Treat of the Week: Unbirthday Cake

I have a confession to make.  I don’t really like fondant.  Well, at least not in the traditional sense.  I find that the almond flavor only slightly masks what is already bland.

While today’s post is about the treat of the week, it also has a great deal to do with making a fondant that you will love.  If nothing else, kids will love it.  Here’s why.  We substituted almond extract for pure lemon extract and added some citric acid.  What you get is something more like a cake covered in zesty lemonade.  

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This is the perfect cake for a birthday party although I must admit I had ulterior motives for making it.  Next week is Mad Hatter’s Day and I wanted to give you something you could tackle for it or any other spontaneous celebration.  That is why we have made an Unbirthday Cake.

If you have been fearful of making fondant in the past, you are going to laugh yourself silly over how simple it is to make.  All you need is the right ingredients, the right instructions, and a little patience.

savour… any reason to celebrate

Get the rest after the jump...

Unbirthday Cake

Before you start:

I am not a cake decorator.  I have a great amount of respect for them.  This is a cake that just about anyone can do with a very small amount of practice.  The results will wow the recipients.

You could substitute agave syrup for the corn syrup.

Some recipes will suggest that the glycerin is not necessary.  I cannot attest to that as I have always used this recipe… successfully.

If you can find it (most likely at a cake decorating shop) use powdered color.  Alternatively, you can use gel color, but it won't be sifted in with sugar.  You will have to add that at the kneading stage (wear food gloves to avoid dyeing your hands).  You should not use liquid food color as that will change the consistency too much.

The citric acid is important if you wish to make this tangy.  You won't need much.  It goes a long way.  You might remember it from this fruit cup post.

If your fondant dries out you can bring it back to life by microwaving it for just a few seconds.

To use the fondant:

  1. Form a disk of the fondant on a flat surface lightly dusted with confectioners’ sugar. 
  2. Roll out turning a quarter turn after each pass to a thickness of about ¼ inch.
  3. If covering a cake, make sure you have rolled out enough to cover top and sides.
  4. Fold the sheet of fondant over your rolling pin and transfer to the cake top.
  5. Smooth over the sides and cut away excess.
  6. Smooth out even more with a flat tool such as a bench scraper.
  7. Alternatively, cut out pieces or make balls to use as decoration for cupcakes in conjunction with frosting.

Pink Lemonade Fondant

The ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon unflavored gelatin
  • ¼ cup cold water
  • 1 teaspoon pure lemon extract
  • ½ cup light corn syrup
  • 1 tablespoon glycerin
  • 2 pounds confectioners’ sugar
  • ¾ teaspoon citric acid
  • food coloring
  • ½ tsp of vegetable shortening
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The method:

  1. Sprinkle gelatin over water in a microwave safe bowl.  Allow it to rest for 2-3 min to soften.
  2. Microwave gelatin for 30 seconds to dissolve.
  3. Add lemon extract, corn syrup, and glycerin.  Whisk until well combined.
  4. Sift 1 ½ pounds of sugar, powdered coloring, and citric acid into a mixing bowl.  Whisk just to mix Make a well in the center. 
  5. Pour the wet ingredients into the well and mix well.
  6. Lightly dust a clean, dry work surface with some of the remaining sugar.
  7. Begin kneading the mixture on the work surface adding in the remaining sugar as you go.
  8. Knead until all of the sugar has been incorporated.
  9. Using your fingertips add in the vegetable shortening gradually and knead in completely.
  10. Store fondant in plastic wrap in an airtight container until ready to use. 

The Assembly:

  1. Make a cake of your choice.  We used a standard white cake recipe, but you can feel free to use a box mix (we won’t tell).
  2. After cooling, apply a crumb coat of frosting and place in the freezer for a couple of hours.
  3. Remove from the freezer and top one layer with frosting and then about ½ cup of strawberry jam.
  4. Top with the other cake, fill in the sides with frosting and make even all the way around.
  5. Top with fondant layer.
  6. We cut a second fondant layer using our cake pan as a guide.  Just make a wavy line with a knife about an inch away from all sides. Lay it centered on the top of the cake.
  7. Decorate as you wish with frosting.