Dearest Readers, if I still have any.
Please accept my most sincere apologies for my almost 2 years without posting. A lot has happened since my last post. Most importantly, a Fat Kitten was born. And turned 1. It's been quite an adventure from pregnancy to having a 1 year old and because of that, my kitchen has been neglected.
That is until her birthday rolled around!!! At last a reason to bake again! A reason that wasn't just "because" and one that I couldn't claim exhaustion and get out of. And it reminded me how much I love to bake and how much I've missed it.
I got to try two things that I had never done before. I made homemade fondant and I made my first ever from scratch cake!
I know you know about fondant. That beautiful sculpting/colored/3D decoration making stuff that tastes like sugared chalk. Not this fondant. This was made with two wonderful ingredients. Melted marshmallows and powdered sugar. Edible and fun to work with. I was absolutely terrified.
I used the recipe from Bake at 350 and it was so ridiculously easy I embarrassed myself with how scared I was. The only thing I hated was having to coat everything (hands included) with Crisco so I could work with the fondant dough.
The cake was a recipe I found here. I just Googled "chocolate cake" and tried the one that was the least intimidating. Yes, I admit it, after almost 2 years I was afraid to bake again. It's not like this was baking for the fun of it. It was for Fat Kitten's first birthday! I had to make it as perfect as I could.
So I made the fondant about 2 weeks before I needed to do anything with it. Just to make sure that I could do is successfully. Imagine my surprise when it was less than dramatic when I made it. The cakes (yes, more than one - 4 to be exact) were made the Friday before FK's birthday party. I also cut out all of the fondant shapes that I needed that night. Let's just say... it was a looooooooooong night.
The finished product was chocolate layer cake with chocolate pudding filling. I frosted using ~gasp~ canned frosting that I tinted pint. I cut out fondant polka dots and made fondant Minnie Mouse silhouettes. For bows on the Minnies I used heart shaped sprinkles.
Imagine my happiness when people asked me what bakery we got the cake from. I was surprised. I was thrilled. I blushed.
Here is the finished product. We ended up with a rectangle cake and a round cake. The round ended up coming home with us.
Now I admit, my Minnie's look a little wonky and my polka dots are all over the place on the round cake. But all in all, I'm thrilled with how they turned out.
Here are the recipes.
16oz bag of mini marshmallows
3tbs of water
2lbs of powdered sugar
Grease everything you're going to use (including your kneading surface) with Crisco. You will regret it if you don't. In a large greased microwaveable bowl, melt the marshmallows with the water. Do it in 30 second increments until the marshmallows are melted. Be sure to stir after each interval.
Reserve approximately 1/4 cup of the powdered sugar. Dump the rest into your greased mixer bowl. Be sure to grease the paddle of your mixer. Add the melted marshmallows into the sugar. Beat until a dough forms.
Dump everything from the mixing bowl on to a clean and greased surface. If there are any crumbs be sure to include them in what you dump out. Knead the dough until it becomes smooth. Be sure your hands are greased as you are kneading the dough.
You can divide and tint your dough. Whatever fondant you're not working with at the time cover to keep it from drying out. When you're finished and have left overs form a ball and coat with Crisco. Tightly wrap in plastic wrap and store in a zip-top bag. I let mine rest for 24 hours on the counter. Then into the fridge it went.
When you want to use your fondant again just take it out of the fridge, pop it into the microwave for about 30 seconds and then re-knead it to get it warmed and ready to go again.
"Perfect" Chocolate Cake:
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup boiling water
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line two 9" round cake pans or one 9x13 rectangular pan with parchment paper and grease the pans (bottom and sides) well.
In a large bowl combine the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, and baking soda. Add the eggs, milk, vanilla, and oil. Using a hand mixer, beat for 2 minutes. Add the boiling water and mix until just combined. Pour the batter into the pan(s) evenly.
Bake for 30-40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out cleanly after inserting into the middle of the cake. Slide a knife around the edges of the cakes and flip out on to a cooling rack.
For the filling I used boxed pudding.
Welcome back, dear readers. Here's to a new year, a new adventure, and new recipes.
Love and purrs,
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