Saturday, 13 October 2012

Spiderman Cake

Remember these cupcakes?  It’s Jack’s birthday again and this year he’s having a Spiderman themed party for which he requested a vanilla cake that looks like a building.  Very decisive for a 4 year old!  I was thinking, a 2-tiered cake with fondant building silhouettes and incorporating Spiderman toys.  I wanted a light, fluffy, and not overly sweet Oreo filling.

Check out the verdict at the end of the post!

Vanilla Cake
Adapted from here.

1 cup + 2 Tablespoon butter, room temperature
1 ½ cups sugar
4 + ½ large eggs, room temperature
3 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups pastry flour
1 ¾ cup all purpose flour
2 ¾ teaspoons baking powder
¾ teaspoon baking soda
1.5 cups buttermilk, room temperature
¾ cup whipping cream

1.    Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2.    Grease and flour 3, 9 inch rounds, and a 5 inch round pan.
3.    In a bowl, sift flour, baking powder, and baking soda.  Set aside.
4.    In a larger bowl, beat butter and sugar until fluffy. 
5.    Add eggs and vanilla and beat to incorporate.
6.    Alternately mix in flour and milk, starting and ending with flour.
7.    In a small bowl, whip whipping cream to a soft peak. Fold whipping cream into batter. 
8.    Distribute between pans and bake: 9 inches – 30 minutes; 5 inch – 37 minutes (thicker)
9.    Cool completely before slicing the small cake into 3 layers.

Oreo Whipped Filling
I’m not going to post this recipe because it didn’t turn out very good.  It was a boiled frosting with crushed Oreos.  When I added the Oreos, the frosting curdled!  I went ahead and used it in the cake because I didn’t have any more ingredients or time and the taste was good.  However, I will not be making this filling again.  I should’ve gone with the stabilized whipped cream with Oreos instead.

Buttercream Frosting
2 cups salted butter, room temperature
8 cups icing sugar
½ cup cream
2 teaspoon vanilla
Red and black food gel and cocoa powder

1.  In a large bowl, beat butter, sugar, cream, and vanilla until fluffy.
2.  Separate a small amount of frosting into a bowl.  Mix cocoa powder to darken, then add black gel.
3.  To the large bowl, mix in a bit of cocoa powder to darken the colour, then add red food gel (a lot!) to get the desired colour.

Marshmallow Fondant Buildings
Adapted from here.

Shortening, for greasing dishes and utensils
7.5 oz mini marshmallows
1 Tablespoon water
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon light corn syrup
½ teaspoon clear vanilla extract
½ tsp. salt
4 cups icing sugar
Gel food colouring and cocoa powder

1.  Grease a medium microwave safe bowl, mixing hook, and spatula with shortening.
2.  Put marshmallows in the microwave safe bowl and add water.
3.  Microwave until soupy stirring after each 30 second interval.
4.  Stir in lemon juice, corn syrup, vanilla, and salt.
5.  In a large bowl, add 4 cups of icing sugar and form a well.   Add marshmallow mixture and use hook to knead until the sugar is incorporated.  Grease hands and do the final kneading.
6.  Separate into pieces and knead in colour (grey and yellow).  I used cocoa powder for the brown.
7.  To make buildings, grease rolling pin and roll our fondant and cut into shapes.

1.  Fill cake layers with filling and frost.
2.  Pipe spider web on bottom cake and add fondant buildings.
3.  Add dowels (straws) to the bottom cake then place smaller cake on top.
4.  Place fondant buildings onto top cake.

Verdict: The cake was a really big hit at the party!  All the kids couldn’t wait to eat it!  And despite the “failed” filling, the cake was very good – moist and balanced sweetness!  I couldn’t be happier!  The birthday boy couldn’t wait to get his hands on the toys on top.

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Squash Cinnamon Roll Pie

This post is for Jas and Englebert.  Thanks for reading my blog!

I was going to the boyfriend’s mom’s house for Thanksgiving dinner.  I made a pumpkin kabocha (a type of squash) pie last year, the same one that my mom’s been making for ever.  I wanted to put a twist on it and I’ve been eyeing the cinnamon roll crust that keeps popping up on Pinterest, so I thought I’d give it a try. I made the crust from scratch instead of using a pre-made roll-out-and-bake crust.

Check out the verdict at the end of the post!

Squash Cinnamon Roll Pie

Cinnamon Roll Crust
Adapted from here and here.

¾ cup whole wheat flour
¾ cup pastry flour
1 teaspoon sugar
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup + 2 tablespoons butter, frozen
1 large egg yolk
3 Tablespoons ice cold water
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 Tablespoon brown sugar
1 Tablespoon granulated sugar

1.    In a large bowl, whisk flours, sugar, and salt.
2.    Grate frozen butter into flour mixture, and work it in with a pastry cutter.
3.    In a small bowl, mix yolk, water, and lemon juice.  Add to flour butter mixture and mix until the dough starts coming together.  Turn out onto a work surface and fold and press crumbly pieces into the dough mound.
4.    Roll dough out to a rectangle 1cm thick.
5.    Mix cinnamon and both sugars, and sprinkle over dough.
6.    Roll dough to make a log.  Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 2 hours or overnight.
7.    When ready to make filling, cut log into slices and press into a pie dish.  Keep in fridge while making filling.

Cinnamon sugar sprinkled over dough.

Dough rolled up.

Sliced and pressed into pie dish.

Squash Pie Filling
2 eggs
¾ cup brown sugar
*2 cups of mashed squash (I used kabocha, but I’m sure it will work with butternut squash, acorn squash, or pumpkin)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground clove
½ teaspoon freshly grated ginger
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup milk
½ cup light cream
*I steamed the cut up squash then hand mashed them.
**This makes enough filling for a standard pie plus 1/3 - 1/2 cup extra.  I baked off the extra in a separate dish and ate it with a spoon.

1.  Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
2.  In a bowl, beat eggs.  Add sugar, mashed squash, cinnamon, salt, cloves, ginger, and nutmeg and beat.
3.  Add milk and cream, beating after each.
4.  Pour into pie shell and bake at 450 degrees F for 10 minutes.
5.  Reduce temperature to 350 degrees, and bake for 45 minutes.  Center will be a bit jiggly, but will set as it cools.
6.  Cool before serving.

Kabocha being steamed.

Before baking (leftover on the left).

After baking.

Verdict: Great twist on a pie I’ve been eating for years!  You can definitely taste the cinnamon.  Everyone at the dinner loved it! I’m thinking of trying butternut squash next year.