Monday, October 24, 2011

More Halloween beads

Ben wanted to give out the Halloween beads on backpack clips for favors at his birthday party, so I made more of these.  I added some pumpkins and mummies to the mix and made sure all of them had great glow in the dark elements.

And then there was this guy:

Um, no.  This was my stab at Frankenstein, but he looks more like Frankenstein dressing as Groucho Marx for a Halloween party.  So I set that one aside and may try again, but it's getting late in the season to keep turning out the Halloween characters....maybe next year.

Friday, October 21, 2011

The second birthday cake

The Monster House rice krispie cake was gone by the time Ben's actual birthday rolled around.  For his celebration at home, he picked a chocolate cake in the shape of a pumpkin.  I told myself I was going to make it small since it was the second cake and it was just for our family....but that didn't really happen.

I made two chocolate cakes in bundt pans and stacked them with chocolate malt buttercream filling and frosting.  Before I covered them with fondant I turned a small mason jar over (I have a lot of those around) to put in the center part of the cake to support the stem. 

A round of airbrush (have I mentioned how much I love that machine??) and some black fondant pieces for the face finished it off.

I didn't know where to put the candle, so I made a chocolate shot glass with this silicone Halloween mold and filled it with frosting to hold it.  The online reviews for it aren't very good, but I've used it with poured sugar and chocolate and it's easy to use and always works on the first try. 

Time to turn my attention back to the jewelry for a while...the Bizarre Bazaar is in about a month and I still have a lot of prep to do for that!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Monster House cake

October is a big deal in our house.  Both of the boys' birthdays fall in the middle of the month, and Ben and I adore Halloween.  We watch Halloween shows and movies on Nickelodeon and Disney over and over again (how many Halloweentown movies are there anyway?).  One of our favorites is Monster House, and Ben decided he wanted the cake for his birthday party to look like the house in that movie...something like this:

But the party was at a gymnastics place and I wanted to do cupcakes for ease.  We agreed the house would be more decoration-- like a cupcake tower topper-- that we would bring back home.  I considered using a Styrofoam structure, but really.  What’s the fun in that?  I went with a giant rice krispie instead.

Since this was more showpiece and less dessert, I wanted to be sure it was stable enough to hang around for a couple of days.  I coated the entire thing in chocolate, then cream cheese frosting, and finally fondant.

Lots of details followed...poured sugar for the glass windows, little LED lights to go inside the windows, airbrushing...and chocolate-dipped grape stems for trees. Ben loved how it turned out!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Peanut butter cup brownies in a jar

Since shipping cupcakes in a jar worked out so well, I decided to try it out with brownies to see how they would fare...I think they are actually better than the cake--everyone who tried them approved.

I started with brownie batter and added chopped up Reese's peanut butter cups (you can't go wrong with that combination. Ever).  I baked them in the smaller mason jars at a lower temperature (325) because they were so thick. I ended up leaving them in the oven for almost 45 minutes--I just kept checking them until they were done since I had no idea how long to let them bake.

Anything in the jars does better with a ganache over the top, so Ben helped me make peanut butter ganache and pour it in over the brownies. We had a few after dinner and I froze the rest overnight.  We shipped a bunch of them to Grandma for her birthday--success!  I will definitely be making more of these.

Peanut Butter Ganache
*This recipe is for a thin ganache consistency--if I wanted to use it for filling or frosting a cake I would reduce the cream or increase the chocolate a bit
* 10 ounces milk chocolate, coarsely chopped
* 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
* 1 cup heavy cream
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

To make the ganache, put the chocolate and peanut butter into a heatproof bowl and set it aside. Pour the vanilla extract and the cream into a saucepan over medium heat and bring it to a simmer. Pour the cream over the chocolate mixture, cover, and let it all sit until the chocolate is mostly melted--about two minutes. After that, stir the mixture until the everything is completely melted and smooth.