the cake! the cake! and marshmallows, too

Many many thanks to all of you who sent ideas (and encouragement) after last week’s puppy cake post. I promised follow-up on that cake and food for fun is here to deliver.wpid-wp-1397700042033.jpegIts deLizious facebook debut noted a resemblance to the Wizard of Oz’s cowardly lion and it also brings Rowlf of Muppet fame to mind. I’d have done best to follow Anna of Anna’s Cuisine‘s advice but the wheels were already in motion.

In addition to the butter cake layers, I had made another batch of batter and baked it into cupcakes. Next step was the frosting: Quick Fluff Buttercream, from The Marshmallow Fluff Cookbook, was as simple as combining three sticks softened unsalted butter with one seven-ounce jar Marshmallow Fluff. Would something so simple tasty any good?

Turns out no. The frosting was far too greasy, so I stirred in another jar of fluff. A bit sweeter and less oily, the frosting was on the right track. Wanting it thicker, I tossed in a handful of powdered sugar. More flavor? Dash of vanilla. A tablespoon or so of fat-free half-and-half still didn’t give me exactly what I was looking for.

Remembering a sea salt caramel sauce residing in my refrigerator, I figured it a good stir-in. Just starting to sugar out, the caramel sauce added creamy, a bit of brown, lots of sweet, some salt, and a sugary crunch. Stirring in a few large spoonfuls of caramel brought the frosting to just-right status.

Next up: Color. Lacking brown food coloring, I mixed purple, orange, and yellow together into a light brown. For filling the round layers, caramel sauce met more marshmallow fluff. The cupcakes were frosted with a pastry bag and star tip and the cake layers were filled, stacked, and frosted. I almost had my puppy!

Because the birthday girl wanted lead in the final design, I handed the decorating reins over to her. Multicolored m&ms made up curlicue whiskers and wide-open eyes. A puppy figurine landed smack-dab in the middle of these eyes and the big 8 candle took residence on the “puppy’s” left cheek. Cute in a crazy way, but a genuine likeness? Not so much.cake

Surrounding this crazy puppy cake with DIY marshmallows seemed the obvious choice. Following Shauna Sever’s Marshmallow Madness recipe for Classic Vanilla Marshmallows, I stirred in more of those mini m&ms at the finish for confetti cake ‘mallows.

saying Happy Birthday with marshmallows

saying Happy Birthday with marshmallows

While not a traditional birthday treat, it went over well and was great fun to put together. Including the birthday girl in the decoration made it all the more special and this is a cake that won’t soon be forgotten. Thank you all for sharing it with me!

51 thoughts on “the cake! the cake! and marshmallows, too

    • Thanks, Beth. I am honored by your comparison to AB. Yes to the mad food scientist–thinking I do have a bit of a crazy glint in my eyes when I hit the kitchen. Bwahaha! Best part, is the results are edible (and drinkable!).

    • Thanks, Kloe. Was thinking about you and the bazillion birthday cakes you have made. Would love to hear some of your decorating stories πŸ™‚

  1. Love the cake, and really loved the story of the frosting and how you kept adding until it was just right. I have been known to do the same. The cake looks really great and I know the birthday girl was one happy camper. Well done!!

    • Thanks, Suzanne. Yep, the bday girl was pleased with her day. Thuogh I keep thinking of that lovely strawberry cake you made for a lucky birthday girl. My cake was fun, but no one will ever call it “classy” πŸ˜‰ Pinching and dashing is how I get most places.

    • Thanks, Karen. We all had great fun at her party. And I had made more cupcakes than I needed for the puppy cake, so poor me has had to continue eating them throughout the week. πŸ˜‰

      Appreciate you coming by much. Enjoyed hopping over to your space as well. Have never been a successful gardener (not able or even willing to put the time in right now), but admire those who are. One reason spring and summer appeals is that the farmers’ markets open. Yay, fresh produce!

  2. I agree it looks like Rowlf – but he’s a puppy, right? I’d call that success! Love the cupcake ears. I want one of those marshmallows so badly.
    My guy is turning 5 in a couple of weeks, and at the last minute changed his mind about the batman party and decided he wanted a silly hat party instead. Much better in my mind. I’m debating attempting a silly hat cake. πŸ˜‰

    • Thanks for the continued support! Wasn’t sure exactly what kind creature Rowlf was, but if he’s a puppy than I’d done my job. Hoping we’ll see you this summer when we swing through Chicago, so will be sure to bring ‘mallows πŸ˜‰

      Please send photos of your cake if you don’t post the story. Silly hat cake will give you all sorts of options. What fun! And what a creative little guy you have. The big 5? Kindergarten is just around the corner!

      • Oooh great! Another reason to look forward to your visit! πŸ˜‰
        I’ll keep you posted on the cake. I’m either making the savory food or the dessert, but not both – we over invited and everyone is coming so still need to figure out it!! Now thinking maybe decorating ice cream clowns (with cone hats) instead of a cake…
        Thanks for sharing your Rowlf cake! Hope your daughter loved it!

  3. My teeth are aching a little, at the sound of sugar in so many different forms, but other than that, this is dandy! I like your problem-solving techniques in fixing the frosting–will you ever be able to re-create it?

    • ah ha, the downside of making things up as you go along. No, I could never duplicate this frosting. Just as well, as there are plenty of great recipes out there. I will for sure never combine three sticks of butter with a jar of fluff again. Sounds horrible and it really was.

      Appreciate your comment–dandy is a fine word for the cake πŸ™‚ Thanks!

    • Thanks, Amanda! Hoping you were around for my marshmallow posts (of which there are many). I have what might generously called an “obsession” or “fixation.” (Some would say I need professional help, haha.) Have made lots of ‘mallows through the years! It’s an easy task, so I’d encourage you to give it a go if you’re up for another adventure.

  4. Now that looks outstanding! And what a great memory for you and your daughter.

    I love your daring in the kitchen. I would have tossed the “failed” frosting and started over. You are definitely broadening my ideas for food rescue!

    • Thanks, Tracy! What you call “daring,” I call “frugal.” No way was I tossing something in which I’d invested three sticks of unsalted butter and one jar of fluff. Yep, all about the food memories πŸ™‚

      And food rescue? Sounds like a reality show in the making. Maybe Fannie and Bunny could co-host?

  5. Your ingenuity with the frosting is impressive. If I have to add that much in improvisation it usually ends up getting worse instead of better. Looks adorable and delicious! Love that you let your kiddo decorate it!

    • Thanks, Kaela. I’ve absolutely gone the “bad to worse” route in the kitchen. Just lucked out this time around. Love that my kids want to play in the kitchen. More messes, yes, but I keep reminding myself it’s good for them to be given these opportunities. (though sometimes I have to remind myself repeatedly as I sweep the floor for the 50th time in a day)

  6. Whew! Three sticks of butter and a jar of fluff? That’s intense! Like how you worked to make it delicious though — I love the satisfaction of turning a lackluster recipe into something good. And as a girl who had her share of kitty cakes growing up, I love the effort you went through. =)

    • lol, yes intense, J–very. Kind of nasty, too. But yet to satisfaction in making a bad thing better. Kitty cakes sound wonderful! It’s all about the effort for sure.

  7. That is pretty cute, Liz! And confetti marshmallows sounds like so much fun! Looking at your cakes, I wish I still have photos of a 3D tree house cake I made up a couple of years ago to show you. It was a bit (ok, very) wobbly but so much fun to put together / make things up as I went. Truly a food for fun kind of project!

  8. I love the social aspect of cooking–it’s the flavour and the company that matter most when it comes to food. I’m glad you were able to save the marshmallow frosting! I have been experimenting with marshmallow frosting too, for my wedding cupcakes.

  9. I really enjoyed this post! 3 sticks of butter and a jar of Fluff then another jar of Fluff! Liz, I love your style! Cute cake, love the whiskers and the addition of your marshmallows!

    • Thanks, Jayne. Killer frosting, yes. Appreciate your generous view of my “style.” Some folks would call it haphazard πŸ˜‰ I had expected the birthday girl to use a few mini m&ms of appropriate colors for eyes and short whiskers, but she gave this puppy the full-on ‘stache. Thinking she just wanted the extra candies.

  10. Your puppy cake project turned out great! What a cute and delicious looking cake πŸ˜€ Love the marshmallows too, especially with all the colors! Btw, after you make marshmallows, what is the best way to store them and how long do they last? I’ve started thinking about DIY wedding favors and I want something that’s fairly cheap to make and stress-free.

    • Thanks, Ada πŸ™‚ Glad if you enjoyed. Had a bag of the mini m&ms out anyway, so figured why not throw into the marshmallow. Then I realized they looked like confetti cake! Happy coincidence.

      Marshmallows last a good long time, but fresh is best. Best way to store is airtight storage container. Love the idea of making for your wedding. It won’t be hard as you can make a big cake pan, them cut them into smallish pieces. And you can customize by tossing in colored sugar per your wedding colors. And yes, totally cheap. Corn syrup, sugar, gelatin, vanilla. That’s it. Please let me know if you go this route and also send pictures.

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