You can buy the stuff in a pretty box from Wilton, but it tastes like crap and is really expensive. (Good thing I'm not a Wilton instructor, or I'd be fired now.)

The pretty pink bow on Annie's Cake was made with Wilton fondant, during my period of utter naivete as to the ways of the world of fondant. Even the little KIDS at the birthday party hated the taste of the stuff. They did love the cake and frosting, however.

Anyway. I've since learned the ways of delicious fondant making, and it's incredibly easy.

1 bag of marshmallows (1 lb.)
1 bag of powdered sugar (2 lbs.)
2 TBSP water

Melt the marshmallows with the water in either a double boiler or microwave. I use the double boiler method 'cause I don't have a microwave -- but I think it takes a couple of minutes in the nuker. It might take 5 or 10 minutes on top of the stove.

Grease your mixing bowl. (I have a KitchenAid mixer with its own wonderful giant stainless steel bowl.) A portable hand-held mixer might be a bit stressed by the big job ahead of it here, but you can always give it a try. And some women who are far more talented than I, actually mix the stuff up by hand with a wooden spoon.

Into your greased (big) mixing bowl, pour half of the 2 lb bag of powdered sugar. Make a well in the middle of the sugar with a spoon. Pour all of the now-melted marshmallows into said well. Turn on the mixer or your biceps, and go to town.

You can add 1 TBSP vanilla and 1/2 tsp salt at this point if you wish. The vanilla rounds out the flavor, and the salt cuts the sweetness. But hey. This is marshmallows and sugar whizzed up together. How much can you really cut THAT sweetness?

Once that combo is well combined, either switch to the dough hook on your Kitchen Aid or gear up those biceps for even more heavy stirring, and add the rest of the 2 lb bag of sugar. Mix that together well, and you'll end up with a big pile of "sugar dough".

Really, it's exactly like the play-doh I used to make for my kids when they were little, except it's totally sweet and edible.

Dump the mass out onto a countertop that's been liberally dusted with cornstarch, and begin to knead it like you would bread dough. It should easily and quickly come into a nice silky form of "dough".

Coat this blob of dough with a thin film of Crisco (now that's where your trans-fats come in, but it's just a tiny amount and it's essential to silky, elastic fondant), wrap it tightly in plastic wrap, and let it "rest" for an hour or so.

Then ... use it just as you would play-doh.

You roll it out (on a thin film of either corn starch or powdered sugar) and flop it on top of a cake like you would a pie crust on top of a pie, or you can sculpt it into clever and creative little shapes and things and beings. You can do anything with it that you used to do with play-doh when you were a kid.

Oh and -- you can color it with any food-grade food coloring.

Does that help?

It truly is really easy once you get the hang of it -- but it's a pain in the butt and really NOT easy the first time you mess with it.

I've been a bit of an artistic/creative weirdo all my life, so that gives me an advantage -- but I saw what you did to your new bathroom, so I KNOW you have it in you!

There's more to explain about finessing the stuff onto a cake, so if you're interested in hearing more, I'll be happy to oblige.

SuperHolmie said...

Thanks! I have read your words twice and I keep getting caught up there at "2 lb bag of sugar".

I have just showed (shown?) my husband your cake pictures and he said, "Bad ass!"

There is no higher compliment in this house, believe me.

Thanks again!

Kevin said...

Wow! I got the Bad Ass Award? From a guy, yet? That is high praise, indeed.

Thanks, Shelly ;-)

SuperHolmie said...

Only to be superseded by the Holy Fuck award. LOL