Burnt Caramel Custard (Pot de Crème)

What initially attracted me to this dessert was the word ‘burnt,’ and that interests stems from 2 reasons: 1) Usually burnt is not a great descriptor for food, so I was intrigued; and 2) Holy sh*t is it cold out. If somethin’s gettin’ burned, somethin’s gettin’ hot, and I like that.

I’ve also recently come to appreciate the custard, whereas in my younger days I thought ‘why waste dessert on something that’s not cake?’ Don’t get me wrong, I still think flan is the stuff of nightmares, deserving of retirement à la green, canned-fruit-stuffed jello molds. Crème brûlée also deserves to be slapped down a peg or two [I mean, it’s no tarte tatin]. But custard? Well, custard is unpretentious, easy to make, and isn’t the monster of the classic horror movie, “The Blob.”

This burnt caramel custard, or pot de crème if you want to get French about it, is creamy without being overwhelmingly rich, is chocked full of vanilla beans for a complex finish, and has the taste of your favorite salted caramel…the stuff you get for $16 from Williams-Sonoma because your Aunt gave you some unexpected Christmas money, not the stuff inside of Milk Duds.

Still not convinced? It also has a super easy, 1-minute-to-make, fresh maple whipped cream topping. Oh, and you can make the custard 2 days ahead-the perfect dessert for when you have to make all the things o__0

If I turn into The Blob from calorie consumption I apologize, residents of D.C, but…IT.WAS.WORTH.IT😉

caramel4[Recipe from Bon Appétit. Makes 8 custards in 6-oz. ramekins.]

Equipment:

  • Pastry brush [optional]
  • Whisk
  • 8 [6-oz.] ramekins
  • Baking dish or roasting pan [I used a 9×13 cake pan]
  • Handheld beaters or a stand mixer [optional]

Ingredients:

  • 1 quart heavy cream + 8 oz. heavy cream
  • 2-3 Tbl. maple syrup or to-taste
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
  • 3/4 cup + 4 Tbl. sugar, divided
  • 6 large egg yolks, rm. temp.
  • Pinch of kosher salt
  • Flaky sea salt [I used Maldon]

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Place 1 quart cream in a medium saucepan ; scrape in seeds from the vanilla bean and add pod. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Remove from heat and set aside.

Bring 3/4 cup plus 2 Tbl. sugar and 2 Tbl. water to a boil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Boil, swirling pan occasionally and brushing down sides of pan with a wet pastry brush, until mixture turns a deep amber color, about 4 min.; remove caramel from heat.

Remove vanilla pod from cream and discard. Slowly add cream to caramel [mixture will bubble]. Heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until smooth, about 2 min.

Whisk egg yolks, kosher salt, and remaining 2 Tbl. sugar in a large bowl. Slowly stream in caramel cream, whisking constantly. Divide custard among the 8 ramekins and place in a kitchen towel-lined baking dish. Fill pan with water to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins.

Bake until custard is just set but still jiggly in the center, 60-70 min. Remove ramekins from baking dish and place on a wire rack to let cool. Chill custards in the fridge, uncovered, at least 3 hours.

Before serving your custard, beat the 8 oz. of heavy cream with 2-3 Tbl. of maple syrup with mixers on high until the cream is stiff. Top chilled custards with the whipped cream and sprinkle with sea salt.

*Note: Custards can be made 2 days ahead. After chilled for 3 hours, cover tightly with plastic wrap, ensuring that the wrap does not touch the surface of the custard. Keep chilled.

Sprinkling with over-priced sea salt. Ignore the Elvira nails.

caramel5Topping with whipped cream, because, clearly, this dessert was suffering from a heavy cream-deficiency😉

caramelThe consistency is ridiculously perfect.

caramel2Ohhhhh artsy photo!

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A Very Baking Christmas

You may be saying to yourself: ‘Meris doesn’t care about her blog anymore…either that or she’s become a vegan and spends her time shunning technology in an Amish hideaway.’ Lies, all lies. Truth is, I’ve been baking up a storm the last few weeks, squirreling away recipes and hurried photos so that I can once again bombard the Internets. [*Sidenote: I don’t think the Amish are vegans, but whatevs]

To begin with, I made strawberry cupcakes from a box with jar icing for my coworker, Little Jake, who says this is his favorite kind of cake and icing. Behold, my foray back into Betty Crocker [I couldn’t help it-had to make little star decorations]:

xmas2Next came the holiday cupcakes for my office:

xmas6Everything was made with either gum paste or stiff buttercream.

xmas3

The snowman was everyone’s favorite. And yes, I realize that’s more pimp hat than snow hat.

xmasThe cupcakes are red velvet with cream cheese frosting and gingerbread with cinnamon cream cheese frosting. You can find the recipe for the red velvet cupcakes here and for the cream cheese frosting here. The gingerbread cupcake recipe is here at King Arthur Flour and I use my own cream cheese frosting I listed above rather than KAF’s, but change it a bit by adding cinnamon to taste.

xmas5Enough to please a crowd!

xmas4My editorial cohorts, Denny and Jake in their holiday finest😉

denny_jakeLaura and I in our 4-glasses-of-wine finest. I made duck face because I thought we were taking a funny photo…no one told me it wasn’t supposed to be funny o__0

laura_meAnd finally the Bûche de Noël (a French Yule Log) for my boyfriend’s family. [You can find my Frenchie mother’s handed-down-through-generations recipe here] Before I show you what I made this year, I thought I’d show you my very first try a few years back:

bucheAnd the Bûche de Noël of 2013! A little less cartoonish? My meringue mushrooms also don’t look like little albino poops. [You can find the fool-proof meringue mushroom recipe here]

xmas7I tried really hard to make a pine cone by just “winging it” and no research into how gum paste pine cones are actually made…sooooo it’s a flower-pine cone😉

xmas8The holly-looking decoration was made with gum paste.

xmas9Aerial view. The “bark” was made by melting chocolate onto a huge sheet of waxed paper, letting it dry ALMOST completely, then breaking it off randomly into chunks.

xmas10I apologize for the lack of quality photos this time, peeps! I really was in a huge rush making these things this year for some reason, so I snapped and wrapped without much thought. Future posts will have much better photos!

Speaking of future posts, stick around…burnt caramel custards are on the horizon. And by that I mean literally in the next few days and not another few months as has been my horrible habit lately😉

Happy belated holidays, everyone!

Pumpkin, Cheese & Chard Lasagna

The vegetable section of the grocery store is usually a mystery to me: What are those leaves? Is that dirty-looking root thing edible? Do people really enjoy consuming kale, or do they just like purchasing it for the “Look-I’m-so-healthy-and-better-than-you” one-uppance, which I like to call the “grocery twat” factor.

But nothing has fascinated me more than the fall pumpkin and squash section, which I only recently learned is not just there as a seasonal decoration-people actually cook these fuglies and make stuff with them. Laugh all you want, but the only time my foodie family ever touched a whole pumpkin was to turn it into a really ferocious porch creepster.

Imagine my surprise when I felt oddly adventurous a couple of months ago and tried butternut squash ravioli with a sage brown butter sauce, and not only DEVOURED it, but learned that squash can taste like unseasoned canned pumpkin…and that you can BAKE with it. More specifically, that you can pair it with pasta and cream and turn it into a fatty’s paradise [swoon].

After looking online at all the things you can do with squash and carbs, I chose to make a fall lasagna, which consists of lots of veggies-you got sage, parsley, rainbow swiss chard (which is, [ahem] actually more nutrient-dense than kale), butternut squash, pumpkin, and onion-as well as a lot of what makes food actually taste good: milk, cream, fontina, parmesan, and cranberry goat cheese.

All the flavors blend together to make an insanely satisfying seasonal lasagna, which basically counts as no calories at all, since the healthiness of the chard and squash cancel out the unhealthiness of the cream and cheese. It’s how the universe balances itself people, and it’s called science😉

[Makes a 9×13″ lasagna. However many servings you want to make out of that is up to you, my friend :))

pumplasagna5

Equipment: 

  • 9×13″ baking pan
  • Vegetable peeler

Ingredients: [*Note: Many of these ingredients can be subbed for lower-calorie things. Don’t want to use heavy cream? Use fat free 1/2&1/2. Don’t want to use whole milk? Use 2%, etc.]

  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 lb. whole milk cottage cheese, mixed with about half of a log of cranberry goat cheese.
  • 1 Tbl. julienned fresh sage
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat leaf Italian parsley
  • 1/2 tsp. minced garlic
  • Some kosher salt and ground pepper to taste
  • 1 butternut squash, cut, peeled, and sliced thin [more info below]
  • 1 1/2 to 2 lbs. rainbow swiss chard, stems removed, washed and chopped
  • 3 Tbl. olive oil, divided
  • 1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cups [28 oz. can] canned pumpkin puree, divided
  • 12 sheets no-boil lasagna noodles
  • 1 cup gated fontina
  • 1 cup grated parmesan
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg, divided
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream, divided

pumplasagna3

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil.

Cut, peel, and slice your butternut squash. There’s a good tutorial on how to do this here. Basically, you slice off the top and bottom, use a vegetable peeler to trim off the sides, slice the squash lengthwise, scoop out the guts and seeds, then slice into extremely thin pieces.

pumplasagna

You really want the slices thin-see how you can sort of see my finger through the squash? That’s how thin. And don’t judge me on my nails. Sometimes a girl just doesn’t have time, people.

pumplasagna2

In a large bowl, toss the squash with 1 Tbl. olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Arrange in spread-out layers on the baking sheet and put in the oven to roast until tender and lightly browned-about 15 min.

Meanwhile, in a bowl, stir together the cottage/goat cheese blend, sage, 3 Tbl. parsley, and garlic, and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

In a large nonstick pan, heat 2 Tbl. olive oil over medium-low heat. Add onion and cook, stirring until translucent-5 min. Increase heat to medium-high heat and add the chard, 1 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. pepper, and 1/4 tsp. nutmeg. Cook, stirring until the chard is wilted and no liquid remains in the pan-5 to 10 min.

After you pull out the squash, reduce oven heat to 400 degrees. In a medium bowl, mix 2 cups of pumpkin, 3/4 cup cream, 1/2 cup parmesan, 1 1/4 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. pepper, and 1/4 tsp. nutmeg.

Spray a 13×9″ baking pan with cooking spray. Pour the 1/2 cup milk into the pan.

Here’s the assembly:

1. Put down 3 lasagna noodles.

2. Put down 1/3 of the cottage/goat cheese mix.

3. Put down 1/3 of the swiss chard/onion mix.

4. Put down 1/3 of the baked squash.

5. Put down 1/2 of the pumpkin sauce.

6. Sprinkle 1/3 of the fontina and 1/3 of the parmesan.

7. Put down 3 lasagna noodles.

8. Put down 1/3 of the cottage/goat cheese mix.

9. Put down 1/3 of the swiss chard/onion mix.

10. Put down 1/3 of the baked squash.

11. Put down 1/2 of the pumpkin sauce.

12. Sprinkle 1/3 of the fontina and 1/3 of the parmesan.

13. Put down 3 lasagna noodles.

14. Put down the last of the cottage/goat cheese mix.

15. Put down the last of the swiss chard/onion mix.

16. Put down the last of the baked squash.

17. Put down the last 3 lasagna noodles.

18. Combine the remaining 1 cup of canned pumpkin with the remaining 3/4 cup of heavy cream. Spread that over the noodles.

19. Cover the noodles with the remaining fontina and parmesan.

Cover the lasagna with a loose-fitting foil tent and bake 30 min. Remove the foil and sprinkle top with remaining parsley. Continue baking another 15 min. until the cheese is melted and top is golden brown.

Let sit for approx. 15-20 min. before serving so the lasagna plates nicely and doesn’t collapse into slop.

Sedimentary rock ain’t got nothin’ on these layers…am I right? #NerdAlert

pumplasagna4

Because it’s just food porn at this point.

pumplasagna6

Almost gone!

pumplasagna7

Pumpkin Apple Cupcakes with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting (Revisited)

It’s officially fall, peeps, and besides the normal seasonal bouts of afternoon narcolepsy and maxing out my credit card at Starbucks, my diet always switches from corn dogs to harvest vegetables-the only time of year I really consume veggies [my body is crying it’s so happy].

I also go apple picking and ham it up for the camera😉

applepick20132

He was both an officer and a gentleman.

applepick20134

Jess and Salwa making friends.

applepick20138

I made these pumpkin cupcakes, which are moist, cinnamon and applesauce stuffed morsels of fall deliciousness a couple years ago when I first started this blog. And just for shits and giggles, it’s fun to see how my food photography has improved from 2 years ago:

Um…just…no

pumpkincupred

‘A’ for effort?

pumpkincup

Besides learning how to take a photo, I’ve updated these clove, allspice, and brown sugar-laced cupcakes with a new frosting, which I think is a lot better. You can find the NEW frosting recipe below and the recipe for these pumpkin apple cupcakes here.

Okay. Enough typing. Time to go make some s’mores with my kitchen torch and plug in my overpriced Bath & Body “cabin”-scented room freshners [I don’t even really know what that means. Does it smell like burning wood, old animal skins, and my uncle after one too many cigars? WHAT IS “CABIN”?!] City girls unite for fall!😉

pumpapple5

[*Note: This frosting recipe might need to be doubled to cover all the 30-35 cupcakes the recipe makes. Mmmmm so many…]

Equipment:

  • Electric Mixer
  • Sifter

Ingredients:

  • 12 oz. cream cheese, rm. temp.
  • 1/2 cup [1 stick] unsalted butter, rm. temp.
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. maple flavor, which you can find here
  • 3-4 cups powdered sugar, sifted

Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese, butter, maple, and vanilla in a large bowl until smooth. Beat in sugar 1 cup at a time, scraping down sides of the bowl occasionally.

Artsy cupcake.

pumpapple

So much better than 2 years ago.

pumpapple3

All in a row.

P1050075

I made the flowers on top using fall pastry cutters from Williams Sonoma and colored gum paste with edible dust.

pumpapple6

Raspberry Lavender Honey Tart

There are 3 things I can always make in a hurry when I have a last minute guest coming over that I want to force-feed my baking: 1. Cupcakes; 2. A fruit tart; and 3. A mess.

#3 always happens whether I want it to or not, and this past weekend I decided to go for a fruit tart, because honestly, it’s super hard to f-k up fruit.

Because it’s the end of summer, and because I love raspberries, I thought: “Let’s make a raspberry tart…wait, wait, wait. No…Let’s make a raspberry tart with CREAM CHEESE and more cream stuff, and vanilla beans, and let’s cap that off with some ultra-fancy lavender honey. YES.”

[*Side note: I’m having this weird thing with lavender right now-I want it in my Earl Grey tea, I want it in my face masks, my body lotion, and now in my tarts. Is this a sign that I’ll be 30 in a few months? Does this mean soon I’ll start salivating over prunes and writing checks to buy groceries? #30Year-OldQuestions.]

The crust is a pâte sucrée, or a sugar crust, used for a lot of fruit tarts, especially somewhat acidic fruits. The crust is still very buttery and flaky, however, and between the slight buttery sweetness, the cold vanilla cream, and the lavender honey-drizzled raspberries, all the flavors and textures come together to make one hell of a tart.

I tried to make the raspberries do this really cool circular thing with almond slivers, but that failed hard, so I just piled it on with wild abandon; which leads me to my final thought: Just remember: even if your baking doesn’t always turn out the way you want it to, you will always have one thing ready for your guest: A huge mess😉

rasptart4

I found this recipe in Gourmet and modified it a smidge. It’s supposed to make 6 servings but my friend and I ate it in about 3. Mmmmm.

Equipment:

  • 9-inch fluted round tart pan [1 inch deep] with a removable bottom
  • Pie weights or raw rice
  • Dough blender or food processor
  • Electric mixer

Ingredients:

For crust:

  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 7 Tbl. cold, unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 large egg

For filling:

  • 4 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup crème fraîche [I used the Madagascar vanilla bean kind. If you can’t find this at your grocery store, just scrape the beans out of one vanilla bean and add].
  • 3 1/2 Tbl. lavender honey [same applies here. If you can’t find lavender honey, add about 1/4 tsp. lavender extract to about 1/4 cup of honey].
  • 4 cups raspberries [18 oz]
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds [optional]

rasptartMake crust: Pulse together all crust ingredients in a food processor just until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Or, if using a dough blender, mix together the flour, sugar, and salt. Cut in the butter using a dough blender until the mix resembles coarse crumbs. Using your hands [I use disposable gloves to disperse heat] mix in the egg.

Put your tart pan on a baking sheet and press the dough evenly onto the bottom and up the side of the tart pan with your fingertips. Chill the shell, covered, on the baking sheet until firm, about 30 min.

Put the oven rack in the middle position and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line the shell with a buttered sheet of aluminum foil [buttered side down] and fill shell one third of the way up with pie weights.

Bake on the baking sheet until edge is pale golden, about 20-25 min. Carefully remove the pie weights and foil, then bake until the edges and bottom are golden, about 20 min. more. Cool completely in the pan on a rack. [*Note: Tart shell can be made 1 day ahead, but keep it in the tart pan and wrapped in plastic wrap at room temp.]

Make the filling: Beat the cream cheese in a bowl with an electric mixer at high speed until smooth, then add the crème fraîche and 1 1/2 Tbl. lavender honey and beat until well-combined. [*Note: Filling can be made 1 day ahead and chilled, covered.]

rasptart2Spread the filling evenly in the shell and let cool in the fridge about 30 min-1 hour. Top the tart with raspberries and slivered almonds. Heat the remaining honey in a very small saucepan or microwave on low heat for about 30 seconds until liquefied. Drizzle honey over the raspberries and almonds. Serve with additional melted honey on the side.

Tart with a view

rasptart3Pile of goodness

rasptart6Side view

rasptart5Slice of everything amazing in life

rasptart8Oh yeah.

rasptart9

Homemade Ramen Burger

There are some mass-produced things in this world that are just too perfect to tamper with; things like Twinkies, Krispy Kreme donuts, and Kit-Kat bars (though, Central Michel Richard gives Nestle somethin’ to think about).

Seriously, Central has perfected perfection. Central’s “Kit Kat Bar.” 

Copyright: New York Times.

Copyright: New York Times.

But for some reason, I’m always a little less reverent of savory concoctions, and this includes the latest trend of the Ramen Burger. If you haven’t already heard of the Ramen Burger, 1) You clearly aren’t an obsessive freak like me; and 2) That’s all about to change right now:

The Ramen Burger, created by Keizo Shimamoto-a 35-year-old ramen blogger turned ramen chef-is being touted as NYC’s new Cronut…or basically NYC’s new ridiculous food creation that people are lining up for by the HUNDREDS. The Daily Beast has a great article about the Ramen Burger here.

Usually I read about something like the cronut and shudder in awe at the modernity and technical perfection of something, clearly, only a master chef could create. But with the Ramen Burger (and no offense to Shimamoto) I thought…”I could homemade that shiz. For reals.”

After taking time out of my real job to scour the internet for techniques associated with Ramen Burgers, it turns out that it’s not that involved. Also, thanks to my recent inner fat girl obsession with Ramen (I blame Toki Underground), I had a pretty decent idea what should go on this “burger.” And let me tell you: From the sriracha ketchup to the ginger-sauteed bok choy, and from the 50% ground pork burger to the sesame oil-fried ramen buns, this burger gives The Luther Burger a legit run for its money. [Other things that make this the best burger ever? Toasted sesame seeds, fried eggs, green onions, shoyu sauce and hoisin. What Whaaaaaat.]

Is this a pastry? Cupcake? Tart? Homemade Twinkie? No. But in a random post I hope some will enjoy, I decided to go a little savory.

BEHOLD. THE RAMEN BURGER.

ramen4

[Makes 2 burgers]

Equipment:

  • 2 round containers or ramekins
  • A heavy can or weight that fits inside your containers or ramekins
  • Saran wrap

Ingredients:

  • 2 (3 oz.) packs cheap ramen [I used Maruchan]
  • 2 Tbl. sesame oil, divided
  • 4 Tbl. veggie oil, divided
  • 2 Tbl. toasted sesame seeds
  • 1 small head of bok choy, seperated into pieces
  • 2 Tbl. minced fresh ginger
  • 3-4 stalks of green onions, chopped
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 2 Tbl. sriracha
  • 3 eggs [one of the 3 eggs needs to be beaten in a small dish]
  • 1 Tbl. dark soy
  • 1/2 tsp. Chinese five spice
  • 2 tsp. minced garlic
  • Some crushed black pepper
  • 1/4 lb. ground pork
  • 1/4 lb. ground beef
  • 2 Tbl. hoisin, divided
  • 1 Tbl. Shoyu sauce

Chop chop.

ramen

Make your ramen buns first! Cook the 2 packs of ramen noodles according to the package instructions for boiling. Drain the noodles when cooked and immediately rinse in cold water-just enough to stop additional cooking, but still warm. Add the 2 seasoning packets included with the ramen and the 1 beaten egg.

Line the bottom of one round container with saran wrap. Place 1/4 of the ramen noodles in the bottom of the container, flattening to make it round and stick together. Try to make it as flat as possible. Cover this with saran wrap. Take another 1/4 of the ramen noodles and create another flat patty on top. Cover with Saran wrap.

Using the 2nd round container, repeat the above steps. Once you have both containers completed and all the ramen noodles are used, place one container on top of the other container. Place your heavy can or weight on top of both containers.

Here’s a visual:

ramen5

Place the container/weight stack in the fridge for 30 min. to 1 hour.

In the meantime, make your burgers. In a medium bowl, add the beef, pork, Chinese five spice, 1 Tbl. hoisin, dark soy, minced garlic, and some crushed black pepper. Using your hands [I used disposable gloves], mush all the ingredients together and form 2 patties a little bit bigger in circumference than the ramen buns. Let sit out about 20 min. to come to room temp [this ensures good grilling time].

Now it’s time to make your sauces. Mix your ketchup with the sriracha in a small bowl and set aside. In another small bowl, mix 1 Tbl. hoisin sauce with 1 Tbl. shoyu sauce. Set aside.

Heat a grill or pan on med-high with 2 Tbl. veggie oil and 1 Tbl. sesame oil. In another large pan, heat 2 Tbl. veggie oil and 1 Tbl. sesame oil on medium. Cook the burgers on the grill [or in a pan] until cooked through. While the burgers are cooking, gently release the ramen buns from the containers and fry in the pan set on medium heat. Before turning burgers, sprinkle 2 Tbl. of toasted sesame seeds on the 4 buns.  Flip the buns over carefully, and cook until the tops and bottoms of the ramen buns are crispy and dark brown.

Place buns on a  plate and top two of the buns [sesame seeds down] with the sriracha ketchup. Place the burgers on top of the ketchup-covered buns. Top the burger with chopped green onions.

Quickly, so that your burgers don’t lose too much heat, use the hot pan you used to cook the ramen burgers buns to stir-fry your bok choy with the minced ginger. Stir the bok choy and ginger until the bok choy is slightly wilted-about 2-4 min. Place the bok choy and minced ginger on top of the green onions and burgers. Drizzle the bok choy and burgers with the shoyu/hoisin sauce.

With the pan still hot, quickly fry 2 eggs [you can have the eggs runny or hard. I liked my yolks hard for this recipe]. Place the eggs on top of the shoyu/hoisin. Top the burgers with the 2 remaining buns, sesame seeds-up.

You haunt my dreams.

ramen2

Belly-buster.

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Michael Myers Football Cake

Talking to my mom about this cake pretty much sums up what’s happening here:

Mom: “…and it’s such an unusual cake…then again, it’s from your brain.” Um, thanks?

Actually, it’s also from my good friend and coworker, Denny’s, wife’s imagination, since she was awesome enough to request that I make Denny’s 30th birthday cake.

Anyone who knows Denny knows that he has 4 great loves in life: 1. Scary movies, 2. Fantasy Football, 3. Leftover pasta in Ziplock bags, and 4. Conspiracy theories.

I didn’t think a cake based on The Smurf’s hidden Cold War references would translate into “fun birthday,” but Denny’s wife did suggest a few things: A huge Mike Myers head, a Halloween cake, or [drum roll] a Michael Myers taking over football cake. Bingo! Super weird, super creative, and super personalized-my favorite.

I really had no clue what I was doing with this cake. I had about a week and a half to plan and bake, so I knew I didn’t have time to try and make Michael Myers myself, which led me to the amazing online world of collectable action figures [oozes sarcasm]. Need Jason Vorhees? Got it. Jonesing for Freddy? No prob. Oh…Michael Myers? $100, please. So after being f-ked over by Gamestop 2 days before the cake was supposed to be ready, I got a 4″ Mike Myers mask and had to completely re-conceptualize the cake.

Which is also why I took a day off work. Oh, the massive feature that’s due? Psht, please. I have a CAKE to make, people.

I have to say, making this cake in 2 nights and 1 day was a challenge my under-eye circles and rambling-to-herself alter-ego hope to bypass for at least another couple of weeks, but, oh man, was it FUN!

I also took way too much glee in smearing fake blood all over the cake…while snickering…alone in my apartment at 1 a.m. Okay, maybe my mom is on to something here😉

dennycakeThe cake is 2 (13x13x2) layers, 2 (10x10x2) layers, and 2 (7x7x2) layers. All of these layers are homemade carrot cake [you can find the recipe here] with maple cream cheese frosting [here-just add maple extract from KAF here]. The football is made out of boxed pound cake mix because you need a stiff cake for this and, well, I ran out of time😦

dennycake3Back

dennycake5Side-Jason Vorhees

dennycake4Side-Freddy Krueger

dennycake9I was happy with the way this football turned out, not only because I found an imprint mat for texture, but also because I don’t think I’ve ever held a football in my life.

dennycake2My first time sculpting hands with white modeling chocolate.

dennycake13I used gum paste to make the fingernails and edible dust to make them look dirty.

dennycake10I used edible silver spray paint on gum paste for the knife blade and colored modeling chocolate black to make the handle.

dennycake11The wall of blood I was way too excited about. I made blood by tinting piping gel red. The actual ooze itself is black gum paste I shaped with an an icicle mold.

dennycake12Denny is a Dolphins fan. I’ve heard this is a depressing thing to be.

dennycake7Spiders, because, why not?

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