воскресенье, 27 октября 2013 г.

Party "Marshrooms" How-to...

Party "Marshrooms" How-to...

You may remember these "marshrooms" from Miss S's birthday party last year.  They really were
 an afterthought - a sort of last minute brainwave that ended up being one of the most popular
 (and simple) foods at the party.

2012's version features some extras in the presentation department...

I've been meaning to do a little something about them on the blog, and so when a little friend of 
Miss S's was having an Alice in Wonderland themed party, I offered to bring some as I had a 
couple of little ideas I wanted to try out.

So here's how to make them and a few ideas for how to present them, ranging from simple to 
something more special.  That's what I like about these - they can be thrown together quickly or 
more time can be taken to present them creatively.  Either way, they'll be sure to be a hit with 
young kids.

So, to make basic marshrooms, you will need:

* Large marsh mallows
* Red apples
* Lemon juice
* Toothpicks
* Sharp knife

Wash your apples and leave to dry, or dry off with paper towels.  If you have time you can polish 
the apples at this point so the finished product will be nice and shiny.

Cut slices of apple off for the marshroom tops.  I used quite large apples and was able to get 
three marshroom tops from each apple.

Brush with a little lemon juice on the cut edge to prevent it going brown.  If you don't have a pastry 
brush, just use your finger.

Spike a marsh mallow onto a toothpick.

Push the apple top on.

For spots, cut up mini marsh mallows into thin slices
 using some kitchen scissors.  They will stick to the apple on their cut edges.

Now for presentation.  Last year's marshrooms were poked into an upturned disposable plate 
that was made of banana palm.  This year I decided to try using a chocolate cake base.  So I 
made my favourite chocolate cake (recipe at the bottom of this post) and iced it with chocolate
 ganache.  I topped this with grated dark chocolate (for dirt). 

I made leaves by piping green royal icing using a leaf tip onto parchment paper and letting them 
dry hard.  They stuck to the ganache easily.  You could also make the leaves out of fondant.

I had a punnet of red currants quite by accident as when my groceries arrived from my online 
shop, I had bought them thinking they were cherries.  A happy accident, indeed!  You could also 
use coconut thread dyed with a little green food colouring, for "grass" or pipe grass or leaves 
directly onto the cake with royal icing or buttercream.

You could also poke these into a loaf of brown bread, or a piece of foam covered in clingfilm 
(you don't want the marsh mallows to touch foam if you can avoid it).  As an alternative to 
chocolate cake, you could use brownie.  They would also look good just lying on a plate if you 
don't have the time or inclination to do anything else.

I finished my marshrooms off with a spray of edible shellac, to give them some shine, but that is 
totally optional, as not many of us have that lying around!

Happy birthday, Jasmina!


Rich, Dark Chocolate Cake
Serves 12 + people

450g plain flour
140g good quality cocoa (Dutch process, if possible)
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
3 tsps baking soda
3 eggs
2 & 1/2 cups caster sugar
1 cup oil
2 tsp vanilla essence (extract)
Double shot espresso or 1/3 cup of very strong black coffee (instant is OK if you can't make espresso easily at home)
1 & 1/2 tbs white vinegar
2 cups (500ml) water

Line and grease a 26cm spring-form cake pan.  Make sure that the lining comes up about an inch above the lip of 
the tin - this cake can be quite a riser!  If you want to make this cake in a novelty tin or a tin of a different shape, 
grease the tin generously with butter and then dust with cocoa.
Make your espresso/coffee and set aside to cool.

Sift together the flour, cocoa, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Beat together the eggs and sugar, then add 
the oil, vanilla, espresso, vinegar and water and mix thoroughly. Using an electric mixer, beat the dry mixture into 
the wet mixture until smooth. Mixture will be very dark and quite runny.

Bake for 1 & 1/2 hours at 180 degrees c. Check at 1 hour. Cake is cooked when skewer inserted into it's centre 
comes out clean.
Ice with ganache, buttercream, fresh cream, or cream-cheese frosting - all are fantastic accompaniments 
to this cake. Enjoy!

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