Monday, July 9, 2012

Wedding Dress Cake and Cookies

The theme of this past weekend was wedding wedding wedding!  One sister-in-law annoounced her engagement, and we threw a bridal shower for another one. Phew!  So needless to say, I've been doing a lot of google and pinterest surfing for ideas.  The design I settled on is rather popular right now as I saw many cakes in my searches with this similar idea.  Some looked fabulous, and some looked.. well... close.  So I was a little afraid of missing the mark.  But in the end I'm happy with the outcome.
I ended up making my own fondant for the dress and flowers on the cake.  I found a great recipe for marshmallow fondant which turned out wonderful.  I will post it below.  Its only ingredients are marshmallows, water, and powdered sugar.  So the end result tastes like a sweet(er) marshmallow taffy type of thing... much tastier than commercial fondant, in my opinion. The inside of the cake was black forest... with homemade cherry topping and whipped cream inside.  Yum!
So I drew out her bodice and gathered various long rectangles together for the skirt.  It took me a few tries, but I finally got it to "drape" in a way that pleased me.  The bouquet was fun... rolling up pink fondant into swirls.  Again, little marshmallow roses were kinda tasty! Add a bead border around the bottom, and viola! finished!
Since this marshmallow fondant was so easy to use, I went ahead and made it for the cookie favors we passed out.  I simply baked my wedding cake shaped cookies and then used my cookie cutter to cut out fondant cakes that I "glued" to the tops with a few dabs of water.  The next morning I used royal icing to decorate the "cakes" and attach my roses.  I've previously used colorflow for these types of cookies, but it can take forever and make a big mess.  The marshmallow fondant was a breeze!  Here's the recipe:

Marshmallow Fondant

8 oz. (or 4 cups mini) marshmallows
1 lb (4 cups) pure cane powdered sugar (plus a bit extra for dusting)
2 Tbsp water Vegetable shortening (for hands)
Food coloring and/or flavoring extracts

1. In a big glass bowl, microwave marshmallows and water for 1 minute, stopping halfway through to mix.  You want them melted until no lumps remain. Stir melted marshmallows until smooth.  Add a 1/2 teaspoon or so of any flavoring you would like (I left it plain for the cake decor but added a 1/2 tsp of clear vanilla for the cookies). Add powdered sugar and mix the best you can.
2.  Turn the marshmallow, sugary, sticky mess onto a clean countertop or cutting board lightly dusted with powdered sugar (I did it on a piece of parchment paper).  Rub some shortening on your hands and start kneading the best you can while gathering up all the sugar it will take.  Your sticky mess will soon become beautiful and smooth and ready to use.  Knead in whatever colors you would like just as if you were using the commercial stuff. Recipe doubles great, too!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Marin County Fair 2012

Well, it's that time of year again.  Last year I entered a sandcastle cake in the decorated cakes division of baked goods, and while I did win 2nd place, I really wasn't in the mood to come up with another design and spend the time decorating this year (the whole 3 kids thing has been a little challenging lately). So when I saw the category for a Clover Dairy culinary taste competition, I kept reading and decided to give it a whirl!

In this competition, which was a live tasting with three judges type of thing, entrants were required to use at least three Clover ingredients.  So using Clover butter, eggs, sour cream, and whipped cream, I opted to make my good ole chocolate cheesecake recipe. I just love Clover Dairy and their products.  They are local and affordable.  And I love their mascot, Clo the cow. To make her, I melted some chocolate chips and traced the design on some parchment paper last night.  And when I took it out of the fridge this morning, it peeled off beautifully! Phew!

And... I actually won! First Place AND Best of Show!  There were some other great recipes there, too.  After the judging (and to my husband's delight) the audience was allowed to sample the entries.  Spanakopita, pastas, cheesecakes, pound cakes... yum!  Now I have to start planning for next year! :)