Thursday, September 18, 2014

A Cake that's Out of this World!!!

A couple week's ago, my boyfriend's company asked me to bake a cake for an office party. It couldn't be an ordinary cake, it had to be out of this world ... 

I'm not sure that I've mentioned it before, but my super smart boyfriend works for a technology startup competing for the Google Lunar X Prize ... Basically, they are building a rover to land on the moon. 

Can you guess where I'm going with this?

I baked a moon cake.

Moon Cake 
Make two cakes. I made two white cakes from scratch with my grandmother's confetti cake recipe, sans sprinkles ...

 2 ¾ cups sifted cake flour, half all-purpose, half cake (I proportioned it 1 ¼ Cake Flour and 1 ½ all purpose)
4 teaspoons baking powder, just a tad less is good. Do Not Exceed 4 teaspoons
½  teaspoon salt, just a tad less is good. Do Not Exceed ½ teaspoon
4 egg whites
½  teaspoon cream of tartar
1 ½  cups sugar ( ¾ cup granulated half white, ¾ cup confectioners sugar)
¾ cup butter, softened
1 cup milk (maybe more or less depending on softness or hardness of batter at the end, I used the whole cup)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract (I used my secret ingredient arak, if you use 1 tsp arak, still include ½ tsp almond extract)

Sift together flour, baking powder and salt.
Beat egg whites until foamy with cream of tartar. Gradually add ¼ cup granulated sugar and ¼ cup confectioners sugar.
In a separate bowl, cream butter and add remaining 1 cup sugar.  Blend egg mixture into this bowl.
Add sifted ingredients alternately with milk a small amount at a time – this is where you see if you use all the milk.
Pour in extracts.
Bake at 350 degrees F. A regular sheet cake or cupcakes would bake at around 20 minutes — my half sphere cake baked at about 50 minutes.

I baked the first cake in a well-greased eight-inch glass bowl.  
The second cake was baked in an eight-inch circular cake pan. 
Allow cakes to thoroughly cool. 

You may need to cut dark areas off the sphere cake, as it takes nearly double the expected amount of time to bake in a bowl. Do not go cutting happy. I simply rubbed the exterior of the cake gently and let the over-baked dusting fall off. 

Now for the buttercream frosting ...
This recipe.

1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks = 1/2 pound), softened (not melted)
3 cups + 1 cup confectioner's (powdered) sugar, sifted (regular won't ruin it).  The +1 cup is ready to use only if the mixture needs thickening.
1/4 teaspoon salt (optional)
1 tablespoon flavoring extract (Arak; but since it is scarce almond or vanilla can work)*
2 tablespoons + 2 tablespoons milk.  The +2 tablespoons are ready to use only if the mixture needs thinning.
Electric Mixer

Grab your cake board. 

Before you assemble the cakes, this step must be completed on the surface on which you are serving the cake! Once the sphere shape is made and held together with frosting, you will not be able to move the cake. See the gold cardboard cake board I used in the photo above. These boards are great because they can be wiped clean at the end. 

Once the cakes have cooled, apply buttercream frosting on the circular cake and place the half sphere atop. Apply a layer of buttercream around the outside of the cake, really getting in the grooves to attach the two cakes together. 

Roll out marzipan from a can or tube, I used two 11 oz. cans ... 

What is marzipan? Almond paste.
When rolled out, marzipan is a similar sheet texture to fondant.  I prefer the almond flavor of marzipan to fondant when sculpting and shaping baked goods.
I covered the cake in the rolled out, quarter inch thick marzipan. 

Decorate ...

To decorate the cake I used:
- Black spray mist food coloring
- Grey buttercream (done with food coloring) to delicately brush on small swirls and add dimension
- Silver sprinkles ... a lot of silver sprinkles
- Loose rock candy
- An American flag toothpick is a great moon topper. The other toothpick flag is a logo for my boyfriend's company. 

I also gently manipulated the marzipan to form craters. 

Feel free to get creative with your moon design! 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Honey Bourbon Cupcakes

Honey Bourbon Cupcakes As seen on

This recipe was first posted on HelloGiggles as part of my Cupcake Girl column.

Something delicious is abuzz!!!


1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups flour (3/4 all-purpose flour, 3/4 cake flour)
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup buttermilk (or milk with 1 teaspoon cream of tartar—I used milk and tartar)
1/4 cup honey
2 tsp vanilla
1 tbs bourbon per cupcake
The Steps:

Sift together flour, baking powder and salt.

In a separate bowl, cream butter and sugar. Blend eggs, extract and honey into this bowl.

Add sifted ingredients alternately with milk, a small amount at a time.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes.

Allow cake to cool for 10 minutes.

Make about 8 holes in the cupcakes, poking the tops with a fork. Now, use the bourbon you set aside to drizzle over the tops of the cupcakes. Use about 1 tablespoon per cupcake.

Now for the Honey Bourbon frosting:

1 cup unsalted butter, softened
2-3 cups powdered sugar
¼ teaspoon salt, or to taste
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3½ tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon bourbon, or to taste
Mix it up. (If icing is too runny, add more sugar. If too thick, add a splash of milk.)

Apply frosting.
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