Sunday, October 9, 2011

Monkey Baby Shower

I am so thrilled that my dear friend is having her baby boy next month. It has been quite a journey for her to get this day. Her story would take some time to write, but I cannot share it as well as she could, because she has lived it and well, she is a writer. So, I won't even try.

What I can do,however, is share her shower with you. It had lots of yummy treats and cute decor. The Mommy-to-be went away happy and glowing. which made it worth it all effort and love! Thanks to all the ladies that were willing to help. It was such a blessing!

The dessert table! Thanks to and all their lovely ideas I came up with this display. Her nursery is a jungle animal type theme with emphasis on the monkey. She also requested for me to bake something S'mores-ish (yes, I like to make up words) so you will see alot of that flavor.

There was S'mores caramel popcorn (which I will blog about later), Chocolate sugar cookies, M&M's and animal crackers.....

S'mores cupcakes, banana bread (made by Ashley and it was super moist and yummy), chocolate covered banana bread (made by Lisa, again yummy) and chocolate covered marshmallows rolled in graham crackers......

and lots of cute presents!

A table to give your advice to the monkey jar for the new Mommy.

And of course, Cake!!! Let's talk about this cake for a minute shall we.

The recipe called for graham flour. I am pretty sure they don't sell that in the store, at least I haven't seen it, so I made my own. I put some graham crackers in the food processor and ground them to flour consistency.

I didn't get a picture of the rest, because my boys kept distracting me, so we will have to skip to the ganache I put in the middle layers. I use my trusty friend Alton Brown's recipe for this. I wonder if he knows were friends? Meanwhile, I piped some Marshmallow Fluff Buttercream frosting around the edge then filled with ganache.

I had a layer of graham cracker cake, a layer of Chocolate Cake and topped with another graham cracker cake. In between each layer is ganache. As you can see it started oozing out of the bottom layer. It does make it look yummy, but made it a bit more of a challenge to cover in frosting. The cake was then covered in Marshmallow Fluff frosting.

Oh yes, while I was at it, I made mini cupcakes with the two cake batters. I poured Graham Cracker Cake in the bottom of the cup, then sprinkled with a graham cracker mixture and then topped with the chocolate cake. I will post the recipe at the end don't worry.

After they baked, I cut a hole in the top with my small circle cutter. I am sure there is a better way, but that is the tool I had on hand. I put some of the ganache in the hole.

They were then iced with the Marshmallow Fluff frosting and ready to go... back to the cake!

The cake was covered in Marshmallow fondant and topped with a little monkey I made out of fondant. The sides are fondant circles that match her curtains in her nursery. Also little fondant blocks with the new baby's name on them.

Funny side story, I woke up that morning with my son running into my room yelling that his brother took off the monkey's arm. Fabulous, that's what I get for leaving it somewhere he could reach it. That middle boy of mine is sneaky though, he woke up before everyone else to go downstairs and impale my monkey. He probably would have eaten that arm if his brother hadn't snitched on him.

We had a great day and almost all the snacks were devoured or sent home. There were some very happy Sunday school girls that ate the last of the cupcakes the next morning.

Congratulations Erica! Can't wait to meet him!

Graham Cracker Cake and S'mores Cupcakes

1½ cups all-purpose flour
1-1/3 cups graham flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1½ teaspoons salt
1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
10 ounces (1¼ cups) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup sugar
¼ cup honey
6 eggs (wow! I know, I thought that was alot too)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line mini muffin tins with paper liners. I also lined a 6" cake pan with parchment paper.

Whisk together both flours, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.

2. With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream the butter, sugars and honey until pale and fluffy. Reduce speed to medium; beat in the eggs and vanilla, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the flour mixture and mix until just combined.

3. Place about a teaspoon of the batter in the bottom of the lined cups.

4. Make Chocolate cake, I use Hershey's recipe on the back of the cocoa powder.

5. Sprinkle with graham cracker mixture: 1/4 cup of graham cracker crumbs, 1/4 cup brown sugar and 2 tbls melted butter.

Pour about 1 Tbls of the Chocolate cake in the rest of the cup.

6. Bake until a thin knife inserted in the centers comes out with only a few moist crumbs attached, about 10 minutes. . Transfer tins to wire racks to cool 10 minutes; turn out cupcakes onto racks and let cool completely. Cupcakes can be stored up to 1 day at room temperature, or frozen up to 1 month.

For the cake I some of the graham cracker cake batter in a 6" cake pan and baked for about 25 minutes.

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