Birthday Wishes… Shopkins

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My little girl just had a birthday; and of course no birthday celebration is complete without a cake topped with birthday candles to wish on before they are extinguished in one (or a few) puffs, which concurrently blankets the cake with tiny droplets of birthday girl germs.  But we digress… let them eat cake.  Germs are everywhere.  Besides, this cake is bulletproof!  It’s covered with homemade marshmallow fondant which no one likes to eat anyway.  I just peel mine right off and get to the good stuff: 4-layers of moist chocolate cake, devil’s frosting, and french vanilla frosting just under the peel, err… fondant.

I’m definitely not a fondant fan, but I must admit that certain cake requests (like this Shopkins cake) does require edible modeling clay to achieve that smooth, plastic look of a toy.  Most of my cakes are covered in buttercream or whipped cream, but I made an exception for this one since I didn’t think tinted buttercream would look as nice as fondant would.

My little princess got 2 birthday parties!  One on her actual birthday with family, including grandma who was in town, and her second party with a little group of friends at our humble home for a night of pizza, “Snow White” the movie, popcorn, and cake, followed by a spontaneous game of balloon war; organized chaos at it’s best!

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Of course I used Ina Garten’s Cheesecake recipe but without the jam, just topped with fresh raspberries.

So lucky mommy (yes, that’d be me) got to bake a cheesecake for her family party and this cute Shopkins cake for her party with her friends and I’m going to share my Shopkins cake construction process.

Little princess wanted a chocolate cake, so little princess got a chocolate cake for her special day.  I used Toba Garrett’s chocolate cake recipe from her book “The Well-decorated Cake” and I promise it’s the BEST chocolate cake you will ever taste!  She claims it’s good to the last crumb, and believe me, it is!  For the filling, I made a HUGE mistake and accidentally  made chocolate icing!!!  Like the kind that you drizzle over desserts for the nice chocolate-spilling-over-the-edge look, and that doesn’t work for a cake filling unless you want a “Sleeping Beauty” type of cake look with all the layers sliding and frosting dripping and the whole cake leaning like the Tower of Pisa.  That’s why, my friends, we should stick to tried and true recipes when attempting a special cake for a special occasion.  Lesson learned.  SO, instead of dumping the chocolate icing, I just doctored it by adding more butter and powdered sugar and it was fixed!  Now, I had delicious devil’s chocolate icing buttercream that was perfect layered with the chocolate cake.

After that detour, I decided I didn’t want to risk the dark brown color of chocolate frosting possibly showing through the light yellow fondant so whipped up a batch of our favorite vanilla frosting, which is also found in Toba Garrett’s book (see above link) called French Vanilla Buttercream.  This buttercream tastes like vanilla ice cream and has a texture that’s lighter and in between a buttercream and whipped cream.  Definitely one of my go-to recipes and have used it in many of my past cakes.

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I made 2 batches of marshmallow fondant and colored one batch yellow then left a larger part of the 2nd batch white and colored some pink and a little black.

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I wanted a taller, cake but I didn’t want to bake a 3rd cake, so I cheated and used my inverted cake pan as my 3rd cake layer to give the cake more height.

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I was in a rush and wasn’t careful removing my 2nd cake from the pan and it broke in several places!

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see how much of the outside broke off?!?!

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But it’s okay!  Just take those broken cake crumbs and mix it with your frosting and now you have chocolate cement to fill in the cracks.  (This is also how you can make cake pops.  crumble cake, mix in frosting, shape, and stick onto sticks)

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Whew, there. Now the cake is good as new 😉

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I split my 2 cakes in half so I got 4 layers.  Put some frosting on my “fake” cake layer then stack cake, frost, stack cake, frost… you get the picture.  I purposely left the top layer rounded since I wanted to keep the rounded look for the Shopkins Wishes cake.  Refrigerate your stacked cake for about 30 mins so it’s easier to cover with frosting and doesn’t shift.

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Smooth on your vanilla buttercream frosting with an offset spatula and refrigerate again while you work on rolling out some fondant. Notice how I frosted my cake pan, the bottom layer of my “cake”.

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After you work your fondant with your hands to get it pliable again, roll it out as big as you can.  I wasn’t able to get it big enough to drape over the entire cake, so I just cut out two 6″ strips (height of the side of cake) and stuck it on.  Get a wet paper towel and run it over your fondant so it will stick to the cake. (dampen only the side that will be touching the cake)

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Carefully smooth it out with your hands or a fondant smoother tool.

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I used two strips to cover the sides of the cake. (you can see the small seam on the left)  It’s okay, I’m going to add the arms there later.

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Roll our your white fondant, then use an 8″ cake base (cheese board from Dollar tree) as a guide to cut out a circle.  You want enough of the white fondant to come over the side of the cake.

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Use a sharp knife to cut around the fondant like above to achieve the look of icing drips.

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Again, dab a wet paper towel over the fondant, then carefully position over the top of the cake.

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Now for the pink band around Wishes.   Roll and cut out an appropriate sized band

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Stick it on with some water then use a blunt knife or I used a wooden skewer to make the slanted indent patterns on the pink band.

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Now make your eyes, nose, arms, and lips and attach with some water!  It already looks so cute!

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Make 3 white snakes then coil into these little swirls

 

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Attach the swirls and make some white “sprinkles” and the cake is complete!  She wanted a “6” on her cake and didn’t want just green candles (which is what Wishes has).

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She loved her little party and was so excited she kept hugging me and telling me ‘thank you’.  That’s what makes my Saturday spent on a birthday cake, all worth it!

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Eating a slice or two of cake helps, too.

Chocolate Fudge Cake

adapted from Toba Garrett’s “The Well Decorated Cake”

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1  1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 2  1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup Dutch processed cocoa powder
  • 2  1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1  1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 large eggs, room temp.
  • 1  1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2  1/4 cups buttermilk
  • 6 oz. melted semisweet chocolate (good quality), melted

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.  Grease and parchment line two 8″ cake pans (2″ high).  Melt chocolate, set aside.
  2. Beat butter and sugars together on med- low speed until fluffy.
  3. Mix together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt together in a separate bowl, set aside
  4. Add eggs into the butter mixture, scraping bowl as needed.  Add vanilla.
  5. Add in a third of the flour mixture, mix. then a half of the buttermilk.  Mix and scrape bowl. Repeat until you have ended with the rest of your flour mixture.  Scrape bowl.
  6. Add in your melted chocolate and beat on med-high until well mixed.  Scraping bowl as needed.
  7. Pour into your prepared cake pans and bake in preheated oven for about 50 mins or until toothpick comes out clean.
  8. Cool in pan for 10 mins then remove carefully onto cooling rack.
  9. Frost cake after completely cool.
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Her friends got to go home with these cute Shopkins keychains from the supplies I had left from a past party where I had bottlecap necklaces.

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I found that printable for free on pinterest and taped them onto pink craft bags.  My girl is into word searches so they got a word search booklet and mechanical pencil (from Dollar Tree) and a pretzel rod dipped in white chocolate w/ sprinkles, plus the keychains.

 

Good luck with your baking adventure!  Thank you for reading and please subscribe!

-Flora

Orange Pound Cake with Lemon Mascarpone

It’s technically winter and spring isn’t here for another 8 days but it’s been warm the last couple days and I see beautiful, sweet berries at the store so I decide it’s okay to eat raspberries layered with orange pound cake and lemon mascarpone as dessert for book club before spring/summer.  This is my first time hosting book club and I’m still a newbie in the club so I was racking my brain for days trying to come up with a dessert to serve and I remembered this Trader Joe’s Cookbook recipe I love that uses ladyfingers soaked in orange juice layered with berries and lemon mascarpone.  I decided to try it with Ina Garten’s Orange Pound Cake and it had to be pound cake since the characters in the book had pound cake after their eventful dinner.  We just read the book “Mother of Pearl” by Melinda Haynes and we all agreed the first third of the book was really hard to get through.  There was a lot of crude words and language that really didn’t need to be there and should have been cleaned up by the editor.  Plus the story was difficult to follow as was keeping track of the characters in the beginning.  But once we got through the first couple hundred pages of the book, it finally started to pick up and things were starting to make more sense.  Also, we weren’t reading swear words and the crude words for body parts in every other sentence (okay, I exaggerate).  There were great relationship developments towards the end and it was overall a good read, IF you didn’t end up tossing the book at the beginning :).

I baked the Ina Garten Orange Pound Cake the night before so all I had to do was simply mix the lemon curd with mascarpone and layer with the pound cake and berries.  I think the raspberries go really well with the lemon mascarpone and the Orange pound cake rather than other berries, but strawberries would work well too.  It tastes great with ladyfingers but also tastes even better with the orange pound cake and all the wonderful citrus zest it it makes for a fresh, delightful dessert!  
It’s assembled into an 8×8 inch glass baking dish but can be made in individual glass cups for an even more elegant presentation.  It it is so fast and simple to make and even more so when you use store-bought ladyfingers!  Here are the recipes below! 
Orange Pound Cake by Ina Garten – it makes two loaves and you only need one loaf for the trifle dessert so you can always give away the other half, eat it yourself, or freeze it.
Better-Than-Tiramisu
adapted from “The I Love Trader Joe’s Cookbook”
Ingredients
1 (10oz) jar Lemon Curd
1.5 (8oz) containers mascarpone
1/2 cup orange juice
1 loaf Orange Pound Cake (recipe link above) or 1 package ladyfingers
about 2 cups fresh raspberries, washed and dried
Directions
1. Mix the lemon curd with the mascarpone cheese until smooth but don’t overbeat.  May become grainy if you beat too long.
2. Slice the pound cake into 1/2″ slices and dip it in orange juice.  Place dipped side up in the bottom of an 8×8″ dish and repeat until you fill the bottom of the dish.  Do the same for ladyfingers, if using.

3. Spread half of the lemon curd mascarpone mixture over the cake then top with half of the berries.
4. Repeat with another layer of sliced pound cake dipped in orange juice and top with remaining lemon mascarpone and raspberries.
5. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least an hour.
  
Serve and enjoy~
Thanks for reading! Please subscribe!
Cheers,
Flora

Ina Garten’s Honey Vanilla Pound Cake

I LOVE Ina Garten’s recipes!  They always turn out great.  So I needed to bake something quick to take w/ me to my in-law’s and came across this recipe as I was leafing through my cookbooks.  Had all the ingredients so started measuring and pouring and baking.  
The results:  WONDERFUL~  tastes soooo good, and not dry.  Especially yummy when you toast it in the toaster oven for a few mins to get it warm, or not and still tastes great.
The only thing is… I don’t know if it’s my oven, but it browned a lot on the outside so had to cut off a little bit of the crust that touched the pans… maybe since I didn’t line the bottom w/ parchment paper since I was out.
Here’s the link to the recipe