Devil's Food Baby Shower Cake

I love baby showers!   I can't resist baby clothes.  Everything is so small and cute!  So, when a co-worker asked me to make a cake for her baby shower I couldn't say no.   She wanted chocolate cake, baby feet, and she let me know her colors were baby blue and light green.  

I hadn't done a ton of fondant before work, but I realized pretty quickly the best way to make the baby feet was to use fondant.  But I didn't want to cover the cake in fondant.   As nice as it looks, I don't think it is the best tasting frosting.   I am a buttercream person, and I don't like making products that I wouldn't enjoy eating myself.  

I used a traditional swiss meringue buttercream to coat the cake and I used fondant pieces for accents.   The cake was filled with chocolate filling and I used three layers of devils food cake.  I really wish I had a picture of the inside.  Overall I was very pleased with how this cake came out.   I will have to make another one, so I can try it for myself.  

Devil's Food Cake 
  • 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, softened, plus more for pans
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder, plus more for pans
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 3 cups sifted cake flour (not self-rising)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/4 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup whole milk 
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter three 8-inch round cake pans. Line bottoms with parchment; butter parchment. Dust with cocoa powder; tap out excess. Set aside. Sift cocoa powder into a medium bowl; whisk in boiling water. Set aside to cool.
  2. Sift together flour, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl; set aside. Put butter into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low speed until creamy. Gradually mix in sugar until pale and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Add eggs, a bit at a time, mixing well between each addition; mix until well blended. Mix in vanilla.
  3. Whisk milk into reserved cocoa mixture. With mixer on low speed, add flour mixture to butter mixture in 3 batches, alternating with the cocoa mixture. 
  4. Divide batter evenly among prepared pans; smooth tops with an offset spatula. Bake, rotating pan halfway through, until a cake tester inserted into centers comes out clean, 35 to 45 minutes. Let cool in pans on wire racks 15 minutes. Turn out cakes onto racks; remove parchment and re-invert. Let cool completely. 
Adapted from Martha Stewart

Swiss Meringue Buttercream
  • 12 oz (336 g) egg whites (10 large egg whites or about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 3 cups (680 g) granulated sugar
  • 3 lbs (1.36 kg) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 Tbsp lemon extract, almond extract, orange extract, or pure vanilla extract 
    1. Lightly whisk egg whites and sugar together over simmering water until egg-white mixture is hot to         touch or a candy thermometer reads 140°F (60°C).

    2. Pour hot whites into a room-temperature bowl and whip with a wire whip until double in volume             on MEDIUM-HIGH speed. When the mixer stops, the meringue should not move around in the             bowl.  Meanwhile cut up butter into 2-inch pieces. (The butter should be slightly moist on the                 outside but cold inside.)
    3. On your mixer, remove the whip and attach the paddle. Add half the butter (1 1/2 lbs or 680 g) into         the bowl immediately and pulsate the mixer several times until the meringue has covered the butter         completely. To pulsate the mixer, turn it on and off in a jerky motion. This forces the butter on the         top to the bottom of the bowl. Add the balance of the butter (1 1/2 lbs or 680 g) and pulsate mixer         several times. Slowly increase the mixer's speed, starting with the lowest speed and increase the             speed every 10 seconds until you reach a MEDIUM-HIGH speed.
    4. Continue beating until the mixture begins to look light and fluffy. Stop the mixer and scrape the             bowl. Reduce speed to LOW. Add flavoring and continue to beat on LOW speed for 45 seconds.         Then beat on MEDIUM-HIGH speed for an additional 45 to 60 seconds. 

Adapted from epicurious

Whoopie Pie Wedding Favors

This weekend two dear friends of mine got married.   It was a very small, intimate ceremony and I was honored to be part of it.  I was even more honored when I was asked to make whoppie pies for the wedding favors.   

Whoopie pies are very common in New England.  They are two sponge cakes sandwiched together filled with a type of frosting or cream.   The traditional is chocolate and marshmallow, but you can find almost every flavor imaginable like pumpkin and red velvet.

I have noticed that whoopie pies are very trendy right now.  In baking supply stores you can find whoopie pie pans to make the cakes.  Let me give my opinion on this-do not buy a speical whoopie pie pan- they are not necessary.  All you need is parchment paper and an ice cream scoop.  The scoop will make sure that the cakes are even and the parchment paper will prevent the cakes from sticking to the pan.   Please do not waste your money.

I was told to make the pies any flavor I wanted. After much consideration I made the traditional chocolate and marshmallow pies.  I originally was going to fill them with peanut butter frosting, but I had no idea if there were any nut allergies, and I get very paranoid about this, so I decided to be cautious and do the traditional flavors.  I baked about 60 whoopie pies (120 cakes), and I made mine a bit larger than the receipe calls for, so I needed 4 batches in total.

The actually baking process is easy.  They only take about 12 minutes to bake, but watch them.  Because they are so small, you could easily over burn them.
And here is another piece of unsolicited advice. The filling is really good.  Try not to sample too much as you are making these.  I definitely want to use it in the future for cake filling.  

Receipie adapted from Martha Stewart

For the cakes:
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
2 cups buttermilk, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

For the filling:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
7½ oz. marshmallow fluff
2 tsp. vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Sift together flour, salt, cocoa powder, baking soda, and baking powder. Set aside. Line two baking pans with parchment paper. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla. Beat until well combined. Slowly add dry ingredients. Mix until combined.

2. Using a 1-ounce ice-cream scoop, place cookies onto lined baking pans, twelve per pan. Bake for 12 minutes. Remove to a rack to cool. Repeat with remaining batter.

3. Using a pastry bag spread filling in the center of one of the cakes. Top with one of the other cakes around the same size and shape and spread filling to edges. Repeat with remaining cakes. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Disney Baby Shower!

One of my oldest friends is pregnant with her first baby.   In my circle of friends she will be the first to the have a baby, so I was super excited for her baby shower.  Like me,  my girlfriend is a big Disney fan, so when it came time to decorate the nursery it was only natural to make it Disney themed!  

The shower followed the Disney theme, which made deciding on the favor very easy.  I have had the Mickey Mouse cookie cutter for a while, but never had an occasion to use it.

Overall these cookies were fairly easy to make, the design didn't require a lot of detail work, but I had to make 100 cookies, so the actual baking of the cookies took almost as long as the decorating.  

Fortunately I had my mother's help rolling out the dough.  But even with that help I spent almost ten hours making the dough, rolling out the dough, and baking the cookies.   I think with any other large baking jobs in the futures, I will have to make smaller cookies! 

The Mommy to Be loved the favors, which was the important thing.   I can't wait for little Jason to make his debut next month!