I promised an update to Joel's Baby Shower - The Results! with recipes for some of the menu items. The cake was really pretty simple and utterly delicious!
I used Martha Stewart's One Bowl Chocolate Cupcake recipe (from her Baking Handbook and her Cupcake book) and adjusted the batch size for my cake pans. I really just eyeballed it. I made 2 batches of the cake batter, and combined them in a large bowl (just in case they somehow were slightly different, the batters would be uniform in consistency). I used 2 9" pans for the bottom tier, and 2 6" pans for the top tier. I decanted the batter into the cake pans to the same level in each cake pan, and baked them all at the same time. I had some batter left over, and made some cupcakes just for the hell of it :)
I put one 6" pan on the same shelf as a 9" pan and then put the 6" pan on the shelf underneath the 9" pan and vice versa (to keep good air/heat circulation in the oven). When baking different sizes at the same time, just keep an eye on the 6" pans after the recommended baking time because they will be done first. And be sure to rotate the pans halfway through baking (I even switched the bottom shelf pans to the top shelf, and vice versa - makes for very even baking).
This chocolate cake recipe is honestly the best one I've tried. It is very versatile (just as great in huge cakes as it is in mini cupcakes), and heavy enough to be handled and carved, but light enough to eat plenty without feeling overwhelmed with chocolate. Be sure to use top quality ingredients and definitely sift everything!
For the filling between the layers and also my crumb layer, I used Martha Stewart's Swiss Meringue Buttercream Icing. Again, the best in the business. Yes, it has 3 sticks of butter in each batch but it's worth every calorie! So quick and simple to make - the mixer does almost all the work!
For the fondant, I made my own. Having never made my own fondant before, or really ever worked with fondant to cover a full sized cake, I was a little nervous. No need as it turns out! Making your own fondant is relatively quick, easy, and very rewarding as it also tastes great.
I ventured into the internet for this recipe, and after about an hour of research ended up using a classic fondant recipe from the Food Network. I was back and forth reading about the buttercream and marshmallow versions of fondant, but decided for my first endeavor in making fondant that I should go with the classic recipe. It can be found here.
Some of the ingredients cannot be found at the grocery store, but they were right there in the cake decorating section of Michael's. The best part about fondant is that you can make tons of it ahead of time and keep it for MONTHS! Fantastic! The kneading is the time consuming part, but it's a great upper arm workout :)
This cake was a definite winner in my book. I really don't think you can go wrong with any of the recipes I used. I will continue to use these as my go-to cake recipes until I come across something better.
What are your go-to staple cake recipes? And what about working with fondant - good or bad experiences? Please share your stories!