So turns out, this whole nesting thing is real.
Or maybe I was just a little too happy to make pastries again. Or as my husband calls it, “just pregnant.”
Either way, it’s been go time since my last post. Between painting the nursery and prepping for the baby shower, there’s been so much to do! But I love staying busy, and I loved every minute of preparing for this shower. I’m so sad it’s all over, but our efforts shows in the results and I couldn’t be happier. Plus, my friends and I get to do it all over again in 2 months for my friend, Amber’s baby shower!
I thought it would be nice to break up the posts and leave you all the recipes and “how to’s” for all the different parts of the display. Today, we’ll start with the centerpiece, the cake.
As you all know, my favorite flavors are chocolate and caramel. So naturally, I went with my favorite chocolate cake recipe (from here, and here), with a salted caramel mousse filling. I ended up eating leftover cake for days – no complaints! The swiss meringue buttercream I use is also bomb, and the best to work with (smooths like a dream). It doesn’t crust like american buttercream, and has a lighter, not so greasy mouthfeel that I absolutely love. Once you try meringue buttercream, there’s really no going back.
**tip for building tall cakes: the cake shown above is actually a 2 tiered cake, both tiers being 6″. This means I have a cake board in the middle, to make it easier for serving the cake.
- Measure out the sugar (part 1) and corn syrup in saucepan. Have the heavy cream (part 1) and butter ready to go.
- Heat the sugar and corn syrup on medium heat, slowly pushing the hot spots where the sugar starts to brown with a high heat spatula. You don't want to vigorously mix, but move the sugar around to keep spots from burning.
- To check the color of your caramel, hold your spatula up the light and look at color this way. Looking straight into the pot will look always look darker than it actually is.
- As soon as your caramel turns a dark amber color, pour in the you heavy cream. Careful as the sugar will spit when you do this.
- Mix the caramel on low heat until all the sugar is dissolved. Turn off heat.
- Mix in the butter and salt until well combined
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the sugar (part 2) and egg yolks.
- Temper in the yolks by slowly pouring caramel into the yolks as you whisk. Once all the caramel is incorporated, pour the caramel back into the pot.
- Cook caramel on med/low heat until 170°F or slightly thickened.
- Bloom your gelatin in the cold water, making sure there are no lumps.
- Add gelatin to your caramel and mix well
- Chill caramel over ice bath just until slightly warm to touch. Be sure to stir often for even cooling. You do not want to chill completely, as this will set the gelatin.
- While the caramel is chilling, whip your heavy cream (part 2) to soft peaks.
- Fold the whipped cream into the caramel until combined.
- Chill before use if using as a cake filling.
Best Chocolate Cake
- Mix all dry ingredients together
- Add oil, eggs, and vanilla. Mix well.
- Add milk or buttermilk, and mix until combined.
- Add warm water last and mix, making sure to scrape the bowl.
- Bake at 325°F. Recipe will make: 2 thin half sheets for layers: 20min / 2 - 8inch rounds: 35-40min
- Baking times are approximate. Always check by inserting a toothpick.
Swiss Meringue Buttercream
- 10 min
- Ready in:
- 20 min
- Place egg whites, sugar, and salt into a mixing bowl, set over a hot water bath
- Cook the egg whites to 185°F while stirring constantly
- As soon as the whites reach temperature, move to mixer with a whisk attachment. Whisk on high until the bowl is cool to touch.
- Add butter, half a stick at a time. The buttercream will start to look broken before it comes together again and looks like buttercream.
- Add the vanilla, and mix until completely smooth (no lumps!)
- Can be stored at room temperature for a couple of days. If storing longer, keep in refrigerator (one that doesn't have food smells as the butter will pick it up). To use, let it come to room temperature and whip again.