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Sunday, June 02, 2013

Paint Splatter Cake


After seeing a number of paint splatter cakes on Pinterest and other cake decorating sites, I knew I just had to make one.

After reading various instructions and tutorials, all I was able to gather was that you just "fling" the "paint" at the cake and that you have a big mess to clean up afterward. One video tutorial was particularly dramatic with the decorator flinging a fork full of icing from about five feet away! I knew there had to be a better way and so I started to investigate the options.

There are two mediums you can use for the "paint" - melting chocolate (candy melts) and royal icing. Actually there is a third - one person suggested just throwing food colouring or colour gel at the cake. Umm ... yuck!

Chocolate candy melts come in a variety of colours, so there is no need to mess around with food colouring or colour pastes/gels. But, on the other hand, the colours are somewhat limited. Also on the con side, if the least bit of moisture gets into your chocolate, it will seize up and hence not become "flingable".

The royal icing colours are limited only by what colours you can find and/or mix together. Both Americolor and Duff have a line of neon colours called Electric Blue, Electric Purple etc. that would just "pop" on a black fondant-covered cake. With royal icing, you have to get just the right consistency - too runny and the icing would drip off and pool on the base; too firm and you would end up with big blobs and no splatter.

I decided on the chocolate/candy melt process and to just drizzle rather than fling - it just seemed like it would be easier and less messy. Here is a step-by-step little tutorial:

Start with a chilled black fondant-covered cake. Don't even worry about getting every little wrinkle or air bubble out of the fondant because a little paint drizzle will cover any imperfections. That's what makes this cake a great choice if you are short on time or if you are new to cake decorating.

Next, cover your counter with a large piece of plastic and place the cake on a turntable on top of the plastic. If you don't have a turntable, you may want to tape your plastic sheet down so you don't have to keep rearranging it as you move the cake around.

Then, melt your chocolate candy melts in small bowls in the microwave. Start with 30 seconds, then check and stir, then another 10 - 15 seconds depending on how many melts you are using and the wattage of your microwave. As a rough guide, this 8" round, 4 high cake took about 10 or 12 melts of each colour .

Using a small spoon, stir the candy until thoroughly melted and smooth. If any of your colours seize, simply add a little bit of vegetable oil and stir until smooth. The more liquid the chocolate the finer your paint splatter will be.

Drizzle the first colour of chocolate from the spoon to the top of the cake. Because the cake is cold, the chocolate will set quickly.

Then, holding the cake up on a bit of an angle, drizzle a little bit down the sides (turning the cake at intervals to get the entire cake drizzled).

Continue with the rest of the coloured chocolate, making sure that it is still liquid enough to drizzle. If not, return to microwave for a few seconds. (I learned this the hard way. There are more "blobs" on my cake than I cared to have and that is because my chocolate was cooling off.)



As you can see, in the end there really wasn't much mess. I just folded up the plastic and threw it away! I  intend to try the royal icing method next and will update this post after I do.


Sunday, March 17, 2013

Chocolate Covered Oreos using Spinning Leaf Cookie Molds


If you love chocolate covered Oreos (who doesn't), and you have not yet discovered Spinning Leaf, you are really missing out. They offer a variety of cookie molds (seasonal, sports, baby ... you name it) that are designed to accommodate Double Stuff Oreos .

I have used other molds that barely allow for coverage of a regular Oreo. But the molds from Spinning Leaf are strong, sturdy, and deep enough that the cookie can be completely covered with chocolate or with candy melts.

I find the candy melts work best as the real chocolate has to be tempered. If it isn't tempered, it will only look good when it first comes out of the mold, but will soon look dull and pitted. The candy melts come in a great variety of colours and can be bought at either a bulk food store or at a craft store like Michael's or Hobby Lobby. I often mix two different colours to get the exact shade I want. They pop out of the mold with a nice shiny finish. 

Easter Egg Cookies with a little Pearl Lustre Spray for a little extra sparkle.

Most of the molds come with 6 cavities. Since people often wonder how much chocolate/candy melt they need, I did calculate it for the Easter Egg mold cookies (as shown). I used 6 double stuffed Oreos that weighed 92 grams. The 6 cookies, when finished, weighed 264 grams, so that means I used 172 grams, or a little over 1/3 of a pound of candy melts and chocolate for each half-dozen. (I knew that arithmetic would come in handy one day!)

There is a great tutorial on the Spinning Leaf website. I urge you to check it out.



Thursday, March 14, 2013

Easter Cadbury Creme Egg Cupcakes


Inspired by the many different pins on Pinterest, but not liking the sound of a regular vanilla buttercream, I came up with this version. I wanted a frosting to be a little more in keeping with the centre of a Cadbury Egg. It has been a hit here!

So, we have a Chocolate Cupcake with an Easter Creme Egg baked inside, topped with a fluffy Marshmallow Frosting. The dollop of yellow frosting on top is a sweet, buttery, vanilla custard flavour similar to the centre layer of a Nanaimo Bar. 

Makes 12 Cupcakes


Ingredients:

1/2 box chocolate cake mix plus applicable ingredients (i.e: 1/2  the amount of oil, 1/2 the eggs, etc.) (or use your own favourite chocolate cupcake recipe)
24 Cadbury Easter Creme Eggs

Marshmallow Frosting

1 cup butter (room temperature)
1 7 oz jar of marshmallow creme (Fluff)
2 cups confectioners' sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Nanaimo Frosting

1 cup butter (room temperature)
3 Tbsp milk
2 Tbsp vanilla custard powder (Harry Horne's or Bird's)
2 cups confectioners' sugar

Directions:

Unwrap and freeze 12 of the Easter Creme Eggs. Unwrap the other 12 and set aside.

Cupcake – Mix ingredients for cupcakes and fill cupcake wrappers just under 2/3 full. Bake as per instructions, but at the halfway point, pull the cupcakes out of the oven and place a frozen egg on each one, pushing down gently. The egg doesn’t need to be covered at this point, as the cupcake will continue to rise and bake around it. Place cupcakes back in the oven until finished baking. Remove, cool in pan for 5 minutes and then place on a rack to cool. (Make sure they are completely cool before decorating)

Marshmallow Frosting – Whip butter with mixer until soft. Add marshmallow creme and vanilla. Whip for about 2 minutes. Add confectioners’ sugar and mix on medium speed for about 2 minutes or until all sugar is incorporated. Cover and set aside.

Nanaimo Frosting – Whip butter until soft. Meanwhile, mix custard powder with milk. Add to butter. Whip until blended. I find it never completely mixes together (or maybe I’m just impatient) but that’s okay. Add confectioners’ sugar and mix on medium speed for about 2 minutes. Cover and set aside.

To Decorate – Using a piping bag fitted with a #809 tip (or other round tip), pipe marshmallow frosting on cooled cupcakes. Then using the same tip, pipe a smaller circle of Nanaimo frosting in the centre of the cupcake. Place an unwrapped Easter Creme Egg on top. Keep the cupcakes cool until the frostings set. (I placed mine in the fridge for about 20 minutes)





Sunday, February 24, 2013

Easter Bunny Cupcake Toppers

Easter Bunny fondant cupcake toppers

I created these fondant cupcake toppers with my granddaughter in mind. I can't wait to show her! I can just hear her calling them "Bunny Butts" and then howling with laughter until her mommy gives her a gentle reprimand.

These toppers are easy to make and can be done ahead of time. Easter morning, just place a swirl of icing on your cupcakes and place the "Bunny Butts" on top.

You'll need:
  • a 2" scalloped pastry cutter
  • a black FoodWriter (edible ink)
  • a #2 or a #3 decorating tip
  • some white nonpareils
  • fondant
  • gumpaste or tylose powder
  • colour pastes
  • cornstarch 
  • water
  • small paint brush


1. Start by colouring your fondant with paste colours. The purple fondant is then mixed with tylose powder (or mixed 50/50 with gumpaste), so that it dries into a nice hard disc and will keep its shape a bit longer after being place on top of the cupcake.

2. Roll your purple fondant mixture to 1/16th of an inch thick. Cut discs with scalloped pastry cutter and place on a cookie sheet that has been lightly dusted with cornstarch.

3. Once all the discs are cut, go back to the first one and with the decorator tip, press down firmly on a 90 degree angle next to each scallop. The fondant should attach itself to the tip and continue to as you go around the edge. Just pull out the fondant out of the centre of your tip before moving on to the next disc.

4. Using your white fondant roll a ball for the bunny's butt (about 5 grams worth of fondant). Gently flatten with your hand. Moisten with a tiny bit of water and attach it to the disc.

5. To make the feet, use two small pieces of fondant and roll into an oval. Each should be about the same size and shape as a TicTac. Gently flatten with your hand into an oval disc. Take little tiny pieces of pink fondant and roll into little balls. Place three on each foot and press gently into fondant which will flatten them somewhat. (Note: this is the most diddly part of this whole exercise. If you can find very small pink edible pearls, they might just work too.) Attach feet using a tiny dab of water.

6. For the tail, roll a piece of fondant into a small ball. Using a brush dipped in water, moisten the entire ball. Place ball into nonpareils so that they cover about three-quarters of the ball. Lift out and then gently press the side without the nonpareils onto the bunny's butt. That's it!

Happy Easter!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Vintage Cupcakes

I just wanted to share my excitement over these cute little vintage-looking cupcake wrappers.

They are stand alone so don't require a muffin tin for baking - just place them on a cookie sheet, fill, and pop them in the oven.

I discovered them at Winners and I've also seen them at Home Sense.

Cup of tea and a cupcake anyone?