Pig Cake Tutorial Inspired by Minecraft

minecraft-pig-cake-tutorial

This is a very adaptable project. It can be easily scaled up to suit your serving needs. In this tutorial I’m illustrating step-by-step how to build a supporting structure, carve the cake, and decorate it with tiny mosaic gum paste tiles.

I want to inform any potential buyers that this project is a time-consuming and patience-requiring task. Despite the fact that all necessary components can be made well in advance, you will still need to allocate a good deal of time to attach the mosaic squares to the cake, so plan accordingly. I also strongly recommend using a pasta roller, either an electric attachment to your stand mixer or a hand-cranked one, for rolling the gum paste. You have to possess some very basic carpentry skills – being able to cut wooden boards to required size and screw structural components together, or have someone to help you.

If you have any questions or need an advice, I’m always here to help. These questions are always my first priority; I make every effort to answer them in timely manner.

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Lemon Cupcakes with Raspberry Cream Cheese Frosting

Lemon raspberry cupcakes

The cupcakes are actually double-raspberry – there is a raspberry jam filling hidden under the frosting. I used the same jam, instead of commonly used icing sugar, to sweeten the cream cheese frosting. I strongly dislike the mouthfeel of icing sugar-based fillings.

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Apricot Coconut Mini Crumble Cookies

apricot-coconut-mini-crumble-cookies

These are very tasty cookies – buttery, sweet, crumbly, with a distinct coconut flavour and a hint of lemon in the filling. They are sort of a cross between jam tarts, sugar cookies, and crumbles. I spotted the idea in the Gourmet magazine, but their recipe was a bit off and I also needed to replace almonds, so that’s what I’ve come up with.

Miniature food, although always cute, can be a pain to unmold. If you can’t really trust your mini muffin pan, if it caused a trouble before, I advise you to line the bottoms of the molds with parchment circles. It’s easier than it might seem, just fold a strip of parchment accordion style, and then cut out many circles at once. And another tip I wanted to share. The best tool for loosening these cookies (or anything else) from the mini-molds is a thin-bladed palette knife; works like a charm and can be purchased in any craft store.

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Homemade Dog/Burger Buns

Hotdog buns

With the grilling season upon us, I thought I’d share this recipe, adapted from the Gourmet magazine. You might ask why trouble yourself with making such commonly-available thing as a hotdog bun, but you’ll understand it once you try this recipe. It makes truly outstanding buns – soft, tender, delicious. Yes, there’s cream in the dough (which contributes to the buns’ amazing texture), but divided between all buns, there’s not as crazy-much cholesterol. And anyway, hotdogs were never quite a diet food, weren’t they?

If you have a bread maker, you can just dump everything there to make the dough. I admit, I do use my bread machine for dough-making purposes once in a while, when I hurry while multitasking and need to have the dough ready at a certain moment.

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Lemon and Basil Strawberry Trifle

Lemon and Basil Strawberry Trifle

This is truly a spring-celebrating dessert. Light lemon génoise cake is soaked in tangy, Limoncello-spiked syrup, layered with fragrant basil strawberry salad and white chocolate crème Chantilly. White chocolate doesn’t just add interest to the whole flavour palette, it also stabilizes the cream, so the dessert can be completely assembled a day before. I roasted half of the strawberries to boost the flavour, but if you are lucky to get well-ripened ones, you can skip this step.

Here the dessert is shown in individual (they were surely advertised like individual) bowls, but frankly, these particular bowls are too big for a single serving (the recipe makes 6 of those). I recommend assembling a trifle in a big bowl, only making it from three layers of cake. You will be able to feed a crowd then – at least 16. From the other hand, you could choose smaller glasses for these trifles and make real individual desserts.

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Minecraft Pig Cake

minecraft-pig-cake-2

This was my son’s birthday cake this year; he is into Minecraft nowadays. The cake seems pretty simple, isn’t? Well, it is not. The difficulty is to be able to attach all these tiny squares to the cake and meet your deadline. It’s not a topper that you can make in advance and stretch the process over days; you have to do it fast enough to serve the cake still fresh. It took me 24 hours straight – a day and a whole night (what can’t a loving mother do for her child…). So, if you are thinking about recreating this idea, find a helper who would do pig’s rear while you are gluing squares to its head.

Inside was a lemon cake moistened with lemon syrup and filled with gentle color of pink strawberry Swiss meringue buttercream to match the pig’s exterior. The size of the pig’s body was 8″x5″x4″ and the head was a 4″ cube – an enormous surface to cover with tiny mosaic pieces, beware!

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