Saturday, July 13, 2013

Our 3rd Birthday!

That's right it's our 3rd birthday!!

So to celebrate I decided to tackle something new and exciting....fondant.

I have never used fondant on any of my baking creations so it seemed like the perfect opportunity to give it a go.

And while we are tackling all things new and exciting, we may as well make the fondant from scratch right?!

This was a joint project between Mr B and myself and quite alot of planning went into it. I was adamant that I wanted the 3 candles and Mr B was adamant that he wanted the pig in mud. Here is our design page with Mr B's original vision for the cake, some of my dud drawings and my list of things we would need!

We spaced this process out over a week.....last Sunday we made the fondant, on Friday I made the mud cake and the pig and covered the cake in ganache and on Monday we decorated and assembled everything. Yes it was time consuming, but for our first attempt at a cake with fondant we were really pleased with the results.

To make the marshmallow fondant you will need:

500g white marshmallows
1kg icing sugar
4 tbspns waters
Butter for greasing

Place the marshmallows in a large mixrowave safe bowl and heat on high for 60 seconds.

Add the water and stir until the mixture is smooth.

Add the icing sugar, 1 cup at a time, until you have a sticky dough. Reserve 1 cup of icing sugar for kneading.

This is where it gets messy.....rub your hands thoroughly with butter and begin kneading the dough. It will seem hopeless and sticky but the mixture will become me.

Turn the mixture out onto a surface dusted with icing sugar and continue to knead. (Don't ask me how but Mr B somehow even ended up with icing sugar all over his back!?) When the fondant is smooth and no longer sticky to touch it is done. This should take roughly 5-10mins.

Form the fondant into a ball and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Store at room temperature. The fondant will last for up to 3 months so it's great to keep on hand. We found that this size recipe made enough to cover and decorate this cake, plus we had enough leftover to do some simple decorations on a second cake.

When you are ready to use the fondant, unwrap and roll it out onto a flat surface dusted with icing sugar.

If you plan on colouring your fondant, break off sections roughly the required size and place in a bowl with 1-2 drops of food colouring. Knead until smooth and the colour is evenly distributed. If you have any issues with the fondant being too stiff, place it in the microwave for 5 seconds to make it more pliable.

I was a bit worried about this mud cake when I pulled it out of the oven, but when we cut into it, it was moist and dense and delicious. And when we heated it up just a smidgen so that the ganache and fondant melted down the sides and served it with a generous dollop of whipped cream,
it was down right heavenly.

To make the Mud Cake you will need:

250g butter
200g dark chocolate

1 tbspn instant coffee
2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 1/4 cups plain flour
1 1/4 cups self raising flour
1/4 cup cocoa
375g dark chocolate melts
1/2 cup thickened cream

Pre-heat oven to 150C (130C fan forced). Grease and line a 13 x 9 inch baking pan.

Combine the butter, dark chocolate, 1 cup of water and coffee in a large saucepan over low heat. Cook and stir for 5 mins or until melted. Stir to combine. Allow to cool for 5 mins.

Transfer the mixture to a bowl. Add the sugar, eggs, flours and cocoa powder. Mix well to combine.

Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and smooth the surface. Bake for 40 mins. If a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean then the cake is done. If not, give it another 5 mins and test again.

When done, remove from the oven and allow to cool completely in the pan. Once cool, remove from the pan to a serving platter or tray.

Combine the chocolate and cream in a microwave safe jug. Heat in 40 second bursts, stirring in between, until smooth and combined. Allow to cool in the fridge for 30-40 mins or until thickened. It should be a spreadable consistency but if it is too firm, just microwave it for 5 seconds to soften it slightly.

Smooth the ganache over the cooled mudcake with a palette knife to create smooth even surfaces and corners. I had enough ganache left over to do the mud puddle on top of the cake and to do the candles. You can cover the cake with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for up to a week at this point.

For the candles, I used 3 x mini chocolate sponge rolls. I left 1 at full size and cut one so it was 3/4 height and one so it was 1/2 size.

Cover the rolls in ganache and allow to set in the fridge.

To finish the candles off, I rolled them in a strip of fondant to create a base. Then I stuck an actual candle into the centre of the chocolate roll, ensuring the wick was still exposed. And the final step is to melt some of the leftover fondant and drizzle it over the top, being careful not to cover the wick, to create the 'dripping wax' effect.

 For the pig, I made a very small batch of rice krispies and moulded them in a small bowl lined with greased cling wrap. This formed the base for the head which we then covered in fondant and we also used fondant for the ears, eyes, nose, feet and tail.

Now to put this whole schamozzle together, you need to start by removing your mudcake from the fridge and allowing it to come to room temperature.
In the mean time, take your coloured fondant and place on a flat surface well dusted with icing sugar. Roll out with a rolling pin until roughly 3mm thick.
Roll the fondant back over the rolling pin and use that to help you lay it out over the cake. Make sure the top of the cake is nice and smooth before pressing the corners down. Then move onto the edges and get them all pressed down. Press and smooth the fondant along the sides of your cake to ensure a nice even surface. This is where we got really nervous, but it wasn't as hard as we thought.

Ta-Da! And when we were done, it looked like this and we were super impressed. And with all the hard work out of the way, it was time to decorate. 
First I used some left over ganache to make a mud puddle and added the little piglet while Mr B made some grass to go around the edges. 

Then we placed the candles and topped it all off with some chocolate writing and some little butterflies (even if everyone else does insist on calling them flowers!)

Happy Birthday!! Thank you to everyone who drops by and reads my ramblings and thank you to Mr B, Mum, Dad and everyone else that supports me in my baking madness!
Mrs B xx

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