Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Hamburger Cupcakes

Imagine my surprise when Megan at in words and pictures asked me to do a guest post while she is off in Europe shooting a video on craft photography. My first thought was, she's nuts. But I've know Megan since she was a small girl, and she has a very special place in our hearts, so I knew we could not let her down. Megan is such a talented and creative person. She can put together a perfectly felted peep, then turn around and whip up some mushroom risotto, and just when you think she is done, Megan shows you some amazing gardening ideas. And on top of everything, she writes about it in a way that both makes you laugh and feel like you can do anything she just did! This girl can do it all. Her blog covers food, crafts, gardening, photography and life, so if you want a few details on how to make these fun cupcakes and a chance to meet Megan head on over to in words and pictures.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Monkey Cake

It's no secret that we like to monkey around here at Mimi's Kitchen, so when Mimi Jr. asked me to help her make a monkey cake for a friend, I was happy to assist. It has been many years since I covered a cake in fondant. The cakes always look beautiful, but my family didn't really go for the taste of the fondant so I stuck to buttercreams and ganaches for our family cakes. For this cake, we decide to try marshmallow fondant. It's super simple to make and it really does taste better than the fondant I remember making in the past. This is a really easy cake to make and we thought the fairly simple shape was a good starting point for us to get back into fondant covered cakes.

Marshmallow Fondant

1/4 cup butter
1 (16 ounce) package miniature marshmallows
4 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 pounds confectioners' sugar, divided

1. Place the butter in a shallow bowl, and set aside.

2. Place the marshmallows in a large microwave-safe bowl, and microwave on High for 30 seconds to 1 minute to start melting the marshmallows. Carefully stir the water and vanilla extract into the hot marshmallows, and stir until the mixture is smooth. Slowly beat in the confectioners' sugar, a cup at a time, until you have a sticky dough. Reserve 1 cup of powdered sugar for kneading. The dough will be very stiff.

3.Rub your hands thoroughly with butter, and begin kneading the sticky dough. As you knead, the dough will become workable and pliable. Turn the dough out onto a working surface dusted with confectioners' sugar and continue kneading until the fondant is smooth and no longer sticky to the touch, 5 to 10 minutes.

4.Form the fondant into a ball, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight. To use, allow the fondant to come to room temperature, and roll it out onto a flat surface dusted with confectioners' sugar.
  printable recipe

Before we got started, Mimi Jr. sketched out her idea and made a template for the face. She started with an 8 inch chocolate layer cake, then filled and crumb coated it with an espresso buttercream frosting. Color your fondant first, before you start constructing the cake, since the color deepens as it rests. You will need three colors of fondant- tan, dark brown and black. For the dark brown fondant, we used both cocoa powder and brown gel food coloring to get the right color. Be careful with cocoa powder as it does seem to dry out the fondant if you add too much. The tan was colored with a small drop or two of brown gel, and the black was also colored with some gel coloring.

For the ears she made an extra cake layer in an 8 inch square pan, and using a cookie cutter, she cut out four small circles of cake, which she frosted and crumb coated like two mini layer cakes. Using the same cutter she cut out a half circle on the main cake on each side where she wanted the ears to be placed. She then frosted over the cut outs on the main cake and slid the ears into place. The frosting helped to hold everything together. Once it was all frosted and put together, we chilled the cake until every thing was set.
When the caked had firmed up in the fridge, we rolled out the dark chocolate fondant and draped it over the cake smoothing it out and using a pizza cutter to trim around the base of the cake.
Next up was the face and ears in tan fondant. We rolled a thin sheet of the tan fondant and placed the face template on top and cut around it with the tip of a sharp knife. We used the black fondant for the eyes, nose, and mouth. We attached all the pieces on top with a little bit of water.

This was a fun project to do and we liked working with this fondant. It was easy to make and use, and tasted so much better than any other fondant. I know we will definitely be using this again next time we have a fun cake project.

Thursday, May 5, 2011


Ryan at POM Wonderful asked if I would like to try their product. No strings attached. He didn't ask me to write a post about it, he just asked me to enjoy it. And enjoy it we did. We love plain pomegranate juice, so we started by pouring POM and sparkling water over ice to make a really refreshing drink that was fruity but not too sweet. Although delicious as just a juice, we knew there were many more uses for our remaining bottles of POM. 

 Next we made a pomegranate curd. The egg yolks turned the curd a weird color, but it still tasted great. The curd can be used any way you would use a lemon or orange curd, and we turned it into the filling for some pink French Macaroons that I had made. The color combo is not so pretty, but the tangy curd and sweet chewy macaroons were perfect together.

Pomegranate Curd
adapted from Cook's Illustrated

1 cup pomegranate juice, reduced to 1/2 cup
1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold
1 tablespoon heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
a pinch of salt

Heat pomegranate juice in in a small pan over medium heat until reduced to 1/2 cup.  In a non reactive sauce pan whisk eggs and sugar until light and lemon colored. Whisking constantly, slowly add the pomegranate reduction to the eggs. Place pan over medium heat and cook, stirring continuously until the mixture is thick and coats the back of a spoon (170 degrees). Remove from heat and stir in cold butter, mix until incorporated; stir in cream, vanilla and salt. Pour curd through a fine mesh strainer into a small bowl. Cover surface directly with plastic wrap and refrigerate until needed.
printable recipe

Then the curd became a white chocolate pomegranate mousse with a pomegranate reduction. We had made this mousse before without the pomegranate and found it a little too sweet from the white chocolate, but the addition of the curd and pomegranate reduction made it just right.

Pomegranate White Chocolate Mousse
adapted from 5 Ingredient Fix

7 ounces white chocolate, very finely chopped
2 large egg yolks
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 1/4 cups heavy cream, divided
1/2 cup pomegranate curd
1/2 cup pomegranate juice reduced by to 1/4 cup

Place white chocolate in a glass bowl and set aside. Whisk the egg yolks with the sugar until pale in color.
In a saucepan over medium-low heat, bring 1/4 cup cream to a simmer. While whisking, slowly pour the warm cream into the egg yolk mixture to temper. Pour the creamy mixture back into the pan, return to medium-low heat and stir with a wooden spoon until thickened and it coats the back of the spoon. Pour the hot egg mixture through a fine mesh sieve placed directly over the chopped white chocolate. Let stand a few minutes without disturbing and then stir the chocolate until completely smooth.Stir in the curd.

In another bowl, whip the remaining 1 cup cream until soft peaks form. Fold the half the whipped cream into the chocolate mixture to lighten, and then fold in the remaining whipped cream.

Spoon into serving dishes and refrigerate at least one hour. Drizzle with pomegranate reduction and shaved dark chocolate prior to serving.

Finally we made some pomegranate sorbet. It is so easy to make and perfectly refreshing for the hot weather ahead.


Pomegranate Sorbet
a method

Mix 2 cups pomegranate juice and the juice of one lime with simple syrup, to taste. Pour into ice cream machine and process according to manufacturer's directions. If you don't have an ice cream machine, just pour the mixture into a shallow pan and place in the freezer. Stir with a fork, breaking up the ice crystal every 15 minutes until frozen.

A big thank you to Ryan from POM for this great product. We enjoyed it in so many ways, and I have already received requests for pomegranate margaritas from Mr. Mimi and some dark chocolate pomegranate truffles from Mimi Jr., so I can see a few more bottles of POM on the grocery list in the near future so we can continue to explore the possibilities of POM!