Thursday, February 28, 2008

University Art Gallery

My drawing class just went to the opening of the Installation Artwork class' spring exhibition. It was a neat little experience. (Any pitt people reading this, you should take a half hour and walk through it, it's really worth it!) The entry is filled with GIANT red balloons, some filled with more amounts of helium than others I guess. You can play with these, throw them, pop them up, bounce them... It's fun! The next room you walk into is covered, in almost a stained glass or mosaic type of way, with paint sample pieces, all arranged in color groups. This was somewhat reminiscent of a Gaudi design or something like that. There was a blue plastic tunnel with a water drop music element playing. That was a strange feeling... Almost like being underwater or in a sewer haha. There's also another tunnel like design that you walk through made entirely of newspaper and giant trash bags filled with newspaper. That one was strange. You had to climb over the filled trash bags and stuff. There's an explanatory talk from the artist's on Wednesday at noon that I'm going to try and go to. Hopefully that will shed some light on the interesting stuff that I just saw.

Some Inspiration

My mom got me this book for Christmas! It has the most adoreable and creative cakes in it! There are also some really cute mini cakes I'd love to try and cupcakes that are to die for!! I'll have to get going on all these projects... How can I stay on a diet when my mind can't get off of baking!

Lauren's Birthday Cake

Here is my second attempt at a fondant cake... for this one I got a little more ambitious and decided to do a chocolate cake (2 tiers, 2 layers each) with chocolate ganache between each layer as well as a little simple syrup with raspberry extract. Underneath the fondant is a white buttercream frosting. Then to finish it all off was the MM Fondant and gumpaste polka dots. This was quite the process considering Adam's small kitchen (and my cluelessness as to where alot of things were). Thanks for keeping me company Erica! NOTE TO MYSELF- MMF Should be made in the microwave (sorry Adam haha), not on the stove. Stoves=disaster.

We took this cake out to Emiliano's (a fantastic Mexican place) for Lauren's Bday dinner. All of Adam's family was there!! The food was fantastic and the atmosphere was so neat! A nice warm type of feeling in the middle of this freeeezing Pittsburgh winter. I found some little Mexicano froggies that were too cute!

My Very First Fondant Cake

Ta Da! (As Adam's baby cousin Ava often says...) Here is my first creation. I'd like to give a special thanks to Nick on this one. He helped with the moral support end of this little fiasco! What a fantastic end result, I'd have to say. I used a marshmallow fondant reciped I found on Peggy Weaver's baking corner website:

MM (Marshmallow) Fondant Recipe

16 ounces white mini-marshmallows (use a good quality brand)
2 to 5 tablespoons water
2 pounds icing sugar (please use C&H Cane Powdered Sugar for the best results)
½ cup Crisco shortening (you will be digging into it so place in a very easily accessed bowl)

Melt marshmallows and 2 tablespoons of water in a microwave or double boiler: Put the bowl in the microwave for 30 seconds, open microwave and stir, back in microwave for 30 seconds more, open microwave and stir again, and continue doing this until melted. It usually takes about 2 ½ minutes total. Place 3/4 of the powdered sugar on the top of the melted marshmallow mix. Now grease your hands GENEROUSLY - palms, backs and in between fingers, then heavily grease the counter you will be using and dump the bowl of marshmallow/sugar mixture in the middle. (By the way, this recipe is also good for your hands. When I’m done, they are baby soft.) Start kneading like you would bread dough. You will immediately see why you have greased your hands. If you have children in the room they will either laugh at you or look at you with a questioning expression. You might even hear a muttered, “What are you doing?”

This worked fantastically! The fondant was smooth and pliable and rolled out so nicely.
Anyway, you'll see from the pictures how nicely the whole things came together. I'd have to say, the gumpaste was a strange medium to work with. It got too gooey when I added food coloring and too dry when I rolled it flat :/ I know what to expect now for next time!!

Food For Thought...

Always approach love and cooking with reckless abandon. -Dalai Lama