Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween - Death by Chocolate Edition

Boo!!     Halloween really snuck up on me this year.  I had intended to remake the devils horns that broke when we moved as I still have the pointy tail and together, they make a quick and easy costume.  No such luck.  I did sit down with hubby one night this past week though and we made skulls and bones!  I still had some fondant from the Eddie birthday cake and I hate to let anything go to waste, so we sat together for about an hour and a half and fashioned these little guys:

I decided to do a chocolate on chocolate cupcake with the pile of bones on top to take to work for Halloween day.  Never one to let well enough alone, I decided that the cupcakes needed tombstones.  My very patient husband helped me design a cupcake topper that made these wee desserts seriously cute.

I am thinking that if we do something similar next year, I'd like to model the bones with white chocolate modelling clay.  This way, they would be seriously yummy to eat on their own.  Although several people at work thought these were quite tasty.  I assume that's because the fondant was mixed with homemade marshmallow fondant that I had made, but then realized I didn't have enough and had to mix with the Wilton stuff.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Plaid Birthday Cake for Work

This saturday was a huge sale at work.  Our company is now hugely respectful of its own history so Eddie Bauer's Birthday - he would have been 111, were he with us - was cause for celebration.  We had a potluck lunch and as it was a birthday, I knew I would have to make a cake.
KDavidClark on Flickr
The signature plaid seemed to be the obvious choice, but plaid seemed like quite an undertaking.  By simplifying the design and getting a lot of help tinting the fondant from my patient husband, I turned out better than I anticipated

The bottom 8" square cake is Devil's Food with a chocolate buttercream and some raspberry preserves.  It was done dairy-free so that all my co-workers could enjoy a piece.  No need to settle for a dry grocery store slab cake when I'm happy to make you what you want.

Devil's Food Cake
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 cup hot, strong coffee
1/2 vegetable shortening
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla 
1 1/2 cake flour
3/4 tsp salt 
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
Preheat oven to 350*.  Grease and flour two 8"round or 1 8"x3" square cake pans.  Combine cocoa and coffee in a small bowl, mixing well.  Put shortening, sugar, eggs, and vanilla in large mixing bowl and beat for a minute until light and fluffy.  Sift together flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda.  Add the cocoa mixture alternately with flour mixture in three parts, beating well after each addition and ending with dry.
Pour batter into pans, smooth tops.  Bake 25mins for 8' round pans and 45-50 for square - test with toothpick inserted in centre - it should come out clean or with a few crumbs on it.  The cake should be slightly fudgy so try not to over bake.  Let cool on racks for 10-15 mins before turning out onto cooling racks.  

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Recipe: London Fog Cupcakes

London Fog Cupcakes

2/3 cup Milk
3 Earl Grey tea bags
2 eggs
2 yolks
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/3 cups flour
1 cup sugar
2 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature

Preheat oven to 350*.  Place liners in 12 muffin cups.  In a small saucepan, simmer the milk over medium heat.  Add tea bags, remove from the heat and allow to steep for 5 minutes. Remove the bags and squeeze out the remaining milk. Let the milk cool completely. In a medium bowl, combine the eggs, yolks, vanilla and half of the Earl Grey milk. In the bowl of a mixer sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Beat on low for about 30 seconds, then add the butter and remaining milk. Mix on medium low speed until light and fluffy. Next, add the egg mixture in three additions, making sure to scrape the bowl well after each. Divide the batter among the cupcake tins, and bake for 15 - 20 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Allow the cupcakes to cool completely.

2 cups 35% cream, cold
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup icing sugar*

Beat until stiff enough to pipe onto cool cupcakes.  Sprinkle with cinnamon.

* I used a little less ( 1 tablespoon maybe?) as I was in a 'less sweet' mood.