Star Wars Mini Doughnuts – Part I: Stormtroopers & Ewoks

star wars doughnutsWell it’s here, Star Wars Day! Every year I try to make some sort of Star Wars themed food to celebrate Star Wars Day. In case you didn’t know, it’s on May 4th because it plays on the phrase, “May the force be with you”. Get it? Like “May the Fourth be with you?” What I love the most about Star Wars is how it is intergenerational and timeless. Plus, there are so many characters and worlds that it’s hard to become bored with the series.
doughnutsAfter talking about hybrid food that involves doughnuts in my last post, I could not get them out of my head. But of course I couldn’t just make regular doughnuts; I had to try my hand at decorating doughnuts. To make them even cuter, I went down a size to mini doughnuts. It was tough to figure out which characters to do because there are so many to choose from, but I decided to go with the classics: Yoda, Princess Leia, Chewbacca, Stormtroopers and Ewoks.
ombre doughnutsI think if the doughnuts were bigger, it would’ve been easier to do the details but since they were tiny, it was pretty time consuming to do everything. I was working with teeny tiny holes in my piping bag that kept clogging up with chocolate that hardened too quickly and tiny black pearl eyes that wouldn’t stay on the faces. And because they have more detail than I originally expected, I’m breaking up the post into two parts: a how to of Stormtroopers and Ewoks on this one, and Princess Leia, Yoda and Chewbacca on the next one.
how to make stormtrooper doughnutsThe doughnut recipe I used tastes like a classic old fashioned doughnut thanks to the ground nutmeg. Fresh ground nutmeg is key here. As someone who is guilty of buying a whole jar of spice for one recipe and then never touching it again for years, I highly recommend you buy the nutmeg whole since it will last you pretty much forever (as long as you keep it in a cool, dry place). storm trooper donutsThe recipe I used will make a small batch, so small that you can use a simple hand held mixer for it. Oh, and remember not to overfill your pan or your doughnut will not look like a doughnut. It will look more like a tiny bunt cake. Once they’re covered in chocolate, they taste like the highly addictive Pop’ems. They’re addictive and so easy to eat, it’s a little dangerous.
how to make ewok doughnutsDisposable piping bags and plastic cups are your best friends for this project, especially if you plan on tackling more than two characters in one time. Melted chocolate is so annoying to clean off, it’s just not worth the pain if you have to wash off more than 6 colors worth of bowls. The part of me that cares about the environment did cry a little, but in the end laziness and convenience won out. 🙂
ewok donuts

Here are some other Star Wars posts that I’ve done:
BB-8 Cake Pops
Star Wars Rebel Party
Star Wars Day 2014

Star Wars Mini Doughnuts – Part I: Stormtroopers & Ewoks

For the Stormtrooper Doughnuts:

You will need:

mini doughnuts (recipe below)
white candy melts
black candy melts
silver dragées

Instructions:

  1. Melt white candy melts in a small cup, or a bowl.
  2. Dip one side of doughnut into the melted candy melt. (as shown in picture #1)
  3. Place two small dots of black candy melt on the bottom half of the doughnut. (as shown in picture #2)
  4. Before the black candy melt sets, put two small silver dragees on it. (as shown in picture #3)
  5. Draw a thin horizontal line in the middle of the doughnut with the black candy melt. (as shown in picture #4)
  6. Draw a black thin horizontal line on the top of the doughnut, about an eight of the way down. (as shown in picture #5)
  7. Draw two black semi circles below the black top line. (as shown in picture #6)
  8. Draw a small black triangle in between the two semi circles. (as shown in picture #7)
  9. Mix a little of the black candy melt into the white candy melt to make a gray candy melt.
  10. Place two stripes on either side of the doughnut. (as shown in picture #8)
  11. Place two small dots on either side of the small triangle. (as shown in picture #9)

For the Ewok Doughnuts:

You will need:

mini doughnuts (recipe below)
light brown candy melts
orange candy melts
brown candy melts
black pearls
gray candy melts

Instructions:

  1. Dip the top half of the doughnut into a cup/bowl of melted light brown candy melt. (as shown in picture #1)
  2. Once the light brown candy melt sets, dip the bottom half of the doughnut into a cup/bowl of melted orange candy melt. (as shown in picture #1)
  3. Once the orange candy melt sets, dip the outer top half of the doughnut into melted orange candy melt. (as shown in picture #2)
  4. Pipe a small round of brown candy melt in the center of the top of the doughnut. (as shown in picture #2)
  5. While the candy melt sets, pipe small round dots of brown candy melt on parchment paper.
  6. Attach the small brown dots to the top of the doughnut. (as shown in picture #3)
  7. Place two small dots of brown candy melts and place two black pearls (as shown in picture #4)
  8. Pipe one long curve and three short lines along the curve with gray candy melt. (as shown in picture #5)

Classic Baked Doughnut Recipe
makes about 3 dozen mini doughnuts

Ingredients:

2 tbsp. unsalted butter
2 tbsp. vegetable oil
¼ c. granulated sugar
3 tbsp. brown sugar
1 large egg
¾ tsp. baking powder
⅛ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. fresh ground nutmeg
¼ tsp. kosher salt
½ tsp. vanilla extract
1 ⅓ c. all-purpose flour
½ c. whole milk

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven 350˚F. Spray non-stick cooking spray on your mini doughnut pan.
  2. In a medium bowl, whip butter, vegetable oil, and both sugars with a hand-held mixer until smooth.
  3. Mix in egg and milk until completely combined.
  4. Stir in baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, salt and vanilla.
  5. Stir in flour until smooth, do not over mix.
  6. In a piping bag, fitted with a medium round tip, fill each doughnut cavity about ½ full.
  7. Bake 5-7 minutes until the doughnuts spring back when you touch it. Do not wait until the doughnut is golden brown, you will over bake it.
  8. Let cool in pan about 5 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to completely cool.
  9. Repeat steps 6-8 until all of the batter is used.

Doughnut recipe adapted from King Arthur Flour.

Croquembouche with Vanilla Orange Blossom Pastry Cream

Croquembouche with Vanilla Orange Blossom Pastry CreamThere are a few things every experienced baker thinks of trying in their lifetime. They are recipes that are known to be notoriously finicky and difficult, usually French. The kind of desserts you buy at the bakery because it’s not worth the trouble making in your own kitchen. One of these recipes is the croquembouche. In fact, if you google “difficult desserts to make”, the croquembouche makes the list almost every time.
pate a choux cream puffsSo what is a croquembouche? I would describe it as a tower of caramelized cream puffs, held together only by caramel and covered by delicate sugar threads. It’s definitely looks impressive and I can see why some people would choose one over a traditional wedding cake. Plus, that crunch of the caramel over the cream puff is really delicious. Almost like a crème brûlée wrapped up in a cream puff.
ombre cream puffsThis was a trial run that I did before a friend’s bridal shower and I learned that it takes a lot of time if you try to do it all in one day. What I did learn was that it’s not very difficult if you divide the work between three days. If you make the pastry cream two days before, and bake the cream puffs the day before and fill, dip and assemble it the day of, it is quite manageable in a decent amount of time. Here are my thoughts on the process:
croqeumbouche1) I think the most difficult/scary part of making this is the hot caramel. I am not embarrassed to admit that I burned my fingers a few times while making this. Have a bowl of ice water on hand just in case you do burn yourself. Your gut reaction may be to put the finger in your mouth to cool it (at least mine was), but that will not help the burn. Take your time when dipping the creampuff into the caramel, and if the cream puff gets stuck in the sugar, then use a spoon to fish it out. DO NOT attempt to take it out using your fingers. This is not something that can be done in a hurry, so make sure you have plenty of time before doing this step.
croqeumbouche2) No matter how carefully and evenly you try to pipe the pâte à choux (the cream puff batter), you will end up with unique looking cream puffs. At first, you may be disappointed, but the funny shapes come in handy later on when you’re assembling the croquembouche. It becomes kind of like a game of Tetris, where you try to find that perfect piece to fit that nook.
croqeumbouche3) The most fun part is making the sugar threads. When the caramel is somewhat cool, you take your fork and spin it around the croquembouche making a fine web of sugar strings. It makes you feel like a spider and you can do as much or as little as you like.
croqeumbouche4) I tried to put fondant flowers on it and realized it was not worth it. The fine sugar threads harden as soon as they touch the cream puffs and there is no way for the fondant to stick to it. I just wedged it in between the gaps that were created. I wouldn’t recommend trying it. It wasn’t worth the work.

Croquembouche with Vanilla Orange Blossom Pastry Cream
Makes 1 medium-sized croquembouche

For the pâte à choux:

Ingredients:
1 c. water
4 oz. (1 stick) unsalted butter
½ tsp. salt
1 ½ tsp. granulated sugar
1 c. all-purpose flour
4-5 large eggs, plus an extra egg for the egg wash

Instructions:

  1. Line baking sheets with parchment paper and preheat the oven to 425˚F.
  2. In a large saucepan, bring the water, butter, salt, and sugar to a boil.
  3. Once the mixture reaches a boil, remove pan from heat and dump in flour at once and quickly stir with a wooden spoon.
  4. Once all the flour is incorporated, return the pan to the heat and cook the mixture for 30-60 seconds by continuing to stir the mixture with a wooden spoon until a thin film forms on the bottom of the pan.
  5. Move the dough into a mixing bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix for about 1-3 minutes until the dough is cool enough for you to stick your finger in. After that point, add 4 eggs, one at a time until incorporated. If the dough does not fall off the paddle in a “V” shape, add the fifth egg.
  6. In a pastry bag fitted with a large plain piping tip, pipe 1 inch circles of dough.
  7. In a separate bowl, make an egg wash by mixing 1 egg and 1 ½ tsp. water with a fork until well mixed.
  8. Use a pastry brush and lightly brush dough with your egg wash, brushing down any peaks you may have formed when you piped out the dough.
  9. Bake your cream puffs one baking sheet at a time in the center rack of your oven. Bake for 7 minutes and reduce the heat to 375˚F and bake for 10 minutes until golden brown.
  10. As soon as they come out of the oven, poke holes in each puff with a toothpick to release trapped steam.
  11. Once cool, use a small star pastry tip to make holes on the bottom of all the puffs

For the vanilla orange blossom pastry cream:

Ingredients:

4 c. whole milk
1 c. granulated sugar, divided
3 egg yolks
2 large eggs
½ c. corn starch
1 pinch of salt
4 tbsp. unsalted butter
2 tsp. vanilla extract
¼ tsp. orange blossom water

Instructions:

  1. In a large saucepan, bring milk and ½ c. sugar to a boil.
  2. While the milk is heating, whisk egg yolks, eggs, ½ c. sugar, cornstarch and salt in a medium mixing bowl.
  3. When the milk boils, slowly add milk to the egg mixture while whisking, one ladleful at a time.
  4. Once half of the milk mixture is added, add the egg mixture back into the milk mixture.
  5. Continuously whisk the mixture over medium heat until the cream thickens.
  6. Once thickened, take the mixture off the heat and mix in the butter until completely incorporated.
  7. Stir in the vanilla extract and orange blossom water.
  8. Strain the mixture through a sieve and place a piece of plastic wrap directly on top of the pastry cream to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until ready for use.

For the caramel:

Ingredients:

2 ½ c. granulated sugar
2 tbsp. light corn syrup
½ c. water

Instructions:

  1. Prepare a metal bowl with ice water.
  2. In a saucepan, boil sugar, corn syrup and water until light amber. Do not stir while the sugar is cooking, it can cause crystals.
  3. Once the caramel becomes light amber, place pan into the ice water to prevent further cooking and cool the caramel.

Assembly:

  1. Place a 5 ½ inch cake board on a sheet of parchment paper.
  2. Fill the cream puffs with the pastry cream.
  3. Dip the top of each cream puff into the hot caramel, reheating it if caramel becomes too hard to dip. (CAUTION: Be careful not to touch the hot caramel, the hot sugar will stick to your skin and burn you. Keep a bowl of ice water on hand just in case to cool the burn asap.)
  4. Use the larger cream puffs for the bottom of the croqeumbouche.
  5. Dip the bottom of the first creampuff and stick to the outside of the cake board.
  6. Dip the next cream puff on the bottom and to the side, to stick to cream puff that is already on the cake board. Repeat the process until the first layer is done.
  7. When doing the second layer of cream puffs, arrange the cream puff in between each cream puff on the first layer, to create a stable tower.
  8. Continue to dip and build, heating the caramel if it becomes too hard.
  9. Once the tower is built, cool the caramel until it forms a thread when you lift it from the pot with a fork.
  10. Dip the fork into the caramel and circle around the croqeumbouche to create a web of caramel strings around it.

Pâte à choux recipe adapted from food network.
Pastry cream recipe adapted from all recipes.
Caramel recipe adapted from bon appetit.

Giant Peeps Doughnut Cake (Meyer Lemon Marshmallow Doughnut Cake)

Giant Peeps Doughnut CakeThis Lent season I gave up online shopping. I used to think that online shopping was for people who were too lazy to go to the mall and try on clothing, but as I’ve gotten older I’ve seen the light. With a click of a button, you can see what is available to you in your size instead of rifling through all the different sizes in the stores. What I really like is that the clothes come looking pristine and new (even though I’m pretty sure someone else has tried it on before me). You know what I mean though right? You go through piles of clothing in a store trying to find that perfect dress on sale and when you find it, it has a lipstick or deodorant mark on it and sometimes, a strange stain that may or may not come out in the wash. Don’t get me wrong, I still love the mall and I believe that retail therapy is sometimes best done in stores. It’s just that now I’m in love with two forms of shopping.
Giant Peeps Doughnut CakeWhat I’ve learned is that online shopping is really hard to avoid. It follows you through email, social media, and even through paper catalogs. I’ve become so used to the thrill of finding a “good” deal that many times I perused through websites just to see what was available without the intention of buying anything. And then when I found something really great, it was very hard for me to not purchase it. Like an alcoholic that goes into a liquor store just to see what is available, I was just torturing myself for no reason.
Meyer Lemon Marshmallow Doughnut CakeWhy even go through it if it was so difficult? Because it gave me time to reflect on my lifestyle, and on my faith. At the times where I caught myself window shopping (online), I would close the window and spend some time in prayer and meditation. I’ve come to appreciate the things I already have in my life and realize the abundance of needs that are already met despite the lack of the perfect lace up suede flats. I am so thankful and am writing this with an overwhelmingly grateful heart.
Giant Peeps Doughnut CakeMeyer Lemon Marshmallow Doughnut CakeWhen Easter rolls around, seasonal bunny, egg and chick themed candy appear and I think Peeps is the most iconic Easter candy of them all. I know they come in different shapes and colors, (they even have peeps flavored milk these days) but I think the OG is the yellow chick peep. Super bright in color with a squishy marshmallow interior, it makes me feel like it should be lemon flavored. This is where I got my inspiration from.  As for the doughnut shape, well anything doughnut is superior to plain cake. No?
Meyer Lemon Marshmallow Doughnut CakeMeyer Lemon Marshmallow Doughnut CakeI happened to have a giant doughnut cake pan set from Williams Sonoma, which they don’t sell anymore but this cake can be made with two 8” cake pans if desired. Or, you can carve a hole in the middle and make yourself a makeshift doughnut cake too.
Giant Peeps Doughnut CakeMeyer lemons are popping up everywhere this season, so this cake is filled with all things lemon. It’s a lemon cake, filled with lemon curd and topped with a lemon glaze. As for the marshmallow component, it’s filled with my favorite marshmallow frosting and also topped with a toasted marshmallow frosting that when you put the chicks in, the browned top kind of looks like a nest. I decorated mine with a few Cadbury min eggs (the best chocolate egg candy IMHO) to give that nest feel a little more oomph.  Seasonal in flavor and themed, it’s the perfect baking project for this weekend. 🙂
Meyer Lemon Marshmallow Doughnut CakeHere are other Easter themed blog posts from the past:

Easy Peanut Butter Eggs
Easter Bunny Surprise Cake
White Chocolate Tiramisu Eggs
Bunny Cake Pops

Giant Peeps Doughnut Cake (Meyer Lemon Marshmallow Doughnut Cake)

You will need:

1 batch of meyer lemon cake (recipe below)
1 batch meyer lemon curd (recipe below)
1 batch meyer lemon glaze (recipe below)
1 batch marshmallow frosting (recipe below)
Cadbury mini eggs
yellow marshmallow chick Peeps

Instructions:

  1. Carve a small ditch around each half of the doughnut cake, making a tunnel for the filling.
  2. On the bottom half of the doughnut, fill the cavity with the lemon curd.
  3. On the top half of the doughnut, fill the cavity with marshmallow frosting.
  4. Sandwich the bottom and half together and set the cake on top of a wire cooling rack and pour the lemon glaze over the top, letting it dribble down the sides.
  5. Fill a piping bag with a large open star frosting tip (the one with a lot of teeth, not the one with 5 teeth) with the rest of the frosting.
  6. Make a swirl pattern all over the top of the cake.
  7. Use a kitchen torch to toast the tops of the marshmallow frosting.
  8. Place a marshmallow Peep all around the cake.
  9. Decorate the empty spaces with the mini eggs.

Meyer Lemon Doughnut Cake

Ingredients:

8 oz (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 ¾ c. granulated sugar
4 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
¼ c. grated meyer lemon zest (3-4 meyer lemons)
3 c. all-purpose flour
½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. kosher salt
¼ c. meyer lemon juice, freshly squeezed
¾ c. buttermilk, at room temperature
1 tsp.  pure vanilla extract

Instructions:

  1. Grease and flour the two doughnut pans. Preheat the oven to 350˚F. (The cake pan I used is discontinued but this product is similar.)
  2. In a medium bowl, mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, and kosher salt. Set aside.
  3. In another bowl, mix lemon juice, buttermilk and vanilla extract. Set aside.
  4. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream sugar and butter together until light and fluffy.
  5. Add eggs one at a time until blended and then the zest.
  6. Add the flour and buttermilk mixture alternatively to the batter, beginning and ending with the flour.
  7. Divide the batter evenly between the two pans, smoothing the tops.
  8. Bake for 30-40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.
  9. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then remove from pan onto a wire cooling rack and cool completely.

Meyer Lemon Curd

Ingredients:

2 tsp. meyer lemon zest
½ c. meyer lemon juice, freshly squeezed
½ c. sugar
2 large eggs
pinch of salt
4 oz. (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces

Instructions:

  1. Simmer about an inch of water in a small pot.
  2. In a medium metal mixing bowl, whisk together the zest, juice, sugar, eggs and salt.
  3. Add the butter to the mixing bowl and set the bowl over the pot of simmering water and whisk mixture continuously until mixture thickens and reaches 160˚F, about 5 minutes.
  4. Strain the curd through a fine meshed sieve and refrigerate to thicken completely.

Meyer Lemon Glaze

Ingredients:

2 c. confectioners’ sugar
¼ c. meyer lemon juice, freshly squeezed

Instructions:

  1. Whisk together sugar and meyer lemon juice until smooth.

Marshmallow Frosting

Ingredients:

3 large egg whites
¾ c. sugar
¼ tsp. cream of tartar
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Instructions:

  1. Simmer about an inch of water in a small pot.
  2. In the bowl of a standing mixer, whisk together egg whites, sugar, and cream of tartar.
  3. Place the bowl over the pot of simmering water and whisk constantly until sugar is dissolved, 3-4 minutes.
  4. Transfer the bowl to the standing mixer fitted with a whisk attachment and whisk on high speed until white glossy, stiff peaks form.
  5. Add the vanilla extract and mix until combined.

Meyer lemon cake and glaze recipe adapted from Ina Garten.
Meyer lemon curd adapted from Epicurious.
Marshmallow frosting adapted from Martha Stewart.

 

Strawberry Ombré Cake

Strawberry Ombré Cake The first day of spring came with snow in Jersey this week. I feel like I should be surprised, but I’m really not. The weather has been pretty off-kilter this year. Remember when it was 60 degrees during Christmas? This cake reminds me of springtime with its bold strawberries and fresh mint leaves. Decorated with tiny white fondant and frosting flowers and a few pink pearls, it is feminine and floral too.
Strawberry Mint Cake The secret to amazing strawberry frosting is to use fresh strawberries and cook it down until it becomes thickened. It is similar to making jam, except you are boiling down just strawberries, a squeeze of lemon and a splash of water. Add this mixture to your standard frosting, and you’ll have the freshest, strawberry-est tasting frosting ever.
Strawberry Ombré Cake When I make a strawberry layer cake, I tend to add a layer of fresh strawberries to up the fruit flavor. You just need to remember to slice your strawberries thinly to keep the cake layers intact. If you don’t, it might compromise the structural integrity of the cake and the layers might slide off of one another.

Strawberry Ombré Cake
Makes one 6-inch cake

You will need:

1 batch of vanilla buttermilk cake (recipe below)
1 batch of strawberry frosting (recipe below)
½ pint fresh strawberries, divided (7 small strawberries left whole, the rest sliced thinly)
1 batch swiss meringue buttercream (recipe below)
pink gel food coloring
fresh mint leaves
pink edible pearls
white mini fondant flowers

Instructions:

  1. Frost the top of one layer of vanilla cake with strawberry frosting.
  2. Put one layer of sliced strawberries on top of the strawberry frosting.
  3. Repeat with the remaining layers of vanilla cake.
  4. Use the remaining strawberry frosting to crumb coat the entire cake.
  5. Let cake set in freezer for 5-10 minutes. Until the crumb coat is set.
  6. Reserve three tablespoons of swiss meringue buttercream in a bow.
  7. Evenly divide the rest of swiss meringue buttercream into 4 bowls.
  8. Leave one batch white and color the other 3 batches in different shades of pink.
  9. Fill an icing bag fitted with a very large round tip with the white swiss meringue buttercream.
  10. Remove the cake from the freezer.
  11. Ice the cake from the top with the white swiss meringue buttercream, moving slowly down.
  12. Once the white frosting runs out, add the light pink swiss meringue buttercream to the same bag and continue moving downwards.
  13. Once the light pink frosting runs out, add the darker pink swiss meringue buttercream to the same bag and continue frost down the cake until you get to the bottom of the cake. (The cake will look bulky and messy. This is normal.)
  14. Using a flat spatula, start going around the cake and smoothing out the sides.
  15. As you move around the cake and start removing frosting, an ombré pattern will appear.
  16. Once the cake is relatively smooth, take a small offset spatula and using a light pressure, start moving the offset spatula in a circular pattern around the cake to create soft ridges.
  17. Top the cake with the whole strawberries with the leaves removed. Do not cut the strawberries. They will release their juices if they are cut.
  18. Fill a piping bag fitted with a small closed star tip with the reserved 3 tablespoons of buttercream frosting.
  19. Fill any gaps between the strawberries with the frosting.
  20. Take the mint leaves and arrange it around the strawberries as desired.
  21. Make tiny buttercream flowers with the closed star tip by squeezing the bag and releasing it in one spot. Place one pear at the center of these flowers.
  22. Fill the rest of the gaps with tiny white fondant flowers.

Vanilla Buttermilk Cake

Ingredients:

2 c. cake flour
1⅓ c. sugar
¾ tbsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
¾ c. buttermilk, divided
6 oz. unsalted butter, room temperature
3 eggs, room temperature
1 ½ egg yolks
1 ½ tsp. vanilla extract

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350˚F and line four 6-inch cake pans with parchment paper.
  2. In a bowl of a standing mixer with the paddle attachment, add flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Mix until combined.
  3. On low speed, add ½ c. buttermilk and butter and mix until combined.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk eggs, egg yolks, ¼ c. buttermilk, and vanilla extract until homogeneous.
  5. On low speed, slowly add the egg mixture to the flour mixture.
  6. Increase speed to medium, and mix until combined.
  7. Evenly divide cake batter into the four cake pans.
  8. Bake about 20-25 minutes until cake is done or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  9. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, and then move onto a cooling rack until completely cool.

Strawberry Frosting (for the filling)

Ingredients:
1 c. whole milk
¼ c. flour
¼ tsp. salt
8 oz. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 c. sugar
strawberry puree (recipe below)

Instructions:

  1. In a saucier pan, put milk, salt and flour and whisk until combined on medium heat.
  2. Continuously whisk mixture until thickened to a pudding like consistency.
  3. Once thickened, strain through a mesh strainer into a bowl with a spatula to remove lumps.
  4. Place a piece of plastic wrap on top of the flour mixture and put into the fridge until fully cool.
  5. In a mixer bowl fitted with the whisk attachment, mix the sugar and butter on high speed until fluffy and pale about, 5-10 minutes.
  6. Add the chilled flour mixture and continue to whip on high speed until the sugar is completely dissolved and the mixture is no longer gritty, about 5-10 minutes.
  7. Add ¾ of the strawberry puree and mix until combined. Taste and see if it needs the rest.
  8. If it needs more strawberry flavor, add in the rest of the strawberry puree and mix until combined.

Strawberry Puree

Ingredients:
¾ pint of strawberries, hulled and cut in halves
2-3 tsp. lemon juice, freshly squeezed
1 tbsp. water

Instructions:

  1. In a small pot, cook strawberries, lemon juice and water on medium heat.
  2. Use a potato smasher to smash the strawberries while cooking to get an even consistency.
  3. Cook strawberries for 5-10 minutes until thickened.
  4. Once thickened, put in a bowl to cool and refrigerate.

Swiss Meringue Buttercream (for the outside)

Ingredients:

1 c. sugar
4 large egg whites
3 sticks unsalted butter
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Instructions:

  1. Simmer an inch of water in a medium pot.
  2. In the bowl of a standing mixer, whisk egg whites and sugar together.
  3. Place the bowl over the pot of simmering water and whisk the egg white and sugar mixture continuously until the mixture becomes lighter and no longer grainy.
  4. Remove the bowl from the pot and transfer the bowl into the mixer fitted with a whisk attachment.
  5. Mix on high until mixture becomes white and fluffy, and cool (check for this by seeing if the outside of the bowl is cool to the touch).
  6. Add in vanilla extract and butter one stick at a time until a silky smooth frosting forms.

 

Lucky Charms Cake

lucky charms cakeI’m pretty sure everyone is already saying this, but how is it already March? I’m definitely not complaining since I absolutely adore warm weather and I’m dying to be able to wear dresses without tights. As spring quickly approaches, the next holiday around the corner would be St. Patrick’s Day. Even closer is National Cereal Day, which is on March 7th. So I figured that I might as well tie up both and make this cake.
DSC_0584I’ve been thinking of something similar to this when I bought a bag full of “Lucky Charms” marshmallows. I say it in quotes because while it tastes very similar to the marshmallows in the cereal, the shapes of these marshmallows are less detailed and smaller. (I’m thinking it’s a copyright issue.) Either way, I wasn’t about to pick out each marshmallow from a box of Lucky Charms cereal, so I used this to decorate the outside of the cake. What is really funny is, that over time, the marshmallows will rehydrate from the frosting giving it a similar flavor and texture to a dehydrated marshmallow that was sitting in a pool of milk. They become darker in color and squishy and so this cake is best eaten the day it is baked.
DSC_0504The inside of the cake is frosted with cereal milk frosting, (like the one I posted in my cereal macaron post) but instead of Frosted Flakes, I used Lucky Charms cereal. The cereal milk turns a pale green and I think it’s perfect for the theme. The cake itself is funfetti since I was going along with the rainbow color scheme.
DSC_0526My absolute favorite part of the cake is the Lucky Charms bark I made from the marshmallows, different colors of candy melts and chock full of every kind of decorative sprinkle. You start off with a melted slab of white candy melt and swirl different colors of melted candy melts using a toothpick and then swipe along the top with an offset spatula. It blends beautifully and makes a watercolored candy bark. Then you pretty much go ham with however you want to top it. I think it’s important to restrain yourself when you do this so that you can still see the colors of the bark.
DSC_0578I had some confetti macaron shells leftover from a baking order, so I stuck some marshmallow pieces on top of it and decorated the cake, but really, I don’t think it’s worth baking a whole batch of macarons for this. If you have it, great and if it not, it still looks beautiful without it. I should warn you that this is a very sweet cake. I suppose it shouldn’t come as a surprise given the funfetti inside and the marshmallows and candy outside. But it’s so stunning, I think it’s worth the sugar overload.

Lucky Charms Cake

Funfetti Buttermilk Cake (recipe below)
Lucky Charms Cereal Milk Frosting (recipe below)
Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream (recipe below)
Lucky Charms Marshmallows
Lucky Charms Bark (recipe below)
Funfetti Macarons (optional, recipe in this post)

Instructions:

  1. Evenly fill and stack each layer of funfetti cake with cereal milk frosting.
  2. Crumb coat the cake with a thin layer of the remaining cereal milk frosting
  3. Place cake in freezer for 5 minutes until the frosting on the outside sets firmly.
  4. Once crumb coat is set, frost the entire cake with swiss meringue buttercream.
  5. Take a handful of marshmallows and slowly cup the outside of the cake, patting it to ensure full coverage.
  6. Let the outside set in freezer for 5 minutes.
  7. Take cake out and top the cake with shards of Lucky Charms bark and macarons if desired.

Funfetti Buttermilk Cake

Ingredients:

2 c. cake flour
1⅓ c. sugar
¾ tbsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
¾ c. buttermilk, divided
6 oz. unsalted butter, room temperature
3 eggs, room temperature
1 ½ egg yolks
1 ½ tsp. vanilla extract
¾ c. rainbow sprinkles

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350˚F and line four 6-inch cake pans with parchment paper.
  2. In a bowl of a standing mixer with the paddle attachment, add flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Mix until combined.
  3. On low speed, add ½ c. buttermilk and butter and mix until combined.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk eggs, egg yolks, ¼ c. buttermilk, and vanilla extract until homogeneous.
  5. On low speed, slowly add the egg mixture to the flour mixture.
  6. Increase speed to medium, and mix until combined.
  7. Fold in sprinkles into the batter.
  8. Evenly divide cake batter into the four cake pans.
  9. Bake about 20-25 minutes until cake is done or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  10. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, and then move onto a cooling rack until completely cool.

Lucky Charms Cereal Milk Frosting (for the filling)

Ingredients:

1½ c. cereal milk (recipe below)
1/4 c. flour
½ tsp. kosher salt
8 oz. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
¾ c. sugar
½ tsp. vanilla extract

Instructions:

  1. In a small pot over medium heat, whisk milk, salt and flour until combined.
  2. Continuously whisk mixture until thickened to a pudding like consistency.
  3. Once thickened, strain through a mesh strainer into a bowl with a spatula to remove lumps.
  4. Place a piece of plastic wrap on top of the flour mixture (to prevent skin from forming) and put bowl into the fridge until fully cool.
  5. In a mixer bowl fitted with the whisk attachment, mix the sugar and butter on high speed until fluffy and pale about, 5-10 minutes.
  6. Add the chilled flour mixture and continue to whip on high speed until the sugar is completely dissolved and the mixture is no longer gritty, about 5-10 minutes.
  7. Add the vanilla extract and mix until combined.

Cereal Milk

Ingredients:

3 ½ c. Lucky Charms cereal
4 c. whole milk, cold

Instructions:

  1. In a large bowl, mix cereal and milk and steep for 30 minutes, until cereal is soggy.
  2. Strain mixture through a fine mesh strainer. (Do not force mixture through mesh strainer. The resulting milk will be starchy and thicker than what you started with.)

Vanilla Meringue Buttercream (for the outside)

Ingredients:

1 c. sugar
4 large egg whites
3 sticks unsalted butter
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Instructions:

  1. Simmer an inch of water in a medium pot.
  2. In the bowl of a standing mixer, whisk egg whites and sugar together.
  3. Place the bowl over the pot of simmering water and whisk the egg white and sugar mixture continuously until the mixture becomes lighter and no longer grainy.
  4. Remove the bowl from the pot and transfer the bowl into the mixer fitted with a whisk attachment.
  5. Mix on high until mixture becomes white and fluffy, and cool (check for this by seeing if the outside of the bowl is cool to the touch).
  6. Add in vanilla extract and butter one stick at a time until a silky smooth frosting forms.

Lucky Charms Bark

Ingredients:

white candy melts
yellow candy melts
orange candy melts
sky blue candy melts
pink candy melts
purple candy melts
Lucky Charms cereal marshmallows
any type of sprinkles you would like to use

Instructions:

*Note: You want to move fast before the candy melts set. Try to have all of the sprinkles, marshmallows, and candy melts out and on hand before you start this recipe.

  1. Line a sheet pan with wax paper.
  2. Melt white candy melts in a bowl and spread thinly in a rectangular shape onto the wax paper.
  3. On a separate plate, melt about 3-4 disks of each color of the candy melt separately,
  4. Using a toothpick, make swirls of different colors all over the slab of white candy melt.
  5. Using an offset spatula, smooth the top of the bark in one fluid horizontal stroke.
  6. Place the marshmallows and sprinkles before the candy bark sets.
  7. Before the candy bark sets completely, (when it is similar to very soft chocolate) take a sharp knife and score shards of candy bark by making triangular shapes into the candy melt.
  8. When the candy bark sets, break along the lines you made with your knife.

Weekday Update

pink swirl cakeIt’s been a quiet few weeks on the busy spatula. Mostly, I’ve been busy filling cake orders and baking here and there. Not enough photos to write an actual blog about, but just enough for a glimpse of what’s been going on. (If you follow me on Instagram, you probably saw some of these already.)

Pink and Gold Swirl Cake – It’s such a whimsical cake, I couldn’t help taking close up photos of this one. Swirled with pastel pink and white frosting then filled to the brim with pearls, gold stars, and dragees. It was four layers of chocolate cake filled with toffee coffee frosting.

DSC_0487DSC_0428DSC_0475DSC_0477

Baymax Macarons – I wanted to post these for Valentine’s Day, but I never had the time. Place a few red heart sprinkles on each macaron and draw in two circles and connect with a line with a black edible color marker. I filled the inside with some leftover strawberry frosting. So simple and very cute.

baymax macarons baymax macarons

Pink Ombre Ranunculus Cake – The inside of this cake was layered with layers of pink ombre cake. Filled with fresh strawberry frosting and topped with fresh ranunclus, it was so pretty. I originally wanted peonies, but the florist didn’t have any that were in bloom. Did you know that you had to order peonies in advance? I never knew.

pink ombre flower cakeranunculus flowers on cake

Red Velvet Rose Pavlova

Red Velvet Rose PavlovaAs much as I love flowers, I’ve learned over the years that I have a black thumb. No matter how hard I try or how “low-maintenance” the plant is, I manage to kill it. I’ve even killed a cactus. Don’t ask me how I did it. But one day it started to shrivel up and before I knew it, it was dead.  These days, I run away from plants like the plague. The cute DIY terrariums that everyone talks about? Nope. Growing my own herbs? No way. So instead of growing my own plants, I prefer already cut plants because (not to sound morbid) they’re already dying. It gives me a little less stress.
Red Velvet Rose Pavlova 2In the food world, I think Valentine’s Day can be renamed as Red Velvet Everything Day. Is it just me or when February rolls around, everything is red velvet flavored? They come in forms of cake, brownies, whoopie pies, cupcakes and cookies. It is not their fault. There aren’t that many red cakes out there and that deep red hue is kind of perfect for the season.
Red Velvet Rose PavlovaRed Velvet Rose Pavlova Instead of doing the usual red velvet cake, I decided to make a red velvet pavlova. I dyed the layers of pavolva red (or as red as I could get them) and flavored them with a hint of cocoa. Then I made a cream cheese whipped cream (because how would you have anything red velvet without cream cheese) and flavored it with some rose water for a floral note. I finally decorated it with some tiny rose meringues and actual tiny roses. If you are using fresh flowers, make sure they’re pesticide-free and if you want to eat them, make sure they’re edible.
Red Velvet Rose PavlovaThis may be the most romantic cake I’ve made. (Followed closely by this one.)

Red Velvet Rose Pavlova
Makes one 4-layered mini cake

Ingredients
300 g. superfine sugar
150 g. egg whites, room temperature
1 pinch cream of tartar
2 tbsp. cocoa powder
red gel food color
1 batch of cream cheese rose whipped cream (recipe below)
mini red roses, organic pesticide-free (for decoration)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400˚F and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Spread sugar in an even layer over parchment.
  3. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, add the egg whites and the cream of tartar.
  4. Place sugar into the oven and bake until the edges of the sugar begins to melt but not brown, about 5 minutes.
  5. Once the sugar begins to melt, turn the mixer onto high.
  6. Remove baking sheet from the oven and the eggs whites should be foamy.
  7. Turn the mixer to medium high and slowly pour the hot sugar from the parchment paper into egg whites.
  8. Once all the sugar is added, turn the mixer onto high and mix until stiff, shiny peaks form.
  9. Reserve ¼ c. of white meringue batter in a different bowl.
  10. Add cocoa powder and red gel food color to the rest of the batter and mix until desired color is reached.
  11. Reserve ¼ c. of red meringue batter in a separate bowl.
  12. Reduce oven to lowest setting 140˚F.
  13. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  14. On one baking sheet, spoon 4 five-inch circles of the red meringue.
  15. Fit a medium closed star piping tip into a piping bag and add ¼ c. each of reserved white and red meringue batter.
  16. On the second baking sheet, form small roses by making small circles with the piping tip.
  17. Bake the baking sheet with the five-inch circles for 1- 2 hours until they are crisp and hollow.
  18. Bake the baking sheet with the mini roses for 30 minutes to 1 hour until they are crisp and hollow.
  19. Turn off oven and let it dry out for about 30 minutes to an hour.
  20. When meringues are completely cool and dry, alternate a layer of the meringue with the layer of the whipped cream.
  21. Decorate the top with the mini meringue roses and mini roses.

Cream Cheese Rose Whipped Cream

Ingredients:

1 ½ c. heavy whipping cream, cold
4 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
½ c. powdered sugar
½ – 1 tsp. rose water (be careful with the rose water, too much of it will make the frosting taste like soap)

Instructions:

  1. In a bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the heavy cream until stiff peaks form.
  2. Set aside the whipped cream mixture into a different bowl.
  3. In the same bowl, add the cream cheese and powdered sugar and mix until light, fluffy and fully incorporated.
  4. Fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture.
  5. Add ½ tsp. rose water and taste. If you feel like it needs more, add ¼ tsp. at a time until desired flavor is reached.

Peanut Brittle Coffee Fudge Cake

Peanut Brittle Coffee Fudge CakeI have a brother whose birthday is on the fourth of January. Every year, after all the New Year hoopla, we gather around for the first birthday celebration of the year. I tend to pay a little more attention to his cake than the ones that follow because my soul feels a slight breeze of refreshment when the new year rolls around. Plus, this year was his big 3-0 so I had to think of something more unique.
peanut butter chocolate cakeIf there is one thing I know about my brother, it is that his two favorite flavors of all time are peanut butter (or peanuts in general) and coffee. In fact coffee, peanuts and my brother are synced so closely together in my brain that every time I go out of town, I usually bring back something that has to do with those two things. Things like Virginia peanuts from the south or a giant espresso peanut butter cup made by the local craft chocolate shop are no brainers when it comes to souvenir gifts for him.
honey roasted peanut brittleSo I made a cake that combines both flavors. It features alternating layers of fudgy chocolate and coffee scented cake which are sandwiched by a light and fluffy peanut butter frosting. The whole thing is then covered by a vanilla – peanut butter Swiss meringue buttercream and topped with homemade honey roasted peanut brittle. honey roasted peanut brittleWhen looking at the recipe, you might wonder why I made two different types of frosting. After years of baking, I realized that as much as I love the texture and flavor of boiled frosting, it does not ice as smoothly as Swiss meringue buttercream. So, these days I make two types of frosting for one cake. Is it a pain in the butt? Yes, but the flavor and the presentation are so worth it.
Peanut Brittle Coffee Fudge Cake

Peanut Brittle Coffee Fudge Cake
Makes one very tall 8” cake

You will need:

2 – 8” buttermilk coffee cake layers, leveled (recipe below)
2 – 8” chocolate cake layers, leveled (recipe below)
1 batch coffee frosting (recipe below)
1 batch coffee and vanilla Swiss meringue buttercream (recipe below)
1 batch honey roasted peanut brittle (recipe below)

Instructions:

  1. On a cake board, place a chocolate cake layer and frost the top with coffee frosting.
  2. Top the chocolate cake layer with a coffee cake layer and frost the top with coffee frosting.
  3. Add another chocolate cake layer and frost the top with coffee frosting.
  4. Top the chocolate cake layer with the coffee cake layer.
  5. Use the remaining coffee frosting to crumb coat the cake.
  6. Place in freezer for 5-10 minutes to set.
  7. Fill an icing bag fitted with a very large round tip with the white swiss meringue buttercream.
  8. Remove the cake from the freezer.
  9. Ice the cake from the top with the white swiss meringue buttercream, moving slowly down.
  10. Once the white frosting runs out, add the light brown swiss meringue buttercream to the same bag and continue moving downwards.
  11. Once the light brown frosting runs out, add the deep brown swiss meringue buttercream to the same bag and continue frost down the cake until you get to the bottom of the cake. (The cake will look bulky and messy. This is normal.)
  12. Using a flat spatula, start going around the cake and smoothing out the sides.
  13. As you move around the cake and start removing frosting, an ombre pattern will appear.
  14. Frost the entire cake smooth and then top with shards of honey roasted peanut brittle.

For the Buttermilk Coffee Cake:

Ingredients:
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 egg yolks, room temperature
1 c. black coffee, divided
4 tbsp. powdered buttermilk
1 ½ tsp. vanilla extract
2 tsp. coffee emulsion
270 g. cake flour
300 g. sugar
2 ½ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
12 tbsp. unsalted butter, room temperature

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350˚ and grease and line the bottom of two 8” cake pans with parchment paper.
  2. In the mixing bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix cake flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt until combined.
  3. Mix powdered buttermilk to the cup of black coffee and whisk until combined.
  4. Add the butter and ¾ c. of the coffee mixture to the flour mixture and mix on low until combined.
  5. Scrape the bowl to mix everything evenly.
  6. In a small bowl, whisk eggs, egg yolk, the remaining ¼ c. coffee mixture, and vanilla extract.
  7. With the mixer on low, add the egg mixture to the flour mixture slowly until combined.
  8. Divide batter evenly amongst the two cake pans and bake for 18-20 minutes, rotating the cake pans halfway.
  9. Let cake cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out of cake pan and move onto wire cooling rack to cool completely.

For the Chocolate Cake:

Ingredients:
1 ¾ c. all-purpose flour
2 c. sugar
¼ c. natural unsweetened cocoa powder
½ c. Dutch-process unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1. tsp. kosher salt
½ c. vegetable oil
2 extra-large eggs, room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 c. strong, hot coffee

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350˚ and grease and line the bottom of two 8” cake pans with parchment paper.
  2. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix flour, sugar, both cocoa powders, baking soda, baking powder and salt until fully combined.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk vegetable oil, eggs, and vanilla extract until combined.
  4. With the mixer speed on low, add the egg mixture to the flour mixture until combined.
  5. Turn off the mixer. With a spatula, scrape the sides of the bowl to fully incorporate the two mixtures.
  6. Turn the mixer on low and slowly add the hot coffee to the batter. Once added, raise the speed to medium until completely homogenous.
  7. Divide batter evenly amongst the two cake pans and bake for 18-20 minutes, rotating the cake pans halfway.
  8. Let cake cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out of cake pan and move onto wire cooling rack to cool completely.

Coffee Frosting (for the filling)

Ingredients:
1 ½ c. whole milk
⅓ c. flour
¼ tsp. salt
12 oz. (2 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
¾ c. sugar
1 – 1½ tbsp. coffee emulsion

Instructions:

  1. In a small pot over medium heat, whisk milk, salt and flour until combined.
  2. Continuously whisk mixture until thickened to a pudding like consistency.
  3. Once thickened, strain through a mesh strainer into a bowl with a spatula to remove lumps.
  4. Place a piece of plastic wrap on top of the flour mixture (to prevent skin from forming) and put bowl into the fridge until fully cool.
  5. In a mixer bowl fitted with the whisk attachment, mix the sugar and butter on high speed until fluffy and pale about, 5-10 minutes.
  6. Add the chilled flour mixture and continue to whip on high speed until the sugar is completely dissolved and the mixture is no longer gritty, about 5-10 minutes.
  7. Add 1 tbsp. coffee emulsion and mix until combined.
  8. Taste and if you want a stronger flavor, add another ½ tbsp. coffee emulsion.

Coffee and Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream (for the outside)

Ingredients:

1 ¼ c. sugar
5 large egg whites
3 ½ sticks unsalted butter
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tsp. coffee emulsion
brown food gel color

Instructions:

  1. Simmer an inch of water in a medium pot.
  2. In the bowl of a standing mixer, whisk egg whites and sugar together.
  3. Place the bowl over the pot of simmering water and whisk the egg white and sugar mixture continuously until the mixture becomes lighter and no longer grainy.
  4. Remove the bowl from the pot and transfer the bowl into the mixer fitted with a whisk attachment.
  5. Mix on high until mixture becomes white and fluffy, and cool (check for this by seeing if the outside of the bowl is cool to the touch).
  6. Add in vanilla extract and butter one stick at a time until a silky smooth frosting forms.
  7. Remove a third of the vanilla frosting into a separate bowl.
  8. In the original mixing bowl, add 2 tsp. of the coffee emulsion and whip until light brown and homogenous.
  9. Remove half of the light brown frosting into a separate bowl.
  10. Add a few drops of brown food gel color and whip until the mixture becomes a deep brown.

Honey Roasted Peanut Brittle

¾ c. honey roasted peanuts
1 c. sugar
½ c. water

Instructions:

  1. Line a baking sheet with a silicone mat.
  2. In a small pot, boil sugar and water together until the mixture turns amber.
  3. Once the mixture turns amber, stir in peanuts and quickly transfer mixture onto the silicone mat using a silicone spatula.
  4. Spread the brittle with the spatula so that the peanuts are all one layer.
  5. Let cool and break into shards.

BB-8 Cake Pops

bb-8 cake popsIf you’ve been a reader of my blog, you would know that I’m kind of a Star Wars fan. If you haven’t, you might want to check out a couple of parties I’ve thrown (here and here). So you can imagine how excited I am for the next installment to the Star Wars Series. (Very.)
bb8 r2d2 cake popI swear I got goosebumps the first time I saw the trailer. But what caught my eye the most was the glimpse of the new droid, BB-8. At first, I thought it was a head rolling on a soccer ball, but it’s not. It’s a droid and a really cute one too. When I saw that they released a BB-8 droid, I was very tempted to buy it. But then what would I do with it? It would probably sit there collecting dust or I could make Bear chase it around. I think I would rather put the money towards a new pair of shoes. But then again, it’s like a functioning mini droid. Ahh… first world problems.

bb-8 cake popshow to make a bb8 cake popSo I built myself a mini droid of my own, a cake pop. A ridiculous, time-consuming but adorable cake pop. Now, if I can only get it to roll around on its own…
how to make a bb-8 cake pop
BB-8 Cake Pops

You will need:
1 batch of vanilla cake (or boxed cake if you prefer)
1 batch of vanilla frosting (or canned frosting if you prefer)
cake pop sticks
white candy melts
gray fondant
blue fondant
orange fondant
black fondant
water, to attach the fondant
thin paintbrush
silver shimmer dust (edible)
vodka
x-acto knife (highly recommended to cut out tiny shapes)

  1. Crumble cake to cake crumbs and add in frosting ¼ c. at a time, until you get a play dough consistency. You want to make sure you work in the frosting completely, and that every crumb is mixed evenly.
  2. With ¾ of the cake dough, roll 1 ½ tablespoon sized balls. With the ¼ of the cake dough, roll 1 tablespoon sized balls. Chill thoroughly.
  3. Remove from fridge and using floss or a sharp knife, cut the 1 tablespoon sized balls in half (this is the head).
  4. On a cake pop stick, insert the half sphere cake ball followed by the round 1½ tablespoon sized cake ball. (As shown in the picture above. Picture 1)
  5. Melt white candy melts and coat the entire cake pop completely.
  6. Set it to the side to dry and set. Continue with other cake pops until all of them are coated. (As shown in the picture above. Picture 2)
  7. From this point forward, use the thin paintbrush and water to glue the fondant pieces onto the cake pop.
  8. Cut out a thin gray stripe of fondant and wrap around the top of the cake pop. (As shown in the picture above. Picture 3)
  9. Round out a pea-sized black fondant and shape it to a hemisphere and attach it slightly below the center of the gray stripe. (As shown in the picture above. Picture 4)
  10. Cut out a very thin orange stripe of fondant and wrap around below the gray fondant stripe stopping at the upper third part of the black fondant. (As shown in the picture above. Picture 5)
  11. Round out a small head of a pin sized black fondant and attach it diagonally from the pea sized black fondant. (As shown in the picture above. Picture 6)
  12. Cut out a very thin gray stripe and wrap around the circumference of the head of BB-8. (As shown in the picture above. Picture 7)
  13. Cut out tiny squares and rectangles from the orange fondant and attach it above the very thin gray stripe, on the outer third of the cake pop. (As shown in the picture above. Picture 8)
  14. Use a small dab of blue fondant and attach it below the pea sized black fondant. (As shown in the picture above. Picture 9)
  15. Cut out ¾ in. circles and cut out an “x” shape in the center. Attach it to the bottom left hand corner of the cake pop. (As shown in the picture above. Picture 10)
  16. Attach another circle to the upper right hand corner of the cake pop, cutting out the top portion. (As shown in the picture above. Picture 11)
  17. Cut out a small orange stripe and attach it to the bottom right hand corner of the cake pop. (As shown in the picture above. Picture 12)
  18. Using the gray fondant, cut out a small pea sized gray circle. Cut into thirds and place inside the center of the orange circle on the left hand corner. (As shown in the picture above. Picture 13)
  19. Cut out two small triangles and place on the opposite ends of the small gray circle. (As shown in the picture above. Picture 14)
  20. Cut out some random stripes of thin gray fondant and place on the center of the orange circle in the upper right hand corner. (As shown in the picture above. Picture 15)
  21. Cut out small gray circle and place in center of orange circle in the lower right hand corner. (As shown in the picture above. Picture 16)
  22. Cut out thin gray fondant stripes, and connect orange circles. (As shown in the picture above. Picture 17)
  23. Using tiny pieces of gray fondant, dot the corners of the gray fondant stripes, making “rivets”. (As shown in the picture above. Picture 18)
  24. Using a very thin strip of gray fondant, outline the smaller black dot on the head. (As shown in the picture above. Picture 19)
  25. Mix few droplets of vodka into the silver shimmer to create edible silver paint.
  26. Using a very thin brush, paint the gray fondant of the cake pop to give it a metallic sheen. You can also give a swipe of paint to the black circles to give it dimension. (As shown in the picture above. Picture 20)

The Ultimate Oreo Ice Cream Cake with Homemade Crunchies

how to make an ice cream cake

I would say that whenever the topic of ice cream cakes come up, about 75% of the people I talk to gush about how much they love crunchies. You know, the crunchy chocolate crumbs that are usually sandwiched between the vanilla and chocolate ice cream layers in a standard store bought ice cream cake. So when D requested a cookies and cream ice cream cake, with an extra thick layer of crunchies, I set out to make the ultimate cookies and cream ice cream cake.
cookies n' cream ice cream cakeOn another note, I’m not sure if it is cookies n’ cream, cookies n’ creme, cookies and creme, cookies and cream or Oreo. Does anyone know what the “right” way to say it is? The grammar Nazi in my brain says “cookies and cream” but the media uses all of them.  So instead of driving myself crazy, I’m going to use them all interchangeably.
cookies and cream ice cream cakeTo be honest, I was a little disappointed when he requested such a standard flavor. My mind was whizzing with all sorts of crazy flavor combinations (something along the lines of toasted marshmallows, drizzly caramel, crushed salted nuts…) and went to a complete stop when he said cookies and cream. But it’s okay because I took cookies and cream to the next level with this cake. (Kind of like that episode in Friends where Phoebe takes cups and ice to the next level.)
oreo browniesIt starts with an Oreo brownie base, layered with homemade crunchies (just two ingredients, and so easy), with a very generous layer of cookies and cream ice cream (two quarts!), layered again with crunchies and brownie base.
oreo barkIt is then covered in whipped topping, topped with a decadent chocolate ganache (Omg. It was my favorite part of the cake), and decorated with scoops of whipped topping that look like scoops of ice cream (plain and Oreo flavored), and topped with shards of Oreo bark, cookie crumbs and whole mini Oreos. Every single component screams cookies and cream and every bite is as amazing as it sounds.
cookies and cream ice cream cake
The Ultimate Oreo Ice Cream Cake with Homemade Crunchies

Ingredients
2 – 8” round Oreo brownie layers (recipe below)
1 batch homemade crunchies (recipe below)
2 quarts of cookies and cream ice cream, softened*
20 oz. cool whip
chocolate ganache (recipe below)
mini Oreos
¼ c. white chocolate or white candy melts

Instructions:

  1. Line two 8-inch cake pans with plastic wrap. In each pan, put in one Oreo brownie layer.
  2. Split the batch of homemade crunchies in half and spread each half on top of each Oreo brownie layer.
  3. Layer a quart of cookies and cream ice cream in each cake pan, smoothing the top.
  4. Top with plastic wrap and freeze until completely frozen, either over night or 8 hours.
  5. Unmold each cake pan carefully and sandwich the two layers, the ice cream layer meeting in the center and brownie layer facing outwards. Refreeze in freezer for 10 minutes.
  6. Frost the outside of the cake with cool whip. Refreeze in freezer until cool whip is firm.
  7. Crush some mini Oreos and mix Oreo crumbs in half of the remaining cool whip. Leaving the other half plain.
  8. Once cool whip has set, smooth ganache over the top of the cake, letting it drip down the sides. Sprinkle some cookie crumbs on top of ganache before it sets. Place cake in freezer until ganache is completely set.
  9. Using a cookie scoop, layer alternating scoops of Oreo and plain cool whip, sprinkling with cookie crumbs as you go. Freeze to set.
  10. While ice cream is freezing, melt white chocolate/candy melts in a microwave safe bowl being careful not to burn the chocolate.
  11. Line a small sheet pan with wax paper and smooth the melted chocolate evenly using an offset spatula. Top with crushed mini Oreos, and whole mini Oreos. Put in freezer to set.
  12. Break chocolate into shards and reserve for cake.
  13. Once the ice cream cake is set, remove cake from freezer, and decorate the top with the white chocolate shards and top with extra mini Oreos for a grand effect.

Oreo Brownies

Ingredients:
1 box brownie mix, plus ingredients needed to make brownies according to mix**
16 Oreos

Instructions:

  1. Prepare two 8-inch cake pans by spraying with nonstick spray and lining the bottom with parchment paper.
  2. Preheat oven to temperature on the package.
  3. Mix brownie batter according to package and divide evenly between two cake pans.
  4. Place 7 Oreos in a circular formation in each pan, and Oreo in the center.
  5. Bake half of the time said on the package.
  6. Let cool and reserve for cake.

Homemade Crunchies

Ingredients:
30 Oreo cookies
1 – 7.25 oz. bottle of Magic Shell ice cream topping

Instructions:

  1. Using a food processor, Crush Oreos into even crumbs.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix cookie crumbs and ice cream topping until each crumb is well coated.
  3. Reserve for cake.

Chocolate Ganache

Ingredients:
8 oz. dark chocolate, chopped
¾ c. heavy whipping cream

Instructions:

  1. In a heatproof bowl, pour heavy cream on top of chocolate and microwave for one minute.
  2. Let stand 3 minutes and stir until combined.

*I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, you want to use the premium stuff for ice cream cakes. Because the higher quality ice cream has less air content, it will melt slower. I used Trader Joe’s Joe-Joe’s n’ Cream.
**Yes, I shun cake mixes, but brownie mixes are pretty good in my book. I’m in love with the Ghirardelli brand mixes. Plus, when making a cake with this many components, simplifying any part is worth it.
***Homemade crunchies recipe from Our Best Bites.