Star Wars Galaxy Cake

I was recently asked by a co-worker to make a cake for his twin daughters’ birthday party. They are obsessed with Star Wars and he wanted something that would fit the theme. I’m not someone who works regularly with fondant or gum paste…so I thought, perhaps a mirror glaze galaxy cake would be the way to go! I showed him a picture of my vision and he agreed!

I started collecting a variety of things that would help make the cake come to life. First, I needed some Star Wars accessories and Amazon didn’t disappoint. There I was able to find edible sugar paper decorations, galaxy lollipops, Pop Rocks and Star Wars silicone molds. 

I made two cakes – one vanilla, one strawberry. I then cut the cakes into thin layers and layered the two flavors with vanilla buttercream and strawberry jam (made fresh by my Mom in Vermont!). You can use any cakes, but if you choose to do buttercream, learn from my mistake: I refrigerated the frosted cake overnight. I should have popped it in the freezer. The buttercream was firm from being refrigerated but it would have come out far better if it had been frozen. So, definitely freeze that cake! You can then store it in the fridge if you are making it the day before an event.

I was a little disappointed that the colors of my glaze weren’t quite as vibrant as the recipe I followed here. However, I do think that it still came out beautifully. I would be more careful next time to make sure that my colors aren’t too dark. I used Chefmaster Liqua-Gel Paste Dye which I definitely recommend for mirror glaze projects. I also grabbed a few edible glitters to amp up the shimmer.

Mirror  Glaze:

  • 1.5 cups sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 2/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 cups white chocolate chips
  • 2 Tbsp. unflavored gelatin (bloomed in 1/4 cup of additional water)
  • gel food coloring (black, blue, pink, and purple)
  • edible glitter

Instructions:

Mix the gelatin in a bowl with 1/4 cup of water, and set aside to let it bloom while you begin the glaze. Over a medium heat, stir together the sugar, 1 cup of water, and sweetened condensed milk. Stir occasionally, until the mixture begins to bubble. At this point, pour in the gelatin, and stir until fully dissolved. Then turn off the heat, and gently pour in the white chocolate chips. Stir slowly, until all the white chocolate has melted (I find that the white chocolate chips don’t always fully dissolve…so I usually try to get them as incorporated as I can). Pour through a sieve into a large bowl, then divide the glaze evenly between four bowls. Color the other bowls with whatever colors fit your theme. In my case, I did dark blue, light blue, purple and “flesh tone”. Continue to stir occasionally to stop a skin from forming, until the glaze has reached 85 degrees, or is about room temperature.

Once the glazes have cooled slightly, pour half of the black into the large bowl. Then pour about 2/3 of the purple, blue, and pink glazes on top of the black, in a swirling motion.

Remove the smoothed buttercream cake from the freezer (must be fully frozen!! Freeze for at least 4 hours before glazing), and place on a circular object (I used a pint glass turned upside down) on top of a large baking sheet (to catch the excess glaze). I placed the cake on a cake board that was the same size as the cake, then slowly poured the glaze on the cake.  Once the cake is fully covered, dust with edible glitter over the top. Let it drip for about 10 minutes, then placed the cake in the fridge until about an hour before serving.

For my candies, I used the silicone molds I found on Amazon. In hindsight, I wish I had take the time to temper some chocolate instead of using candy melts so I would have gotten a pretty shine on them, but they served their purpose. I decorated the top of the cake with the galaxy lollipops (i cut the stems off) and some “space rocks” (Pop Rocks). I cut out my edible decorations and places them on the sides of the cake along with some of my chocolate molds and voila – Star Wars Galaxy Cake!

I see plenty of room for improvement, but for my first try – I think this was a hit!

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Gluten-Free Banana Bundt Cake with Chocolate Ganache

Hey y’all! Sorry it’s been awhile. The summer is such a busy time and the last thing anyone wants to do is be stuck in a hot kitchen baking, am-I-right? However, that being said, I have found time to have a little fun and bake some goodies.

My Dad is a major fan of banana. And chocolate. I was reading out a list of recipes I had flagged and as soon as banana and chocolate left my lips…he was like, “I want that, but make it extra banana-y.” Haha, ok Dad. You got it. I have been trying my hand at gluten-free treats as well, so my Mom can enjoy them too. I have found that gluten-free flour (my favorite is King Arthur’s brand as it’s a cup-for-cup substitute) tends to remain very granular until baked. So don’t let the gritty texture of the batter throw you off. It bakes off.

Without further ado, I present Gluten-Free Banana Bundt Cake!


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INGREDIENTS

For the cake:
  • 1½ c sugar
  • ½ c shortening (like Crisco)
  • 3 eggs (room temp)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp banana extract (if you don’t want to amp up the banana flavor, use almond extract instead)
  • 1½ c  gluten free flour
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 c mini chocolate chips
  • 1½ c bananas, mashed well (about 3 medium bananas)
For the ganache:
  • 1 c semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 5 Tbsp light corn syrup
  • 2 tsp water
  • ½ tsp almond extract

INSTRUCTIONS
For the cake:
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350* F.
  2. Grease a 12c bundt pan (design of your choice!) Make sure to get into all those nooks and crannies.
  3. Cream together the sugar and shortening. Add in eggs, one at a time, beating until well incorporated. Beat in vanilla and banana extract. Continue to blend in mixer until light.
  4. In a bowl, sift together flour, salt, and baking soda. Add ⅓ flour mixture to batter, then ½ the bananas, then ⅓ flour, ½ bananas, ⅓ flour, mixing well after each addition. Add mini chocolate chips and stir by hand just until incorporated. Pour into greased bundt pan.
  5. Let stand 10 minutes, then turn onto a wire rack to cool.
  6. Drizzle with chocolate ganache and dust with a smattering of confectioners’ sugar if desired.
For the ganache:
  1. In a double boiler (if you don’t have one, a glass bowl over a saucepan filled with 2″ of simmering water will work), stir chocolate chips and butter till melted. Stir in corn syrup until fully incorporated and then stir in the water.
  2. Place a piece of parchment or wax paper in a cookie pan, then place a wire rack inside the cookie pan. Put the cooled cake onto the wire rack.
  3. Pour ganache over cooled cake (too warm and plenty runs off).

S’mores Cupcakes

Nothing screams summer like camping! And what do you want most when you are camping? S’MORES! I wanted to recreate one of my favorite treats, but in cupcake fashion. After mulling over some ideas, I came up with the idea to do a graham cracker crust, an ooey-gooey chocolate cake and a marshmallow buttercream frosting. It was a cupcake to be eaten with a fork, let me tell you…but oh so delicious. I hope you enjoy as well!

S’mores Cupcake Ingredients
Graham Cracker Crust
  • 1 ½ cups finely crushed regular or cinnamon graham crackers (24 squares)
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted
    (skip the sugar, even if your box of graham cracker crumbs tells you to add it)
Cake
  • 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 cups granulated white sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk (or substitute by putting 1 tbsp white vinegar in a cup then filling the rest up with milk; let stand 5 minutes until thickened)
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup hot coffee (or 2 tsp instant coffee in 1 cup boiling water)
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
Frosting
  • ½ cup butter {room temperature}
  • 1 7 oz. jar Marshmallow Fluff
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • mini-marshmallows (for topper)
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line muffin tins with cupcake liners.
  2. Mix together graham cracker crust and melted butter. Place heaping spoonful into the bottom of lined muffin tins and press down.
  3. In a large bowl, mix together flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. Add room-temp eggs (one at a time), buttermilk, melted butter and vanilla extract and beat until smooth (about 3 minutes). Remove bowl from mixer and stir in hot coffee with a rubber spatula. Batter will be runny. Mix in mini-chocolate chips.
  4. Using a cookie scoop, fill muffin tins until 3/4 full and bake on middle rack of oven for about 35 minutes (it may take a bit longer with the graham cracker crust, so watch carefully if you leave in a tad longer than suggested), until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
  5. Cool completely before handling or frosting.
  6. While cupcakes bake, start on your frosting. Beat butter and powdered sugar until fluffy and well mixed.
  7. Mix in fluff and vanilla by hand and mix well.
  8. Add to piping bag and pipe onto cupcakes.
  9. I decided to top with a few little mini-marshmallows and use a torch to get them nice and toasty. If you don’t have a kitchen torch, take a baking tray, cover it with tin foil, spray liberally with Baker’s Joy or Pam and stack up a few marshmallows in several piles (I would suggest four on the bottom, one in the center on top) and place under your oven boiler on low. Watch closely and pull as soon as they begin to get brown. Let cool for a minute, then use a spatula or butter knife (coat with additional baking spray for a less sticky mess) and remove from foil and place on top of the frosted cupcake. YUM.