As sad as it is, summer is coming to an end and school is starting again! In honor of these last few days of summer, I decided to go all out by making a vanilla cake with buttercream frosting and marshmallow and chocolate fondant all from scratch. The decoration on top is palm trees with a sunset in the background. I really wish summer didn’t have to end!
- 2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for the pans
- 3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for the pans
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 4 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup heavy cream
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter two 9-inch-round cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper; butter the parchment and dust the pans with flour, tapping out the excess.
- Whisk 3 cups flour, the baking powder and salt in a bowl until combined. Beat 2 sticks butter and the sugar in a large bowl with a mixer on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Reduce the mixer speed to medium; beat in the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the bowl as needed. Beat in the vanilla. (The mixture may look separated at this point.)
- Mix 1/2 cup water with the cream in a liquid measuring cup or bowl. Beat the flour mixture into the butter mixture in 3 batches, alternating with the cream mixture, beginning and ending with flour, until just smooth.
- Divide the batter between the prepared pans. Bake until the cakes are lightly golden on top and the centers spring back when pressed, 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer to racks and let cool 10 minutes, then run a knife around the edge of the pans and turn the cakes out onto the racks to cool completely. Remove the parchment. Trim the tops of the cakes with a long serrated knife to make them level.
- 3 cups confectioners’ sugar
- 1 cup butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 to 2 tablespoons whipping cream
- In a standing mixer fitted with a whisk, mix together sugar and butter. Mix on low speed until well blended and then increase speed to medium and beat for another 3 minutes.
- Add vanilla and cream and continue to beat on medium speed for 1 minute more, adding more cream if needed for spreading consistency
- Spread the frosting on top of one of the cakes generously. Place the other cake on top and make sure they are even.
- 8 ounces miniature marshmallows (4 cups not packed, or half of a 16-ounce bag)
- 1 pound powdered sugar (4 cups), plus extra for dusting
- 2 tbsp water
- Dust your counter or a large cutting board with powdered sugar. Place the marshmallows and the water in a large microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high for 1 minute, until the marshmallows are puffy and expanded.
- Stir the marshmallows with a rubber spatula until they are melted and smooth. If some unmelted marshmallow pieces remain, return to the microwave for 30-45 seconds, until the marshmallow mixture is entirely smooth and free of lumps. If you want colored or flavored fondant, you can add several drops of food coloring or extracts at this point and stir until incorporated. If you want to create multiple colors or flavors from one batch of fondant, do not add the colors or flavors now. Instead, refer to step 6 below for instructions.
- Add the powdered sugar and begin to stir with the spatula. Stir until the sugar begins to incorporate and it becomes impossible to stir anymore.
- Scrape the marshmallow-sugar mixture out onto the prepared work surface. It will be sticky and lumpy, with lots of sugar that has not been incorporated yet–this is normal. Dust your hands with powdered sugar, and begin to knead the fondant mixture like bread dough, working the sugar into the marshmallow with your hands.
- Continue to knead the fondant until it smoothes out and loses its stickiness. Add more sugar if necessary, but stop adding sugar once it is smooth–too much sugar will make it stiff and difficult to work with. Once the fondant is a smooth ball, it is ready to be used. You can now roll it out, shape it, or wrap it in cling wrap to use later. Well-wrapped fondant can be stored in a cool room or in the refrigerator, and needs to be kneaded until supple before later use.
- If you want to add coloring or flavoring to your fondant, flatten it into a round disc. You might want to wear gloves to avoid getting food coloring on your hands during this step. Add your desired amount of coloring or flavoring to the center of the disc, and fold the disc over on itself so that the color or flavor is enclosed in the center of the fondant ball.
- Begin to knead the ball of fondant just like you did before. As you work it, you will begin to see streaks of color coming through from the center. Continue to knead until the streaks are gone and the fondant is a uniform color. Your fondant is now ready to be used or stored as outlined above. (If you want to get the tie-dye/sunset effect like I did, add different drops of food coloring and carefully knead the dough until the colors have spread out like so. Make sure you don’t completely knead in the colors or else it will become one blob of colors.)
- Roll out the fondant into a huge circle, bigger than your cake. Roll up the fondant and then place it on the side of the cake and roll it over the top of the cake. Smooth it out and trim the extra fondant on the edge on the bottom.
- 6 cups confectioners sugar, sifted
- 5 fluid ounces water
- 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
- 3 squares (1 oz.) unsweetened chocolate,chopped
- In a saucepan, combine confectioners’ sugar, water and corn syrup. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until it reaches a temperature of 92 degrees F (33 degrees C.) Remove from heat and stir in chopped chocolate and until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth.
- Cut the fondant however desired. Add water on bottom of fondant with finger before placing it on top of cake, so it sticks.
- You can also use the leftover marshmallow fondant to make a different color for the decoration on top.
- Once the decoration is finished, use the leftover buttercream frosting and color that as desired. Put into piping bag and pipe onto bottom of cake in any pattern you like.