Not-Ice Cream Sundae Cake

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You know how certain rides at the amusement park have a warning like, “Those with heart disease, high blood pressure….” Well, I think maybe this cake should have that warning. It’s a little over the top. But isn’t that what birthdays are all about?

Yep, birthdays (and in my case birthday week) are all about going over the top. Calories don’t count on your birthday (or birthday week). Lucky for me, when you have a food blog you can actually go above and beyond over the top. So we won’t talk about calories. Or the health implications of consuming a piece of a cake that contains 6 sticks of butter, a cup and a half of heavy cream, and nearly 5 cups of sugar. Birthday calories don’t count. Also I’m a firm believer of “Everything in moderation.” So don’t make this cake and plan on eating the whole thing yourself. Instead, have a small slice and invite some friends over to enjoy the rest!

This cake is what I would like to call a “Not-Ice Cream Sundae Cake.” It’s a very vanilla, fluffy, white cake, filled with chocolate ganache and vanilla bean mousse, frosted with a whipped vanilla bean buttercream, topped with more chocolate ganache, sprinkles and another nice dollop of buttercream and of course finished with a cherry on top. Happy Birthday to me!

Not-Ice Cream Sundae Cake
(Sunny Side Up original idea; Cake adapted from Culinary Concoctions by Peabody; Vanilla Bean Mousse adapted from Sugarlaws; Whipped Vanilla Buttercream adapted from Sweetapolita, Chocolate Ganache adapted from Savory Sweet Life)

Cake

1 cup whole milk, room temperature
6 egg whites
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 Vanilla bean, seeds scraped from pod
2 1/4 cups cake flour
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter (6 oz), softened

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Grease two 8 inch cake pans with vegetable shortening, line the bottom of the pans with parchment paper, grease the parchment paper and flour the pans.

Combine milk, eggs whites, vanilla bean seeds, and extract in a small bowl with a fork. Set aside.

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in an electric mixer and mix at slow speed with a paddle attachment. Add butter. Continue beating at slow speed until mixture looks like wet sand.

Add all but 1/2 cup of milk mixture and beat at medium speed for 1 1/2 minutes. Add remaining milk mixture and beat for an additional 30 seconds, scraping the sides of the bowl if necessary. Do not overmix.

Divide batter evenly between prepared pans and gently shake to smooth batter.

Bake 30-35 minutes, until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cakes cool in the pans for 15 minutes then invert onto racks to cool completely before frosting.

Vanilla Bean Mousse

1 Vanilla bean, seeds scraped from the pod
2/3 cup sugar, divided
2 egg whites
1 cup heavy cream

Whip together heavy cream, 1/3 cup of sugar, and vanilla beans, on high speed until soft peaks form. Set aside.

In a new, clean and oil free, bowl, beat egg whites until frothy, about 1 minute. Add 1/3 cup of sugar and beat on high speed until stiff peaks form.

Add the egg whites, 1/3 at a time, to the bowl with the whipped cream and gently fold together. Cover the mousse and refrigerate until ready to use.

Chocolate Ganache

1/2 cup heavy cream
6 oz. semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped

Place chocolate in a heat-proof bowl. Bring heavy cream to a boil. Pour the heavy cream over the chocolate and stir until the chocolate is smooth and melted. Allow the ganache to cool to room temperature before pouring over cake.

Whipped Vanilla Buttercream

3 sticks unsalted butter, softened
3 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
3 tablespoons milk
1 vanilla bean, scraped
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
pinch of salt

In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the butter for 5 minutes on medium speed, until it is pale yellow and appears fluffy. Add the rest of the ingredients and (starting on low speed and working up to medium) beat for 5 more minutes.

How to Assemble Cake

Place one 8-inch cake on a 10-inch cardboard cake circle. Poke the top of the cake all over with a fork. Then, pipe a border on the top of cake all around the edge. Pour 1/3 cup of chocolate ganache onto the cake and use the back of a spoon to spread it out. Top with 1 cup of Vanilla Bean Mousse, using the piped border as a guide.

Place the second 8-inch cake on top. (Now is a good time to put it in the freezer for a few minutes to make it easier to frost.) Frost the top and sides with the Whipped Vanilla Bean Buttercream. You can pipe a border along the bottom to make it look pretty. Put the cake back in the freezer for 5-10 minutes. Pour the chocolate ganache onto the top of the cake and use a spatula to carefully spread it close to the edges. It shouldn’t need too much prompting to start to drizzle over the edges. Finish the cake by piping more buttercream on top of ganache and sprinkling with sprinkles.

This cake should be stored in the fridge because of the egg whites in the Vanilla Bean Mousse.

Dah dah dah dah… It’s Elmo Time!!

** This post was imported as a part of my top 30 from my old blog – What’s Cooking in the Orange Kitchen**

About a month ago a friend told me that she was throwing an Elmo themed birthday party for her sons second birthday. I have seen a few Cookie Monster cupcakes and Elmo cupcakes on various blogs in the past and I was always wishing that I had a good excuse to make them. This party was just the excuse I was looking for. So I jumped on the opportunity and offered to make the cake/cupcakes. They wound up being a huge hit and the birthday boy was definitely loving the Elmo theme.


Most of the blogs that I have seen have used frosting to make the eyes and the nose but I wanted to do something different. I also knew that I would need to spread the work out over a few days and using all frosting wouldn’t work for that. So I decided I would make the eyes and nose out of Wilton candy melts. A week before the party I did a test run on my idea for decorating the cupcakes and I was so excited when it worked. The week of the party I spread the work out over three days. On Wednesday I baked the cakes and cupcakes and then covered them will saran wrap and froze them. Thursday night I made the eyes and nose. Friday I took the cupcakes out of the freezer in the morning and then in the afternoon I did all of the decorating except for the mouth (didn’t want the gel icing to spread/melt). Saturday all I had to do was put the mouths on the cupcakes and get them safely to the party. I do think that you could do all of this work in one day. It would take several hours but it is doable. I am listing step by step instructions with some pictures below!


Elmo Cupcakes

Supplies

20-24 cupcakes (I used this recipe and this recipe)
Wilton candy melts in white and orange
Candy melting squeeze bottle (follow instructions for melting the melts)
Chocolate chips
Tooth picks
1 large bowl of hot water
Paper towels
2 cups buttercream frosting
Red food coloring
1 piping bag fitted with tip #18
Black decorating gel in .68 oz tube

To make the eyes and nose:

  1. Melt the candy melts and chocolate chips in squeeze bottles by filling a bowl with hot (but not boiling) water and placing the squeeze bottles in the water. I kept the bowl next to my work station so when I wasn’t using a bottle it was staying warm. Replace the water as necessary and keep paper towels by your side to dry of bottles as needed.
  2. Print a picture of Elmo and place the picture under a sheet of parchment paper on top of a cookie sheet.
  3. Start by outlining the eyes in white, leaving a space for the chocolate eye.
  4. Fill in the whites and use a toothpick with small, light circular motions to smooth.
  5. Fill in the spot for the chocolate by squeezing a small amount of chocolate into the space. Then wet your fingertip and lightly press down on the chocolate to fill in the space and smooth it out.
  6. Outline the nose with orange. Fill using the same circular motions with a toothpick.
  7. Move the template to a new spot on the parchment paper and repeat until you have all of the eyes and noses that you need, plus a few extra just in case.
  8. When you finish making all of the eyes and noses put the cookie sheet in the freezer to set the candy.

Assembly

  1. Fill a piping bag, fitted with tip #18, with the red buttercream frosting. Be sure to twist the top of the bag so frosting doesn’t squeeze out while you decorate
  2. Outline the edges of the top of a cupcake by holding the piping bag perpendicular to the cupcake. Lightly squeeze the bag and use a small down then up motion to make a star.
  3. Once the top of the cupcake is outlined fill in the middle using the same motions, be sure to make the stars close together and not to leave empty spaces.
  4. After the cupcake is frosted, place candy eyes on the cupcake letting them hang over the edge about 1/2 inch.
  5. Using the black decorating gel, draw a mouth below the eyes and nose.

Tips:

  • To decorate a cake, use the same method for the eyes and nose but on a larger scale. It was easier to outline the eyes/nose and then use a warm spoon to fill in the space. For the cake I used chocolate for the mouth instead of decorating gel. To pipe the frosting I used a bag fitted with tip # 2D. I used a total of 4 1/2 cups of frosting to make 20 cupcakes and one cake (it was 2 thin layers)
  • If you do not have a piping bag you could simply frost the cupcakes using a spatula and then put the eyes and nose on. It wouldn’t have the textured look but it would have the same overall feel.
  • Make sure the eyes and nose are fully set before trying to transport them to the cupcakes.
  • If you are pressed for time just use a boxed cake mix and store bought icing.
  • Wait as long as you can to use the decorating gel because it will eventually start to run/spread.
  • I hope these directions help, but if anything is unclear feel free to leave a comment or email me (orangekitchencooking @ gmail.com). I will try to clarify anything that doesn’t make sense!
  • And last but not least, don’t worry, these cupcakes are “Birthday Boy Approved”

Red, White and Blue Cupcakes!

** This post was imported as a part of my top 30 from my old blog – What’s Cooking in the Orange Kitchen**

Lately I have seen a lot of “tie dye” cupcakes in the food blogging world and I always think they are so cool looking. I remember the first time I saw them I knew that I was going to have to make them! So I didn’t have to brain storm for very long to decide what I wanted to make for the 4th of July. I have to say that I am very very pleased with the results! They turned out even cuter than I had hoped for. So if you are looking for an impressive treat for your 4th of July celebration, look no further. 🙂

Red, White and Blue Cupcakes

Supplies/Ingredients
White cake batter (I used the Wilton recipe below but don’t feel bad if you just grab a box of white cake mix from the grocery!)
Red Food Coloring
Blue Food Coloring
3 bowls (1 for each color)
Buttercream Frosting
Red, White and Blue Sprinkles

Directions
Prepare the cake batter as directed.

Divide the batter into 3 bowls. Leave one bowl white. Add 3-4 drops of red food coloring to another bowl and 3-4 drops of blue food coloring in another. Mix the food coloring in and add more if the colors are not bright enough.

Prepare a cupcake pan with liners. Start by dropping a spoonful of white batter into the bottom of each liner. Follow with a spoonful of blue. If you want you can go back with a toothpick and swirl the colors a little bit, just be careful not to “stir” the batter because the colors will blend). After the blue do a drop of white in each. Then a spoonful of red. Finish with small drops of each color on top.

Bake according to cake batter recipe.

Top each cupcake with buttercream frosting and sprinkles.

Classic White Cake – I cut the recipe in half and below I’ve listed the measurements I used
(Source: Wilton Website)

Ingredients

3 cups cake flour sifted
1 tablespoons baking powder
3/4 cups butter or margarine, softened
1 1/2cups granulated sugar
1cups milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
6 egg whites

Directions

Preheat oven to 325°F. Prepare cupcake pans with cupcake liners (24)

Sift together flour and baking powder. Set aside. Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Set aside. Beat egg whites until stiff, but not dry. Set aside. With mixer at slow speed, add flour mixture to butter mixture, alternately with milk. Beat well after each addition. Beat in vanilla extract. Gently fold egg whites into batter. Pour into prepared pans. Bake for 22-25 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.