Posts filed under: ‘Gumpaste‘




Sirius Black (Out) Cake

I’m a big Harry Potter Fan.  I didn’t start reading these books until recently.  I figured by the time the fifth movie came out that it was time to join the rest of the population. Little did I know what a guilty pleasure these books are.  The further I get in this series the more I’m aghast at just how huge J.K. Rowling’s imagination is.  

My favorite Character (I’m reading The Half Blood Prince currently) is Sirius Black.  I didn’t think it was possible to have a crush on a fictional story book character…it is.  (If you haven’t read the Potter books, stop reading this blog and go to the Library.  –Spoiler Alert) Sirius is a wrongly accused felon, escaped convict, member of the rebel organization Order of the Phoenix, general outlaw, and Harry’s Godfather.  Sirius is misunderstood, bruding, and the way Gary Oldman portrays him in the movies is just wonderful.

So here is a spin on a recipe straightout of my grandmother’s kitchen.  Black Out Cake was big in the 1950’s.  Traditionally this is a multi layered chocolate cake, covered in chocolate frosting with layers of chocolate pudding in between.  The signature mark of a Black Out Cake is the chocolate cake crumbs crushed against the sides of the cake.  I looked around, improvised and decided to just take license with the amount of chocolate in this recipe as I wanted this not to be just a Black out Cake, but a Sirius (seriously) blackout Cake.

Sirius Black (Out) Cake:

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 cup of milk

2 1/4 flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 c unsalted butter

1/4 shortening

2 cups sugar

3 eggs

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 bar bittersweet chocolate (ghiradelli is what I used.)

The bittersweet chocolate was not originally in this recipe.  Melt in a double boiler or like I did, place it in a oven safe bowl and pop it into your preheating oven (350 degrees).  It only takes a few minutes to start melting.  Take it out and stir and you’ll find you don’t have to have it completely melted in the oven, stirring it will finish the melting process. Remember its very easy to burn chocolate!!  Let the bitter sweet chocolate cool, but not harden.

Sift your dry ingredients: flour, soda, powder, salt.  Set aside.

Whisk together milk and cocoa.  The mixture will become a thick mousse like consistency.  Set aside.

Cocoa and Milk

Combine butter, shortening, and sugar until FLUFFY.  Trust me you’ll want to stop beating this at the crumbly stage, but mix until its legitamately FLUFFY.  Add one egg at a time, beating well after each egg.  Now add dry ingredients and milk ingredients alternating.  

By the way this is the classic process in making homemade spongey cake:  

1. Beat butter and sugar till fluffy.

2. Add one egg at a time

3. Alternate flour mix and milk, starting and ending with flour.  

Alright we are almost done.  Fold in the bittersweet chocolate, remember it shouldn’t be hot and it should still be a liquid consistency. 

Grease with butter or shortening then dust with thin layer of flour

Pour batter into two 8″ or 9″ round pans.  (butter and flour the pans) And cook for apprx 30 minutes.  The addition of the bittersweet chocolate makes this cake more like a brownie and more likely to dry out so make sure not to overcook.

Filling:

2/3 c white sugar

2 Tbsp cornstarch

1/4 tsp salt

1 1/2 c milk (2%)

1 tsp vanilla extract

3 oz. unsweetened chocolate OR 3 oz 100% cocoa ghiradelli chocolate. (Siriusly take license with the chocolate!)

Combine everything over low heat.  Increase heat  to medium, whisking constantly until pudding is boiling.  Remove from heat.  Place in a bowl with plastic wrap against surface of pudding so it doesn’t form a skin (eww pudding skin!).  Refridgerate until cool.

Make chocolate butter cream icing. (Ingredients: butter and /or shortening, vanilla extract, water, Unsweetened cocoa powder, powdered sugar.)There is a video with it if you forget how. Click Butter Cream on the side bar.

You’ll also want to make Ganache.  Ganache is semisweet chocolate and heavy cream.  I used 16oz. chocolate and 8oz. of cream, melted and whisked over low heat.  You can do a 1:1 ratio.  Ganache can be heated and used as a syrup, cooled slightly and piped, or spread like a frosting.  Its pretty awesome in terms of versatility.

OKAY.  So when your cake is cool slice each layer in half (horizontally).  Now you will have a 4 layer cake.  You could go as far as 3 times if your cake is thick enough. Pipe a ring of frosting around the bottom layer and fill in with pudding.  Stack the next layer and repeat.  Now frost the cake with butter cream and refrigerate.  Once the cake has “crusted” meaning you can touch the icing with your hand and it doesn’t stick, instead it is smooth and hard–has a layer of crust– you are ready to cover with ganache.

Its best to assemble this cake on a cardboard cake circle that is the exact same size– so an 8″ circle for an 8″ cake.  This will allow you to move the cake around, pour Ganache over it without messing up the board or plate you will ultimately display the cake on.  If by this point your ganache has hardened, reheat in the microwave, or over low heat or by placing in a bath of warm water.  Mix to assure that all the ganache is melted and smooth.

Place a tall sturdy cup on a large cookie sheet.  Place cake on top of cup.   You can now pour the ganache over the cake– be generous and just DUMP it!  push ganache toward the side with a long metal spatula.  Excess will drip onto cookie sheet, and you can reuse this extra on other cakes later.  Once cake is covered make one smooth pulling motion across the top of the cake to assure that the layer of ganache is even– this will also give you a smooth top.

Like I said Ganache can also be piped.  I added some black food coloring to my leftover ganache and placed in a piping bag and just swirled it all over the cake.  I was trying to imitate all the cool prison tattoos Sirius has.  I thought this was a bit cooler than crumbing the side.

4 comments November 20, 2009

World Series Won, Part Two

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Mariano Rivera in the Bull Pen

So when it comes to fondant there are a couple important rules.  First it dries out and you should always cover what you are not using with a thin layer of shortening and seal tightly with plastic wrap.

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Adding any geometric design to a cake will point out any flaws in a second. So make sure if you are adding fondant stripes, checkers, circles etc that you are starting with a level even cake!!  

Also understand your medium.  The cake is covered in fondant.  The pin stripes are  also made from fondant.  The delicate logo in the center is made from a mixture of fondant and gumpaste, ideally 50: 50 fondant and gum paste.  Fondant always covers cakes, never Gumpaste.  Delicate designs should always include gumpaste for strength. 

If you want those pin stripes to look right you need some good tools.  First a straight edge and a sharp blade.  DSCN0829

A rolling mat can help you place any stripes in an even fashion.  Don’t trust yourself with straight lines quite yet??  Here are a couple of ideas:

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As good as an Airbrush

Wilton makes a product called “Color Spray.”  Its an aerosol spray that replicates an air brush effect and can really help give a finishing touch to any cake, even just by adding some depth in color.  Notice the edge of the cake above.  I don’t recommend using the black color Spray– but experiment on your own.

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You can make a really dramatic look on your cake by swirling the color in your fondant.  This can be achieved in a couple ways.  First you can take white fondant and twist it with pre colored fondant, both of which you can find on craft store shelves.  For a more dramatic effect take white fondant and add some gel based food coloring.

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Wear gloves to ensure you don’t get this all over you hands.  Twist and kneed and roll out and your will have a Marbled effect in minutes.  End up looking like an stunt double for Papa Smurf??  Do a load of dirty dishes. It will take away all that dye in just a few minutes.  

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Add a comment November 7, 2009

Here comes the Bride

This past weekend I was in my friends wedding.  In fact I was the M.O.H.  Maid of Honor.  Sarah and I have been friends for along time  and I had joked for years about how I’d tell the story of how we met at her wedding, so its surreal that the day has actual come and past.

sarah's wedding 4

This dubious job of being MOH comes with many responsibilities including planning the bridal shower, bachelorette party, and holding the train of the gigantic dress up while the lady of the hour has to pee.  I’ll breifly paraphrase the toast i gave at the reception…aka the story of how we met. Ahem.

The first mutual memory Sarah and I have of each other is one fateful day during snack time in kindergarten.  Sarah wasn’t feeling good and puked purple grape juice all over my desk.  We’ve been friends ever since…

I’ll save all the tear jerky lines about how much I love both her and her new husband Sean and how the first impressions people make on us aren’t always important, and what makes someone special is that you can’t picture your life without them…sigh

There are more important things at weddings beside bathroom breaks and embarrassing stories…THE CAKE.

Sarah went with a popular trend in terms of wedding cakes.  A giant cup cake tower. With a miniature cake for the cutting ceremony.DSCN0574

Cupcake towers are great.  Your guests are far more inclined to partake, in a cupcake or two.  Sarah had a variety of flavors, from carrot cake to chocolate, with different custards and filling.  And her cake designer was even able to oblige in some non-dairy options, as the groom is lactose intolerant.  One more plug for vegan baking.  Its not just for strict vegetarian folks.  Sarah actually had some trouble finding someone who could pull off non-dairy.  To all those soon-to-be-Brides out there:  Do not be discouraged its pretty easy to make great cake non-dairy. And your groom will never know the difference as you are shoving it into his face…In this case the bride got a surprise handful to the mouth as seen in the scathing look below.DSCN0578I’ve come across a few horror stories from some other brides that the cake of their wedding day dreams wasn’t all it was cracked up to be.  Someone once told me during a class that she was promised beautiful gumpaste Hydreangias only to find out a day before her wedding that the decorator didn’t actually know how to make them!!!

Gumpaste is a lot like fondant.  It is edible but dries quicker and more solid than fondant.  Colored gumpaste tends to fade some what quickly so you should be aware and dye it a shade or two darker when using it.  Its most ideal for very thin petals and delicate flower designs.  In the case of Sarah’s cake she had Gerber daisies atop many of her cupcakes which match the decore as well as the bridal bouquets.  I wasn’t super impressed with the decorator’s flowers…but I suppose I’d built it up in my head– just what these daisies would look like.

Making flowers out of gumpaste is pretty simple.  If you totally suck at piping flowers you might find that making roses, daisies etc are quite easy when it come to gumpaste– its done mostly with cookie cutters. Hey as I say in class some of us are sculptors not painters.  Sugarcraft. com as well as Wilton.com offer a variety of cutters.  Here’s my take on Gerber Daisies using the Wilton daisy cutters.

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Below is one of the Wilton Daisy cutters available at Michael’s or just about any craft store with a cake decorating aisle.  For each daisy you’ll need to roll out gumpaste to 1/16 of an inch (really thin–not total see-thru but close to translucent).  And cut 2 large daisies and 2 medium daisies.

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Once you’ve cut the daisy blossoms use a balling/veining tool to thin the petals more. Place a blossom on thin shaping foam and run the balling tool from the edge of the petal to the center on the daisy.  The petals will curl in as you do this. Do this to all four blossoms cut.

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Now chop ’em up.  Run a pastry wheel, a small pizza cuter, along each petal making 3 small cuts in each petal.  The cuts don’t have to be clean, just impressions.

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Now glue all your blossoms together.  How you ask?  With gum glue–1/4 c warm water with 1/2 tsp of gumpaste dissolved in it. If you find you have hardened pieces of gumpaste along the edge of what you’re working with–this is ideal to dissolve for gum glue.  Typically one should let it stand for an hour.  Make some in advance and store it in the fridge for future projects.  Drop a little gum glue between each blossom with a paint brush and your set.  Let these flowers dry on flower formers–this is another Wilton Product.  Cutting paper cups in half and letting the blossoms dry in the concave shape produces the same effect if you don’t have Wilton flower formers on hand.

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I used piping gel mixed with a little chocolate syrup to pipe a donut shape in the center.  I sprinkled with pink and yellow colored sugar and then filled in the center with chocolate syrup.  If you what a realistic comparison to real Gerber Daisies just scroll up my page–they are the header on the back drop of this here blog.

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Find these instructions a little confusing or feeling like too much of a novice to do this on your own? Take a Wilton Fondant and Gum Paste Course (CHECK OUT THE NOVEMBER SCHEDULE PAGE) you’ll learn traditional Daisies, as well as Calalilies, and Carnations!

1 comment October 20, 2009

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