Sunday, January 29, 2012

Are you ready for some foootbaaaaaalll (cake)?!

I have spent the last six days working on this project, and I'm very pleased to finally reveal it. Chris's football banquet was tonight, and I made cake replicas of SU's helmet and football field, as well as football-shaped whoopie pies.
I'll get to all the logistics later (there were a lot of them), for now I want to just show a pic of us dressed up fancy :)
I gave him that bow-tie for Christmas :D
I drew out a diagram of my plan last weekend (I'll post that later). There were a LOT of moving parts, and I didn't finish assembling the cakes until we got to the banquet.
Here are the basics:
Four batches of Swiss Meringue Buttercream
I believe the technical term for that is a "buttload" of frosting :P
Four batches of vanilla cake (resulting in FIVE cakes)
One batch of Marshmallow Fondant
One batch of Whoopie Pies
They don't look great, and that's okay cuz you can't win 'em all!
One jar of Nutella
One jar of Marshmallow Fluff
Rice (wafer) paper
Endless amounts of food coloring (my fingernails are still purple)
Americolor gourmet food writers
Cute football player cake toppings
A face mask made of gumpaste
Two-toned accents around the big cake



Now that that's out of my system...
You may be wondering how exactly I did it. Let me show you....

First up was to make the cakes. 
I used my favorite Vanilla Nirvana cupcakes recipe to make the cakes. I made the batches individually cuz I'm superstitious (or just overly cautious?), but it came to a total of four. Once I got to making the helmet, I was so worn out (and out of ingredients) that I cracked and used... *gulp* a cake mix. I'm not (super) ashamed of that fact, considering all the work I put into this bad boy. 

NEXT, I made the frosting. And boy, did I make a lot of it. 
Here's Sweetapolita's Swiss Meringue Buttercream recipe. You can break it down into smaller batches, which is a good idea if you have anything smaller than a 5-quart Kitchenaid. 
Swiss Meringue Buttercream
Large egg whites- 16 (2 cups if using liquid)
Sugar- 4 cups
Unsalted butter- 5 cups/TEN STICKS (yeah, you read that right. Ten.), softened but cool
Vanilla extract- 2 tbsp
Salt- 1/4 tsp
1. Wipe down ALL of your tools (mixing bowl, whisk attachment, small bowl, and whisk) with a paper towel and lemon juice to remove any possible trace of grease.
2. In the mixing bowl, add egg whites and sugar. Place bowl over a simmering (not boiling) pot of water, and whisk constantly but gently, until temperature reaches 140 degrees F, or, if you don't have a candy thermometer, until the sugar is completely dissolved and the egg whites are hot (feel a drop in between your fingers to make sure no sugar granules remain).
3. Take off the stove, and put bowl back in electric mixer. Using the whisk attachment, whip the mixture until it is thick, glossy, and a neutral temperature (feel the outside of the bowl to test it).
4. Switch to the paddle attachment, and, while mixing on low speed continuously, add butter one cube at a time until incorporated, and mix until it has a silky smooth texture (if it curdles, don't panic! keep beating and it will get smooth).
5. Add vanilla and salt, and mix well.

For the base cake....
I used two 9" layers of the vanilla cake. To get those two-toned dots around the bottom, I put red SMBC and blue SMBC in the same piping bag, and piped 'em out using a large closed star tip. 

I kept the base simple, cuz I figured the helmet would be decoration enough. 

NEXT, I made Marshmallow Fondant. This was the second time I used fondant, and I'm definitely still learning. 
THEN, I stacked and carved the helmet. I had one 6" layer of the vanilla cake, which I split into two, plus half of a Wilton Ball cake. I used Wilton's decorator icing for in between the layers and for the crumb layer.
Here's the cake after I laid the fondant down:

Next, I cut out a strip of red fondant and attached it down the middle, using gum glue (gum paste mixed with water).

Then, I used the method displayed by That Really Frosts Me to cut out the SU logo. Then I used Americolor Gourmet Writers to write "Riddell" on the front and back of the helmet. 
Next... the face mask.
This didn't turn out suuuper great. There are a lot of ideas around the 'net about how to handle the face mask, and I chose to use gumpaste and toothpicks. It kinda broke, but it worked.
I'm gonna put the picture here again, cuz I'm just so proud of it! Hehe!

Once we got to the banquet, I oohhh so carefully placed the helmet on top. I couldn't do it ahead of time, because my cake carriers aren't tall enough!

The field was pretty simple. I bought the goal posts and players at a baking supply store in Winchester, and I used rice paper and red edible paint for the logo. Forgive me for not having taken more pictures, I was just so relieved to be done with the project! Also the banquet was starting, and I didn't want to be that weird person in the back taking random pictures of cake....

I have a TON of homework and sleep to catch up on, so I promise to add the recipe for the whoopie pies tomorrow! 
Ta-ta for now! 

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