Home » Zoe and Pippa’s Hot Air Balloon Cake

Zoe and Pippa’s Hot Air Balloon Cake

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Today Zoe and Pippa turn two! So crazy that two years have already passed, really crazy. They are amazing and sweet and smart and funny and rambunctious and a total delight. Yeah, I am not exactly objective, so what. Even Grandmas know extraordinary when they see it. Oh yeah, and beautiful too.   When Rebekkah asked them what color of cake they wanted she got 2 answers – Red and Blue. They love many things things with one those things being hot air balloons. Thus, the color and theme of the cake. It was a blast to make and even more of a blast to be able to make it together. It is not often that the two of us are in the same kitchen baking these days so sharing this baking experience has been something I personally will always treasure. So back to the cake! Rebekkah had the concept and was the lead on this cake project and she did a fantastic job! It was actually an easy cake to make, ingredient wise,  just allow yourself some time – Also a bit time consuming to assemble due to all the various parts. A short cut would be to just go ahead and buy your favorite cake mix and use that. Go ahead do it, no one will care, seriously they won’t. And if you want to just tell them you made it do it (!) we promise not to tell :-) Anyway, the girls loved it!!  It definitely surprised them. …  A BIG Happy Birthday to two most precious girls……

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Hot Air Balloon Cake

 

Basic Chocolate Cake:

 

Ingredients:

 

1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (natural or Dutch process)
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs, at room temperature
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Directions:

 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Coat two 9-inch-round cake pans and one 8-inch-square pan with cooking spray and line the bottoms with parchment paper.
Whisk the cocoa powder and 1 1/2 cups boiling water in a medium bowl until smooth; set aside. Whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl until combined.

Add the eggs, vegetable oil, sour cream and vanilla and beat with a mixer on medium speed until smooth, about 1 minute. Reduce the mixer speed to low; beat in the cocoa mixture in a steady stream until just combined, then finish mixing with a rubber spatula. (The batter will be thin.)
Divide the batter between the prepared pans and tap the pans against the counter to help the batter settle. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean, 30 to 40 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.

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Peanut Butter Frosting (for center and crumb)

 

Ingredients:

 

1 cup peanut butter

1/2 cup butter, softened

2 cups powdered sugar

 

Directions:

 

Using your mixer, mix until smooth the peanut butter and butter. Add the powdered sugar about 1/2 cup at a time mixing until smooth.

 

Marshmallow Fondant:

 

Ingredients:

 

10 1/2 oz marshmallows

1 lb 4 oz powdered sugar

food coloring

oil (for your hands)

cornstarch, for dusting

 

little wooden sticks

 

Directions:

 

For the marshmallow fondant, add the marshmallows, a tablespoon water and a little food coloring to a microwave safe bowl.

Heat in short bursts in a microwave on a medium heat, stirring well each time, until the marshmallows are melted. Stir in the icing sugar and mix until it forms a rough paste – don’t worry if there are still lumps of icing sugar at this stage.

Grease your hands and a work surface with vegetable oil. Tip out the marshmallow paste and knead until the paste is smooth. Shape it into a rough circle wrap in cling film and set aside.

Dust a clean work surface and a rolling pin with cornstarch and roll out the marshmallow fondant until large enough to cover the cake with some excess.

Lift the marshmallow fondant onto the cake and smooth the top using a fondant icing smoother if you have one, or your hands. Carefully smooth down the sides, making sure you push out any air bubbles as you go. If you have any small creases rub them out using a little cornstarch. Trim off any excess icing from the bottom.

Hint: Make sure to add the food color when directed, it is impossible to incorporate otherwise. Trust us on this one, we lived it and it was not pretty.

 

Putting it all together!!

First up –  trim the tops of the cakes with a long serrated knife to make them level. Place one of the rounds on your serving platter, or in our case a foil and parchment lined box (yes, a box) spoon on the peanut butter frosting generously and top with second round layer. Cut the square cake horizontally in half to create two layers. You are using this cake to create both the base of the ballon and the balloons basket. Either free form this or cut a pattern using parchment paper, place on cake and cut around it. Once you have created the base, place one layer on the bottom of your round cake, frost and then top with second layer. Now place bottom (layer) of the basket below your balloon, frost and top with second layer. Crumb coat the whole thing and place in a cool area to set.

Follow directions for handling and creating fondant above. Rebekkah free formed cut the fondant but making a pattern, again out of parchment works great too. Use the small sticks to create the “ropes”. Have fun with this!

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