Herbert the Baby Hippo Cake

img_6092

I’ve continued my animal cake series with my favorite animal…a hippo! In my opinion, hippos are the true king of the jungle. They are amazing for many reasons, but my favorite is that they secret a fluid from their skin that acts as a sunscreen, helps them regulate their temperature, and gives them a somewhat purplish hue.

To make Herbet, I used a purple vanilla cake base, purple and blue buttercream, and fondant! I wanted him to look like he was just peaking his head up out of the water. The recipe and instructions can be found below:

Vanilla Cake Batter:

  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick), room temperature
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup egg whites (about 3 large egg whites)
  • 3/4 cups buttermilk, room temperature
  • 2 tsp. vegetable oil
  • 5 drops purple gel food coloring
  • 1/2 drop of black gel food coloring (I used a toothpick to control the amount added)

Vanilla Buttercream:

  • 4 sticks (2 cups) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 8 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 Tbsp. heavy cream
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 3 drops purple gel food coloring
  • 1/2 drop of black gel food coloring (I used a toothpick to control the amount added)
  • 3 drops light blue food coloring (for water)

Fondant Accents:

  • white fondant (tusks)
  • black fondant (eyes)
  • purple fondant (ears and nostrils)
  • toothpicks
  • parchment paper

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and line three 4″ round pans, and a 7 inch dome baking pan.

Mix together all dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt) in a stand mixer with a paddle until fully combined.Mix chunks of butter slowly into the dry mix on a low speed. Continue to mix until no chunks of butter remain, and the mixture becomes crumbly. In a separate bowl, combine all wet ingredients (vanilla extract, egg whites, buttermilk, and vegetable oil), and whisk to combine. On low speed, add 1/3 of the liquid ingredients to the dry/butter mixture. Mix until fully incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.Mix in the remaining wet ingredients in two installments, on a medium-high speed until fully incorporated. Add in gel food coloring, and mix until batter is evenly colored.

Fill the dome baking pan about 3 inches deep with batter, and divide the remaining batter evenly between the round pans. Bake the round baking pans for about 15 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean. Bake the dome for 1 hour and 10 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean. Allow to cool for 10 minutes, then run an offset spatula around perimeter of the pan to separate the cake from the pan. Place cake layers on a rack to finish cooling.

While the layers bake,  make the fondant cake decorations. Roll out purple fondant and black fondant to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut out two thick purple circles, and shape into the nostrils. Use black fondant to also make small circles for the eyes. For the ears, cut out 2 fondant circles, that are 1 inch in diameter. Pinch the bottom half of the circle together, and seal the together with a bit of water. Insert a toothpick into each ear.  Roll out the white fondant, and cut out two rectangles for the tusks. Place prepared fondant onto parchment paper to allow it to firm.

mvi_6075_moment

Next, prepare the frosting. Beat the butter on high for 30 seconds with a paddle attachment, until smooth. Slowly add in the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time. Alternate with cream, adding 1 tablespoon at a time. Once fully mixed, add in the vanilla and salt, and beat on medium low until the ingredients are fully incorporated, and the desired consistency is reached. Put 1/4 of the frosting into a separate bowl. Mix a few drops of blue food coloring into this bowl. Mix in the purple and black gel food coloring into the other bowl, until the frosting is uniformly colored a dark purple. If the frosting is too thick, add in cream (1 teaspoon at a time). If the frosting is too thin, add in more powdered sugar (quarter of a cup at a time).

To assemble the cake, frost and stack each round cake layer with the purple buttercream, adding sprinkles between each layer. Freeze cake for 5 minutes to allow the crumb coat to set, then use remaining frosting to add a second layer of frosting. Smooth with a bench scrapper.

mvi_6071_moment

Using the 4 inch cake pan as a guide, cut out a half circle from the cake dome, so that it can fit around the 4 inch cake layers that you’ve frosted. Apply buttercream around the cake dome, and smooth using an acetate sheet. Secure fondant accents to the cake using buttercream and/or toothpicks. Then add the blue buttercream around the cake base to be the water.

img_6092

Advertisements

Easy Baby Pig Cake

img_5674

I’ve recently started an animal cake series, and am finally getting around to sharing the recipes! The first cake I made was an adorable little pig, which I decided to name Penelope. I used a vanilla cake base, pink buttercream, and added some chocolate ganache and chocolate bits between the layers, because pigs can be a bit dirty!! The recipe and instructions can be found below:

Vanilla Cake Batter:

  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick), room temperature
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup egg whites (about 3 large egg whites)
  • 3/4 cups buttermilk, room temperature
  • 2 tsp. vegetable oil
  • 2 drops pink gel food coloring
  • 1/2 cup chocolate ganache (optional for filling)
  • 1/2 cup chopped chocolate (optional for filling)

Vanilla Buttercream:

  • 4 sticks (2 cups) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 8 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 Tbsp. heavy cream
  • 2 tsp vanilla

Fondant Accents:

  • pink fondant (1/2 pound)
  • black fondant (1/4 pound)
  • toothpicks
  • parchment paper
  • cylindrical object for tail

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and line four 6″ round pans.

Mix together all dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt) in a stand mixer with a paddle until fully combined.Mix chunks of butter slowly into the dry mix on a low speed. Continue to mix until no chunks of butter remain, and the mixture becomes crumbly. In a separate bowl, combine all wet ingredients (vanilla extract, egg whites, buttermilk, and vegetable oil), and whisk to combine. On low speed, add 1/3 of the liquid ingredients to the dry/butter mixture. Mix until fully incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.Mix in the remaining wet ingredients in two installments, on a medium-high speed until fully incorporated. Add in gel food coloring, and mix until batter is evenly colored.

Divide evenly between the prepared cake pans. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean. Allow to cool for 10 minutes, then run an offset spatula around perimeter of the pan to separate the cake from the pan. Place cake layers on a rack to finish cooling.

While the layers bake,  make the fondant cake decorations. Roll out pink fondant and black fondant to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut out an oval shape for the snout using pink fondant, and add two small black circle for the nostrils. Use black fondant to also make small circles for the eyes. For the ears, cut out 2 fondant squares, that are 1.5 in. x 1.5 inches. Pull two of the corners diagonally into the center of the square, and seal the together with a bit of water (I used a light wet, very small paint brush). Cut off excess fondant on the bottom, and insert two toothpicks into each ear. For the tail, roll out a long strip of pink fondant, and wrap it in a spiral around a small cylindrical object (I used a thin bottle). Place prepared fondant onto parchment paper to allow it to firm.

mvi_5668_moment Next, prepare the frosting. Beat the butter on high for 30 seconds with a paddle attachment, until smooth. Slowly add in the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time. Alternate with cream, adding 1 tablespoon at a time. Once fully mixed, add in the vanilla and salt, and beat on medium low until the ingredients are fully incorporated, and the desired consistency is reached. Mix in the single drop of pink gel food coloring (I wanted the frosting to be a pale pink, and found that one drop was plenty)until the frosting is uniformly colored. If the frosting is too thick, add in cream (1 teaspoon at a time). If the frosting is too thin, add in more powdered sugar (quarter of a cup at a time).

mvi_5663_momentTo assemble the cake, frost each cake layer with buttercream, adding ganache and chopped up chocolate chunks between each layer. Repeat with all cake layers, then apply a crumb coat. Freeze cake for 5 minutes to allow the crumb coat to set, then use remaining frosting to add a second layer of frosting. Smooth with a bench scrapper. Secure fondant accents to the cake using buttercream and/or toothpicks.

img_5674

Magical Unicorn Cake

IMG_5644 (3).JPG

Unicorns have taken the internet by storm! I am a big fan of bright colors and sparkles, and knew this was a trend I wanted to jump on. I decided to make colorful cake layers with a fluffy vanilla buttercream, and decorate it with a swirled pink horn, bright buttercream accents, and some edible gold dust! You can see the full tutorial on my YouTube channel.

To visualize how I wanted to decorate this cake, I decided to the first step was to sketch out the design on my new baking table made with Formica® Writable Surfaces in the ImagiGrid design!

mvi_5620_moment-5I love this surface, it’s super durable and versatile, and I love being able to sketch on my countertop using the 1” grid as a guide!!! It makes me feel like a kid again 🙂

Using a dry erase marker, I drew the below picture of how I envisioned this cake to turn out. It’s the perfect surface for jotting down quick notes, doodling or in my case, planning my next baking endeavor. It can be used on table like mine or in any room in the home in places like backsplashes, cabinets, doors, walls and more. Check it out here: http://www.formica.com/en/us/landing-pages/residential-launch/2017/new-collection

 

Once I finished my sketch, I began baking my cake layers! The recipes I used can be found below:

Colorful Vanilla Cake Batter:

  • 3 1/4 cup flour
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks), room temperature
  • 3 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup egg whites (about 7 large egg whites)
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk, room temperature
  • 1/8 cup vegetable oil
  • blue, yellow, pink, and purple gel food coloring (4 drops each)

Vanilla Buttercream:

  • 6 sticks (3 cups) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 12 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 3 tsp vanilla
  • blue, yellow, pink, purple,and black gel food coloring (2 drops each)

Additional Decorating Supplies:

  • 1 cup pink fondant
  • 1 cup white fondant
  • 1cm wooden dowel
  • 4 toothpicks
  • pizza cutter

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and line four seven-inch round pans. Mix together all dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt) in a stand mixer with a paddle attachment until fully combined. Mix chunks of butter slowly on a low speed. Continue to mix until the mixture becomes crumbly, and the butter is well incorporated into the dry ingredients.

In a separate bowl, combine the wet ingredients (vanilla extract, egg whites, buttermilk, and vegetable oil), and whisk to combine. On low speed, add 1/3 of the liquid ingredients to the dry/butter mixture. Mix until fully incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Mix in the remaining wet ingredients in two installments, on a medium-high speed until fully incorporated.

Divide evenly into four bowls, and color each bowl a different color with 2 drops of gel food coloring. Pour batter into prepared cake pans. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean. Allow to cool for 10 minutes, then run an offset spatula around perimeter of the pan to separate the cake from the pan. Place cake layers on a rack to finish cooling.

While the cake layers bake, make the unicorn horn and ears. It’s important to prep these a couple hours before you decorate the cake, so that they have time to dry. Roll out 1/2 a cup of fondant into a horn like shape that is about 6 inches long, and insert thick wooden dowel into the horn. On a cutting board, roll out 1/3 cup of fondant into long, thin strips. very lightly wet one side of the strips, and then wrap them around the horn in a swirl pattern. Roll out remaining white and pink fondant 1/4 inch thick, and cut out the ears. I made two cardboard cut-outs, to ensure that my ears were uniformly sized. Set aside on parchment paper to harden.

mvi_5602_moment

Next, prepare the vanilla frosting! Beat the butter on high for 30 seconds with a paddle attachment, until smooth. Slowly add in the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time. Alternate with small splashes of cream. Once fully mixed, add in the vanilla and salt. Beat on medium low until the ingredients are fully incorporated, and the desired consistency is reached. If the frosting is too thick, add in additional cream (1 teaspoon at a time). If the frosting is too thin, add in more powdered sugar (quarter of a cup at a time).

Put 3/4 cup of frosting into four different bowls, and coloring them to match the cake layers (blue, pink, yellow, purple). Place 1/4 cup of frosting into a different bowl, and color black. This frosting will be used for the unicorns eyes, and can be placed into a piping bag with a small round tip. Put the other colored frosting into piping bags with various frosting tips. You can use whatever tips you have on hand! I used a Wilton 1M for the pink, an atecco 22 for the blue, a wilton 4D for the purple, and an atecco 16 for the yellow. Leave the remaining white frosting in your bowl to frost the cake layers.

mvi_5610_moment

Once your cake layers have fully cooled, it’s time to assemble the cake!! Stack them, and apply a thick, fluffy layer of frosting between each layer. Then apply a crumb coat, and let the cake chill in the freezer for about 10 minutes. Use some of the remaining buttercream to add a second coat of frosting, and smooth with a cake bench. Once the buttercream is smoothed, insert the ears and horn into the cake. Then add on swirls of colorful buttercream, to create the mane of the unicorn. Using the black buttercream, pipe on eyes. I like to use a circle shaped cookie cutter to create an outline before I pipe. The last step is to sprinkle on some edible gold dust.

The best part is cutting into this colorful cake! The layers really pop!!

mvi_5655_moment-2

Thank you Formica Group for the baking table made with a Formica® Writable Surface. I can’t wait to sketch out my next project!!

mvi_5693_moment

img_5755