Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Plex Cake

It's been a while since I posted, and I'm going to blame that at least partly on being busy. But I did want to share a cake with you that I made this past weekend. It was my daughter's second birthday, and she is a huge Yo Gabba Gabba fan. In fact, she has been watching it almost since her first birthday, so it should come as no surprise that I've been looking forward to making this cake for several months.

Plex is a robot member of the cast, and is probably one of the most popular cakes for parents to try to make for their kids. But up until this point, I have't seen one with fondant like this, so I'm going to declare myself in the lead. First, the cake:

The yellow part is a white chocolate rolled fondant recipe that I've been working on for a while. It's not quite to where I want it, but it's getting there. The cake was a chocolate cake based on a recipe I found online. It it filled with a chocolate mousse based on a recipe by Alton Brown and fresh raspberries. Anything you see that is covered with white fondant (except for the eyes) is molded from crispy rice treats. And the antenna is a cigar cookie wrapped in semi-sweet chocolate.

The black square where his eyes are was actually about half an inch higher, but it seemed to have slipped down during transportation. I eventually gave up on trying to make the ball on the top of his antenna red, or trying to make his ears at all. And no, I never planned to attach even parts of his arms to his shoulders. Deal with it.

It was kind of a fun cake to build, but like all cakes that I make like this, I was reminded repeatedly why I don't often make cakes like this. The fondant didn't want to cooperate (I think I may have added just a touch too much white chocolate to it), keeping the chocolate in temper for that antenna was a miracle (the four backup antennas that I made all lost their temper) and speaking of the antenna, when I opened the tin of cigar cookies, they were all broken. Actually, that's pretty much why I decided to wrap it in chocolate; it was actually a couple of pieces of broken cigar cookie, reinforced with chocolate.

I'm going to go ahead and post my fondant recipe here, because I seem to keep losing it. It is not the easiest thing to make, and I only recommend it for those who are truly serious. I use a stand mixer for part of making this, but heed well this warning: if you try to make it from start to finish with any kind of electric mixer, you will burn out the motor! And yes, this recipe is measured entirely by weight. If you're not willing to weigh the ingredients, you're not serious enough to make it.

White Chocolate Rolled Fondant (still considered a test recipe)

0.5 oz/wt powdered gelatin
2.1 oz/wt cold water
0.8 oz/wt glycerin
9.6 oz/wt corn syrup
10.5 oz/wt white chocolate
2 lbs confectioners sugar + extra just in case

* Bloom the gelatin in cold water for 3 minutes.
* Start melting the white chocolate gently over a double-burner.
* Add the glycerin and corn syrup. Heat gently to dissolve, while whisking occassionally.
* Remove everything from the heat, and whisk in the white chocolate.
* Add the mixture and all of the sugar to a stand mixer use the paddle to mix on low.
* When the mixer starts to sound as if it is having trouble, turn it off and finish kneading the mixture by hand. I have found that using a bowl scraper to cut and mix the fondant helps keep your hands clean.
* If the mixture seems to be too wet and sticky, sprinkle in some more sugar.
* When you have formed a homogeneous ball of dough, move into an air-tight container for a couple of hours to let it rest.

Like I said, I still consider this recipe in a testing stage. It clearly requires more than 2 lbs of sugar, but I'm not sure how much more. If I had to guess, I'd say it was just a couple of ounces, maybe as much as half a cup. Also, I originally went with only 10 oz of white chocolate, and the fondant seemed a little too pliable. 10.5 oz made it a little too hard. Next time around, I'm going to go with 10.25 oz of white chocolate and see how it goes. I think that the rest of the ingredients are pretty solid, it's just a matter of getting the best measurements for the sugar and the chocolate.

1 comment:

  1. Now I know where to come when I loose the recipe too. Too bad I actually DID break some gears in my Kitchen aid mixer making fondant before. Lesson learned--it's less expensive to knead it by hand! Cute cake.


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