Wow, so much has happened in this past week! For starters, I graduated from college. These past four years I have been studying for my Bachelors Degree in Health and Environmental Studies at Luther College in the cute little town of Decorah, Iowa. I know what you are thinking... why the heck did I go to Iowa? Well, this place is beautiful... not your average flat, endless corn-field Iowa. Decorah has endless bluffs, springs, valleys... it's beautiful. If you ever have the chance to visit this place... do it! Decorah is like the mecca of local foods too... A-mazing! Aaand, it is home to the best little food cooperative I have ever set foot in! I can honestly say that the saddest thing about leaving this little town is that (besides no longer living near some of the best gals anyone could ever meet - ahem, Anna, Julia, and Steph!), I am no longer a member of the Oneota Community Food Coop... removing my membership from this amazing coop was so sad that it actually brought tears to my eyes. Yes, I can be emotional at times, but still... this was a big deal!

So now I am settled back into my little apartment in Hopkins, Minnesota and am very happy to have my kitchen and kitten back. She's such a goof...

So of course, with graduation season here and all, there are cakes abound! Wahoo! My boyfriend's little brother is graduating from high school this year, so I will be making the graduation cake for his party during the first weekend of June. He requested a marble cake and since I have a wicked awesome chocolate cake recipe, I wanted to make sure it went well when 'marbled' (yep, making a new term up here!) with my yellow cake recipe. Ooooh I loove experimenting in the kitchen!!

In my mind, the moistness of a cake can make or break it... basically, cakes are never moist or chocolatey (yep, another new word) enough. So a while back, when I originally started putting my chocolate cake recipe together, I made sure that I took care of that problem!

Being that I am such a chocolaholic, I have not used my yellow cake recipe as much as the chocolate cake recipe... which means I also needed to experiment a bit more with the yellow cake recipe. The key to making my chocolate cake so moist is the hot coffee (and it has to be hot!). I have found that by adding this pippin' hot ingredient, not only does using coffee accent the rich chocolate flavor of the cake, but the high temperature also helps blend all the dry ingredients together.

I believe so strongly in this hot coffee technique, that I'm even using the last of my Oneota Coop coffee beans. Ahh!

I knew I either wanted to add hot milk or hot coffee and in the end, I decided to go with the coffee because, well... how awesome if the secret ingredient in my yellow cake could be coffee?! (F.Y.I. - I love coffee)

In the end however, I found that while adding hot coffee to your yellow cake recipe does improve the moistness, it also dampens the flavor the cake gets from the eggs... making the yellow cake not taste so much like a yellow cake. It's tasty, but it's not yellow cake. So, I will be using hot milk the next time I make yellow cake.

So the next day, after the cake had a night to rest, I began the fondant expedition! Some of you may remember my previous fiasco with fondant, and for those of you who have no idea what I'm talking about... good. Lets keep it that way! One of my first blog posts documents that horrific fiasco... yikes. All I am going to say is that it was bad and you should never try to take the easy way out when making fondant. Anyway, I now have the proper ingredients (glucose syrup and glycerin), which made all the difference.

I have heard that you can use corn syrup in place of the glucose syrup but after my last fiasco, I didn't want to cut any corners. The biggest key to workable fondant is that you don't knead the fondant for too long - the fondant will begin to crack and will lose its play-doh like qualities.

Also, be careful with the food coloring. A little goes a long way. I went with neon blue for this cake and it only took five drops to accomplish this orchid-blue... yay!

Once I finished draping fondant onto the cake, I decided to play around with some Ghirardelli chocolate... because I just couldn't resist.

Although this cake was mainly used as a test run for my marble cake and fondant recipe, I had to decorate it. Using wax paper that's been taped to a paper printed with my template, I put melted Ghirardelli chocolates into a squeeze bottle and traced the template onto wax paper. A word of advice: it is best to use candy melts to do this but since I loove the taste of these 60% cocoa chips, I couldn't resist! (the candy melts will dry hard and stay that way, but the cocoa chips take forever to set and will easily melt at room temperature or when touched).

By the way, my kitten Lila has a fortress on top of the cabinets in the kitchen. She watched this whole process. She thinks I'm crazy.

The next decoration on this cake was not edible, but I was getting tired and am not great at making edible flowers (not yet anyway! - I will be attending a class on this soon, yay!).

I used pins and artificial flowers...

They turned out well. I put golden luster dust on the cake and the flowers... it looks better in person than in the pictures...

Lastly, I wrapped a little yellow streamer around the bottom half of the cake's rim to match the golden luster dust. I have been obsessed with combining yellow and blue lately.

There you have it! I finally put together a reliable, from-scratch fondant recipe. Ta-da!!

1 comment:

Brandon said...

The cake was super moist and the marble turned out really well. It disappeared quickly!

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