Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Fun with fondant

I've been neglectful. And my excuses are lame. I went up to my friend Jen's house last night and learned to make arepas (Venuzuelan corn cake/sandwich things) while she photographed and blogged it. So here I am, inspired.

Life has been a little rough, as I try to get my PhD project started while not really having a good reason to do one in the first place. Whatever. I'm here, I'm having fun and learning. What else do I need? Sometimes, all I need is an attitude adjustment. Or baking therapy. In the meantime, I've been playing video games, sightseeing Denver, elk bugling listening in Rocky Mountain National Park, and running with a group of lovely ladies.
My awesome running pals, post-half

I made some fondant in August, and it's been sitting in my freezer pondering its fate for the last two months. The original plan was to make a "wedding cake" for our first anniversary of Colorado life, a la common-law marriage, but that didn't happen. AP is having a birthday potluck tomorrow, so I figured the time is now. For fondant, that is, not weddings.
I asked AP what kind of cake she was into, and she said "all kinds." So I consulted my ridiculous baking book by Marcy Goldman which has absurdly decadent recipes. Perfect for sharing with a house-full of party-minded people. Flipping through, I was entranced by her Italian Cream Wedding Cake. Maybe it was the long name with the pleasant associations. Italy. Wedding. Cream. Maybe it was the pastry cream, which I am particularly partial too. Actually, this is a fake-out. My co-baker and I decided that the fluffy, divine creamy layers wouldn't stand up to the abuse of fondant, so we changed to chocolate layer cake. You can make this with just frosting, or top it with fondant afterwards.
Chocolate Layer Cake
adapted from A Passion for Baking
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  1. Preheat to 350F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round cake pans.
  2. Cream butter and sugar. Stir in eggs and vanilla. Whisk together dry ingredients in separate bowl and add alternately with buttermilk and sour cream. Blend together until incorporated. Pour into pans
  3. Bake 35-40 minutes. Cool in pan
  4. When cool, frost decorate
Cream Cheese Frosting
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup cream cheese, softened
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • milk as needed for consistency
  1. Mix everything together, and adjust consistency with milk and powdered sugar.
  2. Frost middle, sides, and tops of layer cake.
if looked really nasty before the fondant went on. eiw.
but better after, if a little baby-showerish.