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Monday, March 30, 2015

A Little Girl's Baby Shower(chocolate-chocolate-chocolate!)

Baby showers are so fun! But I simply detest cakes shaped to look like babies...it just feels so gross and macabre. Better to celebrate with some well-done and fanciful cakes with easy-to-do techniques. Honestly, this is not hard, and yes, you can do this!

Pictured above is a 4-layer chocolate cake with Italian buttercream(I should note that this isn't the recipe I used, it is a great stand-by) with Devil's Food cupcakes and whipped ganache frosting.

See? Just spray-painted, basically
This ombre technique is easy to achieve using this stuff called "Wilton Color Mist" and a cake turntable. Simple spin the cake and spray, going heavier(obviously) at the bottom and lighter on the top. It achieves that breathtaking look without having to mix a bajillion different icing colors.

The frosting on the cupcakes was simply a freshly-made ganache that's whipped using the paddle attachment in the standing mixer. Ganache is miraculous, and has a fabulous array of uses, one of which can be frosting. It produces a very rich-yet-light burst of flavor on the cupcake, without that icky mouthfeel that many store-bought chocolate frostings leave behind. What's that? You don't know how to make a ganache? Oh, very well...

Favorite Chocolate Ganache

  • 1 lb GOOD QUALITY chocolate (I prefer callebaut 53%), chopped
  • 9 oz (BY WEIGHT) heavy cream
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1.5 oz (BY WEIGHT) light corn syrup (karo light is what I use)
  • 1 oz butter(NOT MARGARINE, BUTTER) (2 Tbsp, basically)
Combine the chocolate and butter in a metal bowl. Heat a pot of water to simmer, and set chocolate over the water to slowly melt. You don't have to get it entirely melted, just started. When the chocolate is about halfway melted, with still a few visible pieces holding their shape, put on the heavy cream, combined with the remaining ingredients. Let it come to a nice hot boil and immediately shut the heat off. Swirl for five counts in the pot, then dump the hot liquid over the chocolate. Let sit for about four minutes, then blitz using an immersion blender. If you don't have one, you can use a rubber spatula, but not a whisk. Why? At this stage, you don't want too many air bubbles, otherwise you'll get a sandy texture, which is not pleasant. I highly recommend getting an immersion blender, though. It is a serious powerhouse in the cook's kitchen.

Once you understand tempering chocolate, you can use the technique for many decorative purposes. It's 3D, it's delicious, and it looks really impressive. I would tell you how I do it(it's basically the seeding method), but you're probably better off going to Google about it. I'm sure they can explain better than I can. But I can tell you that it's easy! Also, you can practice writing out whatever it is you want to write out several times and just pick the one you like the best. This way, no stress when it comes to writing on cakes. I use a small offset spatula to remove and place my chocolate decorations! Search "ateco" baking tools on Amazon and find one you like!

This cake is Devil's Food cake, baked in a mini cupcake tin. You can use whatever recipe you like, obviously, but these were especially good. And tiny!

To make your presentation look extra-professional, make sure that the cupcakes and decorations are all facing the same direction! It's the little things like that which can make or break you.


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