Sunday, December 13, 2015

star wars logo cookies

To go along with the Star Wars cake that I made for my son Matthew's 8th birthday, I also made these Star Wars logo cookies to pass out as party favors.

Normally I would pipe directly on top of iced cookies, but for these I knew that I would need a guide to help me keep the proportions right. So I decided to first pipe the logo onto waxed paper (using the royal icing recipe from my book, The Hello Kitty Baking Book), with a picture of the logo below the waxed paper to serve as a guide. Then I let them dry overnight.

Once the logos were dry, I made the sugar cookies (recipe also in my book!), and used a pizza cutter and a ruler to cut out rectangular-shaped cookies. After the cookies were baked and cooled, I used stiff white royal icing to pipe a rectangular border on each cookie, and then filled it in with runny white royal icing (the border helps to keep the runny icing from dripping off the sides of the cookie). Then, while the icing was still wet, I peeled the royal icing logos off of the waxed paper and carefully dropped them on top of each iced cookie.

Then I let them dry for several hours (or overnight).

Then I packaged each one in a cellophane favor bag, and tied it with raffia.

The perfect favors for a Star Wars birthday party!

Happy Birthday Matthew!!!

Sunday, December 6, 2015

star wars cake with handmade chocolate death star

For my son Matthew's 8th birthday this year, he wanted to invite a few of his friends from school to spend an afternoon at Chuck-e-Cheese, and for this he requested a Star Wars cake! Coincidentally, I had just recently purchased this Death Star ice cube mold, so the timing worked out perfectly and I knew exactly how I wanted to decorate his cake - with a chocolate Death Star cake topper!

A few days before I made the cake, I got started on making the topper. I melted down white candy melts, along with a few black candy melts to make the chocolate a nice grey color.

After melting the chocolate in a large glass bowl set over a pot of simmering water, I added a few white and black chips here and there to get the right color of grey.

Then I filled both sides of the mold, connected the mold back together, and placed it in the fridge for a few hours to chill. When it was time to unmold, voila! A chocolate death star! (Note that I had to make this twice, as the first time there were too many holes and air bubbles, and the two halves weren't connected properly!)

Since my boy doesn't like chocolate cake (I have no idea how that happened because i absolutely LOVE chocolate cake), I decided on a lemon cake with lemon whipped cream and fresh blueberries. The cake is basically the vanilla cake in my book, The Hello Kitty Baking Book, except I added freshly grated lemon zest (from an entire lemon). I baked the cakes in two 8-inch round pans, and once the cakes were cooled I sliced each in half horizontally, giving me four cake layers.

I filled each layer with lemon whipped cream (freshly whipped cream with powdered sugar, grated lemon zest, and a few tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice), then added a layer of fresh blueberries, and then another layer of lemon whipped cream before placing the next layer of cake on top.

Then for the frosting, I whipped up 1.5 batches of my cream cheese buttercream (recipe also in my book!), and tinted the majority of it navy blue (I used Americolor gel-based food coloring - several drops of royal blue, along with a few drops of super black). Then I did a quick crumb coat along the sides and top of the cake, let it chill in the fridge for about 30 minutes, and then did a final smooth coat on top of that.

With the remaining white frosting, I colored it yellow, and then placed it in a piping bag with a small round tip) to pipe the Star Wars logo along the side of the cake.

Then I placed it in the fridge for the night. But in the morning, when I looked at the cake again, it didn't seem "finished". So I decided to outline the logo with black frosting. 

Note: I always seem to forget how hard it is to pipe frosting on the side of a cake! After I had colored my frosting black, it was pretty runny. But I was impatient and didn't want to wait for it to chill in the fridge, so I used it anyway to pipe my black outline. Big mistake! The black outline came out really sloppy and messy, in my opinion, and kept wanting to fall off the sides of my cake. This is what I get for being impatient. Lesson learned. (Although I'm 90% sure that I will do the exact same thing again because I am often impatient!)

After outlining in black, I almost wished I hadn't done it. I should have outlined in black before fillling in with yellow. Oh well. Again, lesson learned. (Or not).

Anyhow, the cake looked much better after I added the chocolate Death Star. I used a bit of the blue frosting to hold it in place, so that it wouldn't move around during our drive to the party.

And in any case, Matthew loved the cake, and that's all that matters. :)

Here's a shot of the inside of the cake, with the flecks of blueberries peeking out.

Happy 8th birthday, my Matthew!!! You are growing up way to fast!!!