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.