Thursday, July 29, 2010

Megan and Dusty's Wedding Cake

It was wedding time again in our family--this time was my niece Megan's turn. Her colors were black and white with hot pink accents. She found a cake design she liked and all I had to do was copy it.

It was 4 tiers tall: 6", 10", 14", and 18" squares. The bottom tier was actually a styrofoam layer since they didn't need that much cake. I did the 6" and 14" layers in a butter-almond cake with layers of rasberry filling and vanilla buttercream. The 10" layer was a chocolate cake with layers of chocolate ganache and vanilla buttercream. I was very happy with how moist the cakes stayed even when I had to assemble them 2 days before the wedding.

This is a before-flowers shot after I had finished all the decorating. I did all the black detailing using chocolate royal icing that I dyed black--dyeing it black was more of a challenge than I anticipated, but after adding extra cocoa powder to my frosting and a full large tub of black food coloring paste, I finally got it black. Luckily it was only for the outside detailing, because it sure tasted aweful with all that food coloring in it.

Being from the same Disney-loving family that my last wedding cake went to, I had to keep tradition by hiding a hidden mickey on the cake. It was pretty obvious, but I stuck it in the back to make it a little more inconspicuous.

Megan's fiance Dusty didn't want to be left out from the special additions, so he requested a hidden Y on the cake, since he is an avid BYU sports fan. This is the best I could do while still keeping with the scroll design.

And here's the cute couple cutting the cake. We are very excited to have Dusty join our family.(Don't mind my nephew's head sticking out from behind the cake.)

It was another wonderful wedding. We really enjoyed the day full of celebration and are very happy for Megan and Dusty to begin their life together as an eternal family.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

4th of July Pavlova

I know you may not believe it, but I do like to make things sometimes other than cake. This 4th of July I decided to take a basic pavlova recipe and turn it into an American flag. This is super easy to do, and very yummy (if you like meringue, which I LOVE!).

First make a basic meringue shell. I doubled the recipe I had since I had 6 egg whites on hand instead of 3 that it calls for. To make this size cake you probably want more than one recipe, but a full double is a little too much, unless you like your meringue shell really thick (which I do, so no harm done there). Here is the recipe for the shell (modified from a recipe found in Good Housekeeping Best Recipes 1998):
3 large egg whites
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 c sugar

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 275 F. Beat egg whites, cream of tartar, and salt on high until whites begin to mound. Continue beating on high speed while adding the vanilla and gradually adding in the sugar, 2 T at a time, beating well after each addition, until all the sugar is completely dissolved, and the meringue forms stiff, glossy peaks when beaters are lifted.

Spoon meringue onto the parchment lined cookie sheet, and spread it out into a rectangle (however big you want your flag). I like to make the edges a little higher than the rest of the shell.
Bake meringue for 1 hour 15 min. Then turn off oven, but leave the meringue inside the warm oven for an additional hour to dry out. Then remove from oven and transfer meringue and parchment paper to cooling rack to cool completely.
At this point you can store the shell in an airtight container for a few days, or fill and serve that day, but once filled you should eat it fairly soon.

Now here is where you can go the easy route or a little more difficult route--the filling. There are many different variations out there for a pavlova filling--recipes using sw/cond milk, yogurt, heavy cream, etc. I choose this time to simply fill it with a tub of cool whip, although I have a lime pavlova recipe that is super yummy that I usually use. Simply spread the filling in your shell.

Then the fun decorating part takes place. Using sliced strawberries and blueberries, turn your pavlova into a patriotic American Flag, perfect for the 4th of July, flag day, veteran's day, President's day, or any other day you feel like. You could also shape the meringue into a heart for Valentines day, or and egg for many fun possibilities.