When an Asparagus Cake Just Makes Good Sense 0

*May 2011 update: I have just recently recreated this cake in an 8-layer version! You can view it here: For the Love of Fondant Asparagus (and 8-Layer Cakes). NEW! How to Make a Fondant Asparagus Cake {a Tutorial} Funny thing happened on the way to designing my sister-in-law, Mary's cake for her post-figure-competition celebration: my pink and frilly cake idea got hijacked by this sudden idea that I had to create a hyperrealistic vegetable confection. It was an "Aha!" moment, and I knew right then and there that there was no turning back. Thing is, while training for the IDFA competition, she was so disciplined, so regimented, and so ridiculously sick of eating asparagus. The week before her show, during a text conversation we were having, in response to "How are you doing?" she replied, "I'm loathing asparagus!" So, like any self-respecting sister-in-law and friend would do, I decided to to torment her with a green and spear-filled asparagus cake. See, there's something you should know: Mary is a foodie, and like me, lives for dessert. This makes her pre-show determination and diet that much more torturous remarkable.

Mary and I talked about the post-show celebration for the weeks leading up to it, and what she really wanted to eat--the girl deserved to eat whatever she wanted, and I was determined to make that happen for her. As for dessert, she knew she wanted rich chocolate cake with Swiss Meringue Buttercream and fondant, so that was the starting point. Once I had the cake baked, filled, and coated, I covered it in a nice bright leafy green fondant. I then started on the asparagus. Working from a real bundle of asparagus for reference, I rolled out about 150 full-size green fondant spears, a dozen at a time, snipped them to look as realistic as possible, and then let them dry. I also dyed, rolled out, trimmed, and snipped  about 400 asaparagus tips and set them aside to dry. Once they were dry, I dusted them with several shades of green edible dusting powder (that I typically use for dusting sugar flowers and leaves), and small touches of red. Once they were all dusted and looking particularly asparagus-ish, I started to assemble it all. I wasn't sure how it was all going to come together, but I loved making this cake, and, in the end, I was kind of proud of it!

I'm not sure, but when Mary first saw her cake, I think she may have wondered if they were actually real asparagus. Sure, we were all eager to try (especially my little Reese) a big yummy piece of the cake, but I think, even more so, we were so excited to watch Mary eat hers!

Yay--cake consumption! Reese was so proud to be taking the first bites with Auntie Mary. And, yep, that is a trophy you see--turns out that all of that hard work and discipline pays off! I have to say, Mary's victory just made the cake that much sweeter, for all of us. Now that she's competing in the Canadian Natural Physique Championships in April, I think I better kick it up a notch for the next post-show confection...a 3-tier version, perhaps? Thanks for stopping by! xo
  • Rosie Alyea

Chocolate Marshmallow Pie 0

Happy Fall, everyone!

Welcome to my brand new blog and my first official blog post. With the cooler air and cozy sweaters comes the urge to bake and indulge in more decadent sweets and treats, or, well, perhaps that's just me. But hey, as they used to say in the 60s, "If it feels good, do it." And trust me, this feels good. And I did it. And you should too.

In honour of the year that gave us (and by "us" I mean those who were born by then) "Sugar Town" by Nancy Sinatra, I'm going 1967 retro with a recipe called "Chocolate Marshmallow Pie." Can you even imagine a more enticing name for a pie? Who knew there was such a delightful array of forgotten treats from this era. I discovered a great website for just such recipes: Retro Food Recipes. Let's just say this site was the jackpot for yummy retro sweetness (and savoury, if you're into that kind of thing).

There are several chocolate pie recipes out there, but I find the marshmallow and double cream components in this one really give it a truly decadent texture. Day 1, it was fabulous. Day 2, it was even better. Day 3...come on, you don't think I would actually eat something this indulgent 3 days in a row, do you? Then perhaps you don't know me very well--it was killer. Let me point out, though, that this pie filling has uncooked eggs, so not recommended for babies or pregnant women. I can confirm, however, that it has nothing but positive effects on 30-something, under-rested, mothers of 2. Best part about this pie (aside from its obvious awesomeness) is that there are really very few ingredients, and it's fairly simple to make.

I have modified the recipe to fit a full size pie, because the actual recipe is for a 7" pie. After running out to my baker's supply and buying a 7" pie plate and realizing how teeny it really appeared, I decided I was not about to have to explain why I ate an entire pie!

Here's the recipe:

Chocolate Marshmallow Pie

  • 1 full size pie crust (I use The Pioneer Woman's Perfect Pie Crust)
  • 8-10 oz bittersweet chocolate
  • 30 marshmallows
  • 1/4 cup 60 mL water
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 pint 300ml Double Cream (higher in fat than heavy cream/whipping cream, usually about 48%, and can be found in larger grocery stores).
  1. Use the pastry to line a pie plate and bake blind (I use pie weights over parchment paper). Let cool. Put the chocolate, marshmallows and water into a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and leave until mixture melts. Cool slightly.
  2. Stir the yolks into the chocolate mixture and leave until cold.
  3. Whisk the double cream until it forms soft peaks.
  4. Whisk the egg whites stiffly and fold carefully into the chocolate mixture together with half the cream. Turn into the pastry and leave to set completely in fridge.
  5. Decorate with icing sugar or whipped cream, when ready to serve.

[Adapted from the Chocolate Marshmallow Pie recipe from Retro Food Recipes]

Originally from
The Book of Sweets & Puddings
by Myrtle Lindlaw (Spectator Publications 1967)

Sweetapolita's Notes:

  • I used Devon Double Cream (fancy, I know...I felt so British buying this, and who doesn't want to feel authentically British from time to time?).
Good luck & enjoy!
  • Rosie Alyea

Girly Woodland Dessert Table 0

After falling in love with the idea of a pink woodland theme for my youngest cakelet's birthday, I was inspired to create an entire dessert table to display some neapolitan woodland treats.  Since I spend days (sometimes weeks) preparing cakes and confections for a party, why not put as much love and care into displaying them? The inspiration initially came from her favourite blabla doll, Prudence the Owl, and her organic woodland embroidered blanket in her crib. I knew, though, that I had to infuse the brown woodsy feel with some pink "girliness." I incorporated white to freshen it up and give it a bit of a contemporary feel. The sweets on the table that I created, included a 3-tier woodland cake, neapolitan mini cakes, chocolate fondant "N" monogrammed cupcakes (for birthday girl, Neve), pink woodland sugar cookies, vanilla cupcakes with pink buttercream swirls and fondant flowers, and raspberry cheesecake brownies (from the Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook). My gorgeous sister-in-law (and I'm not just being cute--she really is gorgeous) Mary, made the chocolate birds' nests with eggs (sadly not shown in the above photo--darn lens!), and I bought cookies n' cream bark and dark chocolate bark to complete the woodsy feel.

Here are the little chocolate fondant-covered cupcakes. Loved making these little cuties. Inside they are chocolate cake covered in Swiss Meringue Buttercream. One of my favourite details on the table was the lovely hello hanna recyled paper individual cupcake stands, shown in this photo. How important does this cupcake feel, perched up there on such a pretty little (and environmentally responsible) pedestal?

Lastly, here's an adorable (and teeny) neapolitan banner I found, at the last minute, on Esty from Big Day Party Shop. Life is in the details!  All in all, I loved every minute of creating this party for my little Neve's birthday. Now, there are only 198 days until my preschooler, Reese, turns 4--better get planning!

Thanks for stopping by! xo

  • Rosie Alyea
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