Pavlova is a sweet and light dessert that makes a strong case for fairy food. It makes sense that it's named after a particularly graceful ballerina! Learn how to make it--it's surprisingly easy. Recipe here.
Here's a fun project for kids of all ages: how to turn honeycomb into chocolate.
That's right: you can take honeycomb like this:
and bing! make it into chocolate, like this:
So, how do you do it? Well, to do it with the "bing" method featured above, you will need magic powers and probably a wand of some sort. If you don't happen to have these things around, all you need is a double boiler, a rubber spatula for stirring and spreading, some parchment paper, some chocolate to melt, and bubble wrap. Yes, bubble wrap!
Here, I will walk you step by step through the process so that you can do it at home. I got the idea for this fantastic project from a wonderful book: Roald Dahl's Revolting Recipes.
- parchment paper
- a board or work surface
- a rubber spatula
- chocolate (approximately 8 ounces; more or less is fine)
- a double boiler or a bowl suspended over simmering liquid
- bubble wrap
Now that you have all of your supplies, let's get to work.
Step 1: First, set your parchment paper above a board or on a countertop. Set it to the side for the moment, you'll come back to it.
Step 2: Wash the bubble wrap thoroughly.
This may be the strangest thing you've found yourself doing in quite some time. Once it's clean, dry it thoroughly. Don't pop the bubbles! Place the dried pieces facing bubbles-up on your parchment paper.
Step 3: Melt the chocolate. I used a mix of white and dark chocolate morsels for a swirly effect. For instructions on how to melt chocolate, visit this post.
Now, gently spread the chocolate on top of the bubble wrap.
Spread it fairly thick: you don't want to see the shape of the bubbles beneath.
Step 5: Let it dry. This can take a few hours, or let it chill out overnight.
Step 6: Flip the pieces of chocolate so that the bubble wrap now faces up. Be gentle! Gently peel off the bubble wrap. Marvel at what you've created!
Step 7: I like to break mine up into chunks, put it on a plate, and ask people if they've ever turned honeycomb into chocolate before.
Do you think bees would like this treat?
OK, so maybe you'd never fantasized specifically about making a birdcage cake. But wouldn't it be cool if you could create cakes of the caliber of the one pictured above?
Believe me when I tell you this class will help you cake--er, make--it happen.
Listen, between you and me, I can write about cake design, cakes, and recipes, till the cows come home, but when it comes to creating intricately decorated works, I am not quite as confident. I know what fondant spacers are, and tools. But the ease of decorating doesn't come as easy to me as, say, watercoloring.
I knew right away when I started this course that Lindy knew what she was doing. Things I hadn't really considered, such as "polishing" the fondant to ensure a perfectly smooth finish, were presented in an informative way--she didn't assume a certain level of expertise, but at the same time, didn't simply dumb things down. I appreciated that.
As she presents the various steps that go into this cake, something magical starts to happen. The project goes from completely inaccessible and daunting, something other people, people more talented than you do, to a number of manageable tasks.
It's not a matter of "make an amazing cake"--it's more a matter of, follow these steps, from embossing the baseboard to properly leveling and shaping the cakes to assembling using dowels to covering them with fondant and decorating with silhouettes and various layers...and after you've done all of these manageable tasks, you'll have this amazing cake.
And you know what? I think that even if you never make the cake (because honestly, I haven't yet, but I now believe I can, and that's pretty important), this course is absolutely worth the price. Because you'll pick up all sorts of tips for cake decorating that can be applied to other projects, including stenciling techniques, clever application of luster dust, what types of cake stack and shape well, and too many more little tidbits to name in one short blog post.
So not only will you learn how to make a cake that will impress all of your friends, but you'll naturally and easily develop some skills that might just have you impressing yourself. Look, here's a cake made by someone who took the class:
Now that takes the cake, sweeties!
Oh, and lucky readers, Craftsy said that since I posted about the class they'd give my readers a totally sweet discount on the class. Lucky you!
Use this link to navigate to a 25% discount on the class: www.craftsy.com/ext/110813_jessie_vintage
Note: I'm not on a referral program or anything, so please don't feel like I'm selling you some cake version of Amway here--I just think it's a nifty course and Craftsy, a business I believe in and work for as a freelancer, was kind enough to offer the discount for my readers. Sweet!