I'm in the midst of a spring baking frenzy. Pictured at left are mini-cupcakes made for a friend's business open house. I made dark chocolate cupcakes with a milk chocolate icing, lemon cupcakes with a white chocolate-lemon icing, and vanilla cupcakes with a vanilla buttercream.
The milk chocolate icing was a case study in fixing my mistakes. I wanted a milk chocolate ganache but forgot how much cream to use. I ended up making sauce instead of ganache, so I decided to add powdered sugar. After adding a lot of powdered sugar the ganache was still too soft and now way too sweet, so I beat in some butter (two sticks to be precise). Holy cow that turned out to be genius! The icing was silky, with a divine milk chocolate flavor - it's true, everything is better with butter. I can't wait to try it with malted milk powder. It could be an epic recipe once I tinker with it.
Pictured below the cupcakes is a first birthday cake featuring Elmo from Sesame Street. I am undecided about putting beheaded children's icons onto cakes. While Elmo's eyes are always look like that, the fact that only his head is on the cake makes it look like he is in shock with his mouth gaping at the awful fate that befell him. Luckily the birthday girl adored the cake and had no qualms about the rest of his body being missing. The head is a round cake made from sandwiching two hemispheres from Wilton's small hemisphere pan (6 cavities in one pan). The rest is just icing including the eyeballs and nose.
Below Elmo are two "adult" cakes that accompanied him to the birthday party. They are are orange cakes with an orange whipped cream filling and an Italian meringue buttercream icing.
I sprinkled the cakes with a Grand Marnier syrup and coated them with apricot preserves before adding the whipped cream filling to the layers (there were four layers). Even though I used gelatin in the whipped cream filling, it was a little loose to hold up the cake and there was some sagging on the ends.
The daisies and leaves are made of gum paste (my first foray into this medium). I used the pre-made Wilton gumpaste and it was very easy to work with. While it is technically edible, it sure doesn't taste good. I would like expand on my gumpaste ability and create mums or lilies with it, using an airbrush (which I would need to purchase) so I can create ultra-realistic flowers. Or maybe not.
I also made a pineapple upside down cake this weekend but there are no photos. And, there are more cakes to come later this week! I had hoped to do Easter egg cakes but it doesn't look like I'll have the time this year. Maybe I can use that pan to make football cakes for tailgate parties this fall. Does anyone have other suggestions for the use of egg-shaped cakes?