Playing with Puff Pastry

Puff Pastry Thing 17

D’you remember, a while back, where I had leftover puff pastry and leftover cream cheese icing, and I made a thing? Well.  I did it again. I had some leftover cream cheese icing from the Pie’s Spider-Man spice cake, which I had chucked in the freezer to keep.  There’s almost 2 cups of this stuff.

Puff Pastry Thing 1

I had also chucked in there some strawberries that I had stewed when they were on their last legs, so they were pretty much freezer jam.  There’s about 3 cups in here I think.

Puff Pastry Thing 2

Then I bought some puff pastry.  So this thing had to happen.  First, I preheated the oven to 375°F and lined some baking sheets with parchment paper.  Leave your puff pastry in the fridge until you need it or it will be soggy and hard to work with.

Puff Pastry Thing 5

Then I cracked 2 eggs into the cream cheese frosting (you can find the recipe in here) and beat it until it’s smooth.

Puff Pastry Thing 3

I laid out the puff pastry (pre-rolled, woo!) and cut it into 9 squares.

Puff Pastry Thing 6

I put a teaspoon of the cream cheese batter in the centre of the square and followed it up with one of fruit.

Puff Pastry Thing 8

Then I pinched the corners together and sealed it as best as I could (which turned out to be not very well) and bunged them in the oven for about 12 minutes, until the pastry was golden and the innards were solid-ish.

Puff Pastry Thing 9

I set them on a rack to cool.  This made 18 of them.

Puff Pastry Thing 14

I still had plenty of cream cheese and strawberry stuff left and the oven was already on, so I added them together and chucked in about half a cup flour plus 1/2 teaspoon baking soda.

Puff Pastry Thing 10

I scooped that into cupcake cups, and baked those for another 12 minutes, until the centres came out clean when tested with a toothpick.

Puff Pastry Thing 12

Puff Pastry Thing 13

Those also went on the rack to cool.

Puff Pastry Thing 18

And now I have dessert for our softball team, made from stuff I had in the freezer!  One of the people I fed it to dubbed the pastry bits “Jammy Fantastics,” which I kind of like.

Puff Pastry Thing 20

Puff Pastry Thing 21

The Baseball Cake

Baseball Cake
Jealous?

It was Rusty’s birthday, and that man is the biggest Toronto Blue Jays fan that has ever existed.  I received this ridiculous cake pan for Christmas, which would supposedly create a cake in a cupcake shape, so we figured we’d experiment with Rusty’s baseball-themed birthday cake.

Baseball Cake

Now I want you to be prepared for the absolute awesomeness that is about to follow, and hold back your tears of joy when you see our massively amazing cake decorating skills. Just try to contain yourself. We are that good. Yes, it’s true. And that pan aside, we had some awesome tools to work with, like this nifty new whisk/spatula designed specifically for making batter. What could go wrong?

Baseball Cake

Because the Blue Jays’ colours are red, white, and blue, the Pie and I decided to make Rusty a red velvet cake, and we went with Bakerella’s recipe for the same, because it seemed to produce a rich red crumb (we later figured out that this was at the sacrifice of the chocolatey goodness for which red velvet is famous but it was still good nonetheless).

So, first we preheated the oven to 350°F and then buttered and floured our cake pan.

Baseball Cake

In one bowl, we mixed together 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, 2 cups sugar, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon baking soda, and 1 measly tablespoon cocoa. If you want a more chocolatey-tasting cake (because it is a chocolate cake after all), then feel free to add more cocoa, and maybe some melted chocolate. Mmmm ….). Anyway, whisk that up and set it aside.

Baseball Cake

In another bowl plop 2 eggs.  Without their shells would be good.  They never really specify that in recipes, but you should always crack eggs before you add them to cake batter.  Just a fun fact for your information.

Baseball Cake

Use a nifty whisk to beat ’em up.

Baseball Cake

Add in as well 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil, 1 cup buttermilk, 1 tablespoon vinegar, 2 teaspoons vanilla, and 2oz red food colouring.

Baseball Cake

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and whisk until well-combined. Holy cow is that ever pink.

Baseball Cake

Pour your batter into your prepared pans, scraping the sides of the bowl, and tap the filled pans on the counter to release any air bubbles.

Baseball Cake

Bake the cakes for about 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean. Ours took a little longer due to the construction of the pan. Remove them from the oven and let them sit for about ten minutes before emptying onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Baseball Cake

While that’s cooling, you can whip up your cream cheese icing. In the bowl of your electric mixer, beat an 8oz package of room temperature cream cheese with 1 cup room temperature butter and 1 teaspoon vanilla until smooth. Slowly beat in 6 cups icing sugar. Then take half of that icing out and set it aside.

Baseball Cake

To the remaining half, add blue food colouring until you achieve your desired colour.

Baseball Cake

So now we have blue icing to frost the “cupcake liner” half, and white for the top, to resemble a baseball.

Baseball Cake

With the design of this cake, you need to “glue” the two halves of the cake together (but you’d have to do that with two layers anyway).

Baseball Cake

Baseball Cake

The bottom half was so heavy and dense it started to crack under its own weight, so I patched it a bit.

Baseball Cake

Then I iced up the bottom. I tried to make it resemble the corrugations of a cupcake liner. You can see that I succeeded in a masterful fashion.

Baseball Cake

Then I did the top. I tried to smooth out some of the natural swirls in the structure of the cake to make it more round, like a ball. As you can see, the results were epic.

Baseball Cake

Then I put the pie to work with a tube of red gel piping to make baseball seams in the cake. Oh man, admire that steady hand.

Baseball Cake

Smooth, even stitches.

Baseball Cake

Crowing in glee at his own mad skills.

Baseball Cake

And our final product, a majestic confection which tasted great, despite not being a chocolate cake, a baseball, or a cupcake.  Rusty loved it.

Baseball Cake