Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Chocolate cake with chocolate fondant

I used to bake and decorate a lot. I love it. Then there was a hiatus when I moved into the RV for two years. I couldn't get the propane oven to cook evenly; everything was burnt down the middle where the burner strip was. Also, it was so small that I had to bake everything, each layer, each piece, one at a time. Then there was the reality that I didn't have anywhere to store what I'd made until I was ready to take it somewhere, both because of space and the evil cats. So, after a few tries, I took a break.

It occurred to me this week that I don't have an excuse anymore, so I decided to try again. Starting with something simple and pretty straight-forward. Re-wetting my feet, so to speak.

First, I made three small cakes using this recipe. Sort of. I was out of granulated sugar (believe that or not) so I used half brown and half powdered. I figured the excess moisture/cornstarch combo might cancel each other out.

Then I made this frosting.
Yes, I sampled a generous portion of this frosting.
I stacked and trimmed the sides of the cakes, but left the tops "fluffy" because they were already so thin, I didn't want to straighten them out, making them even flatter.

If I weren't using fondant, I would have done a thin layer of this as a crumb coating and then another prettier outer layer. But I didn't have to.

Next was this fondant, which requires that you wade through some typos or perhaps drunken typing. But you get the idea.

A couple of things about chocolate fondant: For me, anyway, it has to be kept thicker than regular sugar fondant. But that's okay, because it also tastes better. Fondant is sort of a "love it" or "leave it" prospect for most people, like Peeps or Circus Peanuts (fondant is actually a lot like circus peanuts, composition-wise). But chocolate fondant is richer and not as sweet. For the two parts sugar, there is one part cocoa, and that makes it a lot less treacly. It's described rightly as recalling Tootsie Rolls.

Adding the gelatin mixture in the well of the sugar and cocoa.

Use the dough hook! It gets really thick.

In any case, making fondant at home guarantees it will taste better than the stuff you buy in tubs at the store, and it's pretty forgiving, in terms of covering cracks and uneven spaces and being able to pull it off and start over if you mess up. But the even finish and keeping the cake inside moist is the main point of fondant, so if people eat your cake and leave the fondant, don't be offended. It's sweet, and to some people it's just too much. (I'm not one of those people.)

Fondant rolled and ready to move!

Draped over the cake.
With regular sugar fondant, you can even out the corners and make seamless edges. I haven't been able to do that with chocolate fondant, ever, so I wrap it like a present.

After a good trim.
Fortunately, you can cover the folds, and any over-enthusiastic trimming you might have done that allows some icing seepage, with frosting or other fondant or whatever you're doing to finish your cake.

Recently, I got a bunch of supplies from Amazon. This included a cool fondant kit I'm eager to use, but decided not to make flowers or anything for this cake, and I didn't want to pile the fondant and make it too much. I did use the sharp edge, which was so much better than my kitchen knives.

Also, when I was ready to do the final touches, decoratively, I was able to move the whole cake with this genius 8-inch cake lifter.

Oh, how I love this thing.
I used the buttercream recipe from the Wilton 53-piece cake decorating kit book. I learned that their pink gel is pretty intense, and I could have used less, because it came out super dark and orange-y.

Anyway, here's the final product. I made the cake for our small group, and the birthday girl will likely prefer a bagel, but that's okay. It was fun starting to get back into the swing of things, anyway!

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