Mom’s Birthday Cake

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Did everyone have a nice Easter?  It was a little off-putting to wake up to gray skies and drizzle, but I wore my happiest, Spring-iest dress anyway.  Easter just happened to fall on my mom’s birthday this year, so besides Easter celebrations we had to contend with gifts for her as well.  Since working at an art store, I’ve become inspired to be more creative and I ended up making her card and envelope from shiny art paper, which you can see above.

I moved in with my family a few months ago and cooking or baking isn’t the necessity it once was (hence the recent absence of posts), but I miss it greatly.  I don’t cook because I have to, I cook because I love it!  Birthdays are an excellent opportunity to bake a cake, and I also wanted to try out a marshmallow fondant recipe I had come across online.  Since my mom loves raspberries and chocolate, I decided on a raspberry cake with chocolate frosting, this chocolate frosting doubled to be specific.

If you’re going to follow everything I did, prepare for a sweet cake.  Its better in thin slices, or omit the mashed raspberries for the middle layer.  I had started to make the cake first, but upon realizing that several ingredients needed to be room temp or softened, I left the ingredients out and started on the chocolate frosting instead.  Doubling it ensures you have enough for the middle, top and sides of the cake.  Feisty Tip: Read a newspaper or watch a tv show while you beat the frosting until it cools — it takes over 20 minutes!

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Raspberry Cake
2 c. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 T. baking powder
1/3 c. butter, softened
1 c. sugar
1 egg, room temp
1 c. milk, room temp
1 tsp. vanilla
2 1/2 c. fresh raspberries

Whisk together first three ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.  In another bowl, cream butter and sugar until fluffy.  Beat in egg, milk and vanilla, adding dry ingredients alternately with milk mixture.  Beat well after each addition.  Spread into greased pan and spoon berries over top.  Bake 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until center springs back when lightly touched.
First, this recipe called for a 9×12 pan and I did two 9×9 pans, so I kind of spread it out a bit.  They were shorter than normal but when stacked it was a good sized cake.  I would also suggest using Pam because I buttered the pans and both bottoms got stuck.  I cut the raspberries in half and then placed them into the cake one by one — the original recipe called for 3 1/2 cups but I didn’t need nearly that much since I was cutting them in half.
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Marshmallow Fondant
8 oz. mini marshmallows
4 c. powdered sugar + more for dusting
2 T. water
food coloring (optional)

Coat bowl with Crisco or cooking spray.  Place marshmallows and water in bowl and microwave for 1 minute until puffy and expanded and marshmallows are no longer individual pieces (took me 1 min 20 seconds).  Stir with rubber spatula until melted & smooth, free of lumps.  Add powdered sugar and stir with spatula.  I added 1 cup at a time and ended up only doing 3 cups instead of 4.  Stir until sugar incorporates and its impossible to stir.  Dust hands with powdered sugar (like flour when making dough!) and knead on a dusted surface, working sugar into marshmallow.  Knead until smooth and loses its stickiness.
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To add color, break into smooth balls and flatten into round discs.  Add a few drops of coloring to center of disc and fold over so color is enclosed.  Knead the ball like before until streaks of color become uniform. Use gloves if you don’t want coloring on hands.
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Wrap in plastic wrap dusted with powdered sugar and store in fridge.  Must be kneaded until supple before use.
Now, when making the fondant, I thought I was doing it wrong.  Adding one cup at a time wasn’t letting the powdered sugar fully incorporate after the second cup, and I ended up just taking out of the bowl what stuck together, leaving about a half cup of powdered sugar sitting in the bowl.  It wasn’t until I started kneading the fondant that I realized it was fondant and I had done it right.  This fondant just tastes like a spoonful of powdered sugar; the marshmallow is a bonding so the powdered sugar can be treated like clay.  It is very much like clay, in that if it sits out for a bit of time without being touched, it starts to get hard.  Right after kneading it is the best time to use it.
To create shapes, I rolled it out on the counter and cut it with a sharp knife.  Cookie cutters would work really well here as well.

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To assemble:
Place one round cake on plate.  Cover with chocolate frosting.  Since I had a lot of extra berries, I mashed berries on a plate and then spooned them onto the frosting.  If you don’t like very sweet desserts, skip this step.  Place second round cake on top of first cake.  No pressure, if they don’t match up exactly just push the top one into place.  Frost top and sides of cake.  Cut out fondant pieces, shaping them with fingers as you go.  Next time, I will roll out my fondant pieces more to make them thinner.  You are left with a raspberry and chocolate cake, topped with fondant decorations and raspberry and fondant flowers!  Moms will love it; I know mine sure did.

Love,
Feisty

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