Saturday, 17 March 2012

Somewhere Over the Rainbow

This weeks cake was a 1st Birthday cake that also fell on St Patrick's Day - hence the request for something soft and sweet combined with a little bit of the Blarney in the form of our lovely little Leprechaun.

The cake was a GF white chocolate mud cake covered in a white chocolate ganache then covered with tinted blue fondant.

Large white fluffy clouds were piped from royal icing and also used to secure the rainbow which was made separately from rolled fondant and dried to become rigid.  I had originally made another rainbow that was made from ribbons of colour but it proved to fragile to withstand being raised and held in the rainbow so I had to revert to the less crisp rolled 'ropes' of fondant to provide more structure to the arch.

The Leprechaun himself was made entirely from tinted fondant with the arms and legs secured with royal icing the day before delivery.

The one thing I am most disappointed with in this cake was the lettering in the name.  I did a test run on the piping of the name and thought all was good to go, but the heat conspired against me and we got a bit of seepage making it less crisp than it started out.

I hope the party was a success and this is only the first of many many wonderful birthdays to come for this beautiful little girl.


Thursday, 1 March 2012

Spongebob and the Best White Chocolate Buttercream Icing Ever!

OK he's pretty cool right ?

I am loving how well this cake has turned out.  The simple design and bright clear colours really just jump right out at you.  The cake is for a 10th Birthday for a girl with a Spongebob obsession...I find it quite funny.

Spongebob has been created from a sponge - quite literally.  There were a number of challenges with this cake.  As the cake they wanted was a sponge cake it had to be made very close to the delivery day to ensure freshness.  I did not want to refrigerate the cake as once warmed up it would go stale faster than if it had not been chilled.

I felt a ganache was too heavy a thing to add to a sponge so I went with a white chocolate buttercream to seal the cake and create the base for the fondant.  This was just divine - but by its nature the buttercream of course has butter and chocolate in it and it has been incredibly hot and humid here this week.  I did not want the buttercream to slide off the cake nor go bad in the heat so I have had the a/c cranking for 2 days now.

Yesterday was wo-to-go day.  Cake from baked to partially decorated all in one day and not the way I prefer to work at all especially when the temp is hitting 35 degrees at my place!

Firstly I made a double mix of a basic sponge cake and baked it in a large sheet cake tin for about 50 minutes then cooled and turned it out.  When it was cool I cut out the template I had made for the cake and then carved the cake with a very sharp knife.  I was surprised how well the fresh cooked sponge cut and held as usually I work with chilled mudcakes.

OK - I had the basics now.  It was time to make the White Chocolate Buttercream.  I would need double the amount required to ice a dozen or so cupcakes so I doubled my recipe and this is what I used.  It was enough to place a buttercream in the middle of the sponge and also all over the cake with a little left over - perfect for the family to snack on with the sponge cut-offs...  Here is the recipe:  

White Choc Buttercream (double quantity recipe)
300g White Cooking Chocolate
220g Unsalted Butter (at room temperature)
440g Icing Sugar (Confectioners Sugar)
1tsp Vanilla Paste
2 tsp Vanilla Extract

Cream together using an electric mixer, the butter and half of the icing sugar, then gradually add the remaining icing sugar until all incorporated.

Melt your White chocolate - carefully as it has a tendency to 'sieze'.  I do mine in the microwave for about 2 minutes or so at 60% power but a double boiler method is pretty failsafe.
When choc is melted I stirred thru the Vanilla paste into the choc to really bring out a vanilla flavour.

Using the electric mixer, add the white choc and the Vanilla Essence to the bowl and mix until combined.  If it looks too stiff add a touch of milk and mix it through to loosen it.  If it is too 'loose' pop it in the fridge until it reaches the consistency you are after.

Enjoy !

I applied the buttercream as a 'sandwich' layer in the sponge by halving it and layering in the cream to give added moisture and flavour, before totally covering the cake in buttercream.

I had tinted all the fondants I would need the day before so I was now ready to go.  I had also already covered the cake board with blue fondant ready for the cake.  It was hotting up bigtime outside and I wanted to get this buttercream covered as quick as I could.  On with the yellow Spongebob 'skin' and worked with the already carved dents to create the sponge ripples and dents.

Then it was time to get moving with all the finer details... another progress pic below

He was getting there and the workable part of the day was lost to the heat.   cranked the ac in one of the bedrooms and moved Spongey in there to happily spend the night.

I completed the remaining pieces of the cake this morning and delivered the cake.  I hope Mia and her friends love it and enjoy eating it as much as I enjoyed creating it for her.