Happy spring, friends!

Thank you for being here. You make my day when you come show your smiling faces and leave kind words.

I just finished a Fondant and Gum Paste course, and I’m bouncing off the walls with excitement, wanting to show you the end result.

Picture a wide-eyed six-year-old, running at top-speed through the door after school, so breathless and eager to show Mom the art project that she made in kindergarten — all covered with pipe cleaners and popsicle sticks, and smeared with orange marker and glitter.

img_5144

Fondant is new territory for me, but I have had a blast learning how to work with it and make it do what I want. I’m not a fan of the flavor of fondant — even the homemade marshmallow fondant — but when the end result is so smooth and pretty, what’s a girl to do? Peel it off and eat the incredible chocolate cake underneath, that’s what.

Gum paste flowers. You can do some pretty cool stuff with gum paste.

img_5146

Oh, you want the recipe for this incredible chocolate cake underneath? Gladly.

This chocolate cake comes together in one bowl. Super easy. The result? It’s a sock-knocker-offer. The King Arthur Flour blog recommends a chocolate ganache icing. Please promise me you’ll do that. It wouldn’t have worked on this particular cake, since I was covering it with fondant. But you can bet your buttons I’ll be playing with ganache next time this cake shows its face in my kitchen.

img_5164

Fudge Cake

adapted from Bakers’ Banter

2 cups sugar

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons Instant ClearJel or cornstarch

3/4 cup Dutch-process cocoa

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

4 large eggs

1 cup vegetable oil

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1-1/4 cup water, room temperature

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare two 8″ rounds with grease and parchment paper. (If your 8″ rounds aren’t 2″ high, you’ll want to use 9″ rounds instead.)

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together all the dry ingredients. Add the eggs, oil, and vanilla, beating until smooth. Gradually add the water, beating until smooth.

Pour the batter into prepared pans and bake for 34-36 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool the cakes in the pan for 15 minutes, then turn them out onto a cooling rack to cool completely.

Chocolate Ganache

1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

1-1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips, room temperature

Directions:

Place the chocolate chips in a heat-proof bowl. In a small saucepan, bring the cream just to a boil. Immediately pour over the chocolate chips. Let it stand for 2 minutes, then stir gently until the chocolate is all the way melted, and the ganache is dark and glossy. Let it cool slightly before spreading it on the cake. It will be very messy and delicious.