I guess if you have been following my Festive bakes post, I am about to post number 3!
This cake is in honour of my little niece who turned 100 days or 3 months. I am not sure why this is significant as I always thought the 1st birthday was the big one however it was her Baptism day, so that is a call for cake!
Well I am particularly proud of this because I did most of the dessert bar by myself! (with a lot of help and direction by my sister). Also reporting this event because the topper on the cake turned out better than I expected. You would understand my pain if you ever tried to work with fondant in warm weather. Melting and sticky, frosting mess everywhere…
I have done a desert bar before for her but I have not reported on it. Basically I was not proud of it but if you want a look. This photo of it I think my sister took of it on the day (I had to be a University). As you can see this is where all the inspiration from pinterest comes to meet in a pretty celebration of yellow, balloons and elephants. Really sorry about the quality here too (stole it from facebook)
Anyway I think my sister has gotten on the band wagon for wanting to conduct a dessert bar/party thing for any major celebration. She had so many ideas for her baby shower a few months back, that her enthusiasm for Lily’s 100 days is expected.
Inspired by the symbolic nature of the wishing well and hot air balloons, she wanted me re-create a hot air balloon themed cake. Of course a lot of inspiration for this was drawn from Pinterest (What the hell did we do before this??) but the design of the topper is completely my own.
Yes that is a bunny and bear in the basket. I am not too sure why I choose them but I have a particular love of shaping fondant into animals. I might suck at trying to cover cakes in the stuff but molding it in to cute things is actually fun.
I am sorry that I did not take any professional shots of this cake. I was so popped from doing the cake and other things that all I wanted to do was eat it
(destroy it). So all these shots where done on the day (BLAH!). I am really sorry about the quality of them; I am not experienced in the real life, unset up photography ( I swear how do these people do it???)
Also there were macarons and candy (really a party would not be complete with these would they?)
The things on this dessert bar were some cupcakes, cookie pops, candy pops, macarons, decorated fondant biscuits and cake. The base cake here measures about 22cm high, which is almond and peach fruit cake (which I will write up here) and filled with and covered a white chocolate ganche. When I get a chance to make this cake again I will post a professional picture of the inside (sorry again!) The top cake measure about 15cm high (not including the basket). The basket is fondant the balloon is a sphere of Styrofoam covered in a layer of fondant. I also molded the all the details on the balloon by guess work and a lot of luck.
The cookie pops are a simple butter cut out dough which you can find here by Nigella Lawson. After me and sister cut out cloud shapes and place them on cookie sticks to bake. After we painted them with a bit of royal icing and stuck a cloud shaped white piece of fondant on top with the words “lily” printed into them.
The balloon cookies were a bit of last minute thing but they were done in the same way as the cookie pops; but instead I did a line pattern and studded the intersections with a sugar pearl.
The hot air balloon candy pops are simply melted yellow candy melts in a hot air balloon shape. I think My sister got them online but I ask her and update you on where she got it if you are interested.
We also made vanilla cupcakes which are covered in a thin royal icing them topped with a Peanut butter cup and tiny shaped fondant clouds on top. The balloon is made from shaping a piece of oval fondant around a cake pop stick which is glued together with royal icing. Very clever sister for these!
The cake for this is really easy and is very tasty. The key here is to cream the butter really well and to use TOASTED almond meal in place of some of the flour. This help with the moisture retain in the cake but the flavor combines with the pieces of soft peach in the cake. Simply if you want a cake that would wow people without too much work; this is for you. This recipe would make two 20cm layer cakes but I had to triple it for mine.
The parents both really love it and so did the guest. As a baker that is all I can ever hope for when I people taste my food. You might not want to take on a whole dessert but I am sure you and friends can band together and make one or two foods each. Like they say two hands are better than one!
Butter milk almond and peach cake
Based on cake from taste.com
Makes 2 x 20cm round
220 g unsalted butter, soft
200 g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
3 eggs, whisked in a small bowl.
180g plain flour
60g Toasted almond meal
2 tsp baking powder
1tsp baking soda
300ml butter milk, room temp
3 ripe peaches, de stoned and cut into 2cm dice
40g whole almonds finely chopped
Preheat oven to 170°C.
Grease and line the base of a 20cm spring form cake pan.
Shift the almond meal, flour, baking powder and baking soda in a medium bowl. Set aside.
In a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar in a bowl mix until light and fluffy (takes about 7 minutes). Add the vanilla, then beat again for 30 seconds. Scrape the bowl down. With the mixer running, pour the eggs in a thin stream in to the stand mixer.
Alternate between folding in the flour and butter milk. Mix until barely combined.
Fold in the peaches and nuts.
Divide the mix into your lined tins and bake for 30 minutes or until the skewer when placed in the middle comes clean.
White chocolate ganche
500g white chocolate, shaved
400g pouring cream
In a medium sauce pan, bring the cream to boil. Pour the hot cream over the white chocolate in a heat proof bowl. Allow to sit for 30 seconds. Using a plastic spatula, slowly work the cream and chocolate together until it is fully combined. Allow to cool to room temp than transfer to the fridge for 2 hours.
Once cool, beat with an electric whisk till fluffy (2 minutes for me). Use as an icing for the cake above.