Mushroom Cake, Cupcakes and Hedgehogs

For my Mama’s 81st birthday I wanted to do something she would really like.  She’s from Germany and  two things that are common there are those beautiful red mushroom’s with the white dots and hedgehogs, her favorite.

I found a great recipe for a strawberry cake using Jell-0 which came out really nice.  The filling didn’t come out as creamy as I would have liked so I did have to add some regular frosting to it and it was delicious!  I baked two 8″ inch rounds and had enough batter to make 8 cupcakes.  I also made my cookie dough to make the hedgehogs and put in the fridge until I was ready. Recipes below.

While my cakes were cooling I started working on  the stem of the mushroom. I have a cupcake tree with different size platters and tubes. Even a paper towel roll covered thick in aluminum foil and clear wrap would give some support for the weight of the cake once the stem is covered with chocolate.  I used the 8″ inch clear plate for the top and a 10″ for the baseThe only thing that would work for the stem (and taste good) was to use Rice Krispies treats. I made a batch  according to the instruction on the box and began applying the Rice Krispies treat around the tube. Once I got the shape I needed I let that set for a while to make sure it was firm enough before covering with chocolate.  I took some white chocolate melts and put them in a microwave safe bowl and heated for 1 minute, stirred and microwaved for another 30 seconds and stirred to make sure there were no solid pieces.  Holding my “stem” sideways I spooned the melted chocolate over the Rice Krispies using the back of the spoon to smooth the chocolate.  Once I covered the entire stem I put the whole thing into the refrigerator for about 15 minutes to make sure it was set.  I then put some green melting chocolates in a Ziplock bag and mircowaved for 1 minute, kneaded the bag and heated another 30 seconds.  I cut a small slit on one of the corners of the bag and, holding the stem sideways, began piping the “grass”.

I let each section of grass set before rolling the stem around since chocolate will drip. This was actually very easy to do since I had the 2 ends keeping the stem from touching the counter and I just rolled to the next section when it was time.  I saved the bag of green chocolate to use later.  I also put some coconut in a Ziplock bag with green food coloring and mixed till all the coconut was colored.  I’ll use this later, too.

By this time my cake and cupcakes had cooled and I was ready to work on the cake topper.

So, I took a spoon and scooped out some of the cake from my cupcakes and added some of the strawberry filling and some between my 2 cakes.

I was going to crumb coat my cake and use fondant but I just could NOT get it to come out right.  I like making my own fondant but after 3 batches (rainy day) I decided to go with regular frosting.  My husband really likes butter cream frosting better than fondant anyway so I knew that much was good.  I applied the red frosting over the entire cake then took white frosting and piped the dots in different sizes.  I also sprinkle some small white edible pearls over the cake to finish it up.  You can use the white chocolate candy melts as dots, too.  Just push them into the frosting with the flat side up.  They would all be the same size and look more like polka dots but still would be cute.

I took some of the same white frosting and piped onto my cupcakes.  To add some fun to the cupcakes I made some chocolate mushrooms.  To make those I took some white melting chocolate and microwaved in a Ziplock bag for 1 minute then kneaded the bag and microwaved for another 20 seconds.  Cutting a tip from a corner my bag I piped a stem shape onto wax paper and let that set.   Then I did the same with red chocolate to make the cap of the mushroom covering the top part of the “stem” so they would stay together. Quickly before the red chocolate set I sprinkled them with small edible pearls and let set.  I added my little chocolate mushrooms to the cupcakes and sprinkled on a little green sugar to add color and help define the stem of the mushroom.

Moving on…I got my cookie dough out of the fridge and began shaping them to look like a hedgehog in different sizes.  Then baked and let cool.  I wanted to add something more so I decided to make some meringue mushrooms.  I took my meringue and put in a Ziplock bag, cut the tip off one of the corners and made the stems and caps then lightly dusted with coco powder and baked (recipe below).

Once they were cooled completely I took the point of a knife and gently carved out a hole on the underside of the mushroom caps.  I melted some milk chocolate and coated the bottom of the cap and added the stem to the cap.  I love making these. They come out so real looking and very light and crunchy.  The main thing is to keep them in an airtight container until you are ready to use them.

Back to the hedgehog cookies.  Once they had cooled, I melted some chocolate melts in a microwave safe bowl for 1 minute, stirred and microwaved another 30 seconds. I stirred the chocolate until there were no solid pieces.  Carefully holding the cookies, I spooned melted chocolate about 2/3’s over the back side of the cookie leaving the “nose” uncovered.  Then please the cookie on some wax paper and sprinkled with chopped walnuts.  I repeated that until all the cookies were covered.  I took a ziplock bag and spooned in my melted chocolate from the bowl and gave it a quick 30 seconds in the microwave to be more liquid-y.   I cut a small tip off one corner of the bag and added the eyes and nose.

I had to add them to my platter so I would have everything ready when my Mama and Daddy came to the house after we met them for lunch first so I wasn’t able to keep them airtight.  I covered everything with clear wrap but they were more chewy than crunchy but still looked great and tasted yummy.

To pull all this together I took a large square platter and lined it with copies of pictures of moss  then I covered that with wax paper.  I placed the “stem” in the center of the platter. Then I remelted the green chocolate I used earlier for the grass on the stem and squeezed it zig-zaggy over the clear plastic base and sprinkled on the green coconut.  Then using more green chocolate I added on the meringue mushrooms and two of the larger hedgehogs.  I just had to add the red mushroom cake topper and I’m done. I took two more of my clear platters and a tube from my cupcake tree and used it for my cupcakes and the rest of my hedgehogs and my little mushrooms.  Of course, I made my Mama a birthday card to match and created some wrapping paper design to tie all this together.  The best part of all of this was how happy this made my Mama (and Daddy)  I love them so much!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Strawberry Cake

1 (3 oz) package strawberry Jello

1/2 cup cold water

1 box white cake mix

4 eggs

1 cup vegetable oil

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 (10 oz) package frozen strawberries (thawed)

6 tablespoons butter

2 cups confectioners’ sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (165 degrees C).  Grease and flour two 8″ cake pans and about 8 or 9 cupcake wrappers.

In a large bowl, dissolve the Jell-O in cold water; stir in the cake mix, eggs, vegetable oil, flour and 1/2 of the strawberries.  Beat for 5 minutes on medium speed.  Fill the 2 pans and the rest in the cupcake wrappers in a muffin tin.

Bake for 30-35 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean or the middle of the cake springs back when lightly pressed.  Cool cakes and cupcakes in the pans on wire rack.

To Make Frosting:  Cream butter, sugar and remaining half of the strawberries in a medium bowl until light and fluffy, adding additional confectioners’ sugar if needed for a spreadable consistency.  Spread between cake layers.  NOTE:  I added regular frosting to make this creamier.

Hedgehog Cookies

1 cup butter

2/3 cup white sugar

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon sifted all-purpose flou

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Ground pecans

Milk chocolate melting chocolates

Directions:

Cream together 1 cup butter and white sugar. Beat in the egg and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Combine together the sifted flour, salt and ground cinnamon and stir into butter mixture.

Cover and chill dough for 3 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

Roll dough into hedgehog shapes. As dough warms it becomes unworkable. Return to refrigerator as needed. Bake on ungreased cookie sheet 15-20 minutes until lightly browned.

Meringue Mushrooms                              

1/2 cup egg whites (about 3 large eggs)

1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup white sugar

1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder

Milk chocolate melts to coat underside of mushroom caps

Preheat over to 225 degrees F (110 degrees C).  Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.

In a large glass or metal bowl, use an electric mixer to whip egg whites until foamy.  Add cream of tartar, salt and vanilla.  Continue whipping until the white hold soft peaks.  Gradually sprinkle in the sugar so that it does not sink to the bottom and continue whipping until the mixture hold stiff shiny peaks.

Place a round tip into a pastry bag or use a Ziplock bag cutting a tip out of one corner large enough to squeeze out a good amount of meringue.  To pipe the mushroom caps, squeeze out round mound keeping it flat.  To make the stem start squeezing to get a base then squeeze pulling upwards.  Dust lightly with cocoa using a small sifter or strainer.

Bake for 1 hour or until the caps are dry enough to handle.  Set aside to cool completely.  Microwave the melting chocolates in a bowl for 1 minute.  Stir and microwave another 30 seconds.  Use the point of a knife and carve out a small hole on the bottom of the caps then spread the melted chocolate and add the stem.