Divergent Cake

Divergent Cake

Birthdays are so special. Birthdays are also a reason to bake up a cake. What celebration doesn’t call for that? It was time to finally put an end to the cake drought we’ve been suffering (last one I baked was an Little Black Dress cake for my friend’s party). With a little fondant of course. Fondant’s hard to ignore and it somehow makes it way to every celebration. It just adds the right amount of pizzazz to any cake like a glossy top coat to your nail polish. So fondant it was. Now the challenging part: what theme should the cake be centered around?

Divergent Cake

Well, after many brainstorming and Pinterest sessions to find a cake for my sister’s birthday, we suddenly agreed on a theme. We had just seen Divergent at home and Insurgent the next day at the movies, which really inspired us. In case you haven’t seen either of these, they are based on a bestselling novel by Veronica Roth (she has a role in the first movie so keep an eye out for her!). Her dystopia novel comes to life along with its society-divided factions which are defined by traits. Each child goes to a Choosing Ceremony where they pick the faction they will join for the rest of their lives. An action packed mix of rebellion, deception, and upright honesty where the main character, Tris, leaves her selfless Abnegation faction to join the adventurous, fearless Dauntless faction brings excitement tying the whole story together. The main character is Divergent, meaning that she has 3 or more of the traits these factions have which poses a threat to the government who dislike the rebellious Divergent. The best way I found to integrate the movie into the cake was to focus on the five factions and so that’s what I topped the cake with. I put fire and coals (crushed oreos) to surround the cake, because that was the symbol of the Dauntless faction that Tris chose.

Birthday Cakes Across the Years 

Batman Cake

https://simply-delicious.org/2014/05/11/batman-fondant-cake/

Chinese Takeout Cake

https://simply-delicious.org/2013/05/05/chinese-takeout-anyone/

Rainbow Cake

https://simply-delicious.org/2012/04/24/surprises-abound/

Divergent Themed Cake 

Divergent Cake

I used Sweetapolita’s Fluffy Vanilla Cake which you can find here and paired that with a light, creamy Vanilla Bean frosting. The combination was great, because the icing did not have that generic overly sweet taste and the cake itself was light and fluffy. The secret to this frosting was whipping the butter for 8 minutes until it was as smooth as a ribbon of silk before mixing it with the powdered sugar. I don’t usually eat the fondant part of the cake as it is has a sickly sweet flavor that just throws you off even before you get to the cake and icing inside. It definitely is worth the magical effect that it gives your cake though.

Divergent Cake

Each circle represents one of the five factions. Starting from the top yellow symbol, clockwise, are Dauntless, Abnegation, Amity, Candor, & Erudite.

Dauntless: brave, fearless, take risks

Abnegation: selfless, always help others hence the hands

Amity: kind, optimistic, earth-friendly

Candor: truthful, see everything as black or white

Erudite: curious about the world, intelligent

Divergent (no symbol): three or more of the above, rebellious, immune to control

Factionless (no symbol): the ones who don’t fit in

Divergent Cake

 

What movie-themed cakes have you made?

 

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Batman Fondant Cake, Chocolate Trifles, & Tropical Punch

Batman Cake

Finally MCAT and finals free!!! This was the first thing I baked after depriving myself of baking while studying. My sister’s birthday was originally the week before my test. I know, what perfect timing… I told her, if she wanted me to make a cake that she’d have to move her party to the week after. This time, I made her cake the day before her party (best decision ever btw). Last year I decided to make her cake the day of and was still decorating it till even after guests started to arrive, which was pretty stressful. You can check out her last year’s Chinese Takeout Box Cake here.

If you look closely at the picture, you can actually see the Batman sign that I wedged in the cake, burning haha. Someone yelled out that it was on fire after I had lit all the candles. Without thinking, I blew them all out, pulled out what little was left of it, and had to relight all the candles.

Choc Cake Trifles

Other than the cake, I also decided to make these small chocolate trifles. I found these plastic disposable cups from Dollar Store. Definitely made for an easy clean up, which is always a great goal to have for any type of party!

Batman IceCubes

Of course, I had to top it all off with these Batman ice cubes for the punch. I guess I was so excited about these, that I forgot to even take a picture of the punch!!

**Check below for recipes for the Batman Fondant Cake, Chocolate Trifle Cups, & the Tropical Punch**

Batman Fondant Cake

-For a quick overview, the cake was made from four layers that I stacked.

-The two that I used for the base were vanilla. For the top two layers I used a Hershey’s chocolate cake recipe.

Hershey’s “Perfectly Chocolate” Cake recipe found here

Vanilla Sour Cream Cake

Makes: two 8 or 9 inch cakes

Ingredients

  • 4 egg whites
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 sticks of butter
  • 1/2 cup of sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Directions

Preheat: 350 F

  1. Whisk the egg whites, eggs, milk, and vanilla extract together in a small bowl
  2. Combine together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl and lightly mix
  3. While the mixer is on a low speed, add in the butter (chunk by chunk) until the mixture is crumbly
  4. Now add your milk and egg mix to the crumbly mixture and mix for a minute
  5. Scrape down the sides of the bowl to make sure everything is incorporated
  6. Add the sour cream next and mix on medium speed for 30 seconds
  7. Spread the mix in a cake pan (use springform pan for ease of removing the cake)
  8. Bake the cake for 23-30 minutes or until well done

Tips:

-If you want the cake to come out cleanly, line the pan with parchment paper and use a springform pan as well

-Instead of black fondant, you can color the white fondant with black gel food coloring & you can also buy edible black paper for the buildings and Batman signals

-The yellow parts on the cake are white fondant colored with yellow gel food coloring

-The toppings for the cake are wire cake toppers from Hobby Lobby & I printed out Batman signs that I cut out to paste onto them, because I had run out of the of the edible black paper

Mini Chocolate Trifles

Makes: 25 cups

Ingredients

  • Leftover cake pieces, about 1/2 cake
  • 3 boxes of instant chocolate pudding
  • 10 Oreos, crushed
  • 1 can of whip cream

Directions

  1. Make the pudding according to the instructions on the box
  2. Cut the cake into small pieces, size does not have to be exact
  3. Fill each cup with a few small pieces of cake
  4. Top with a few spoonfuls of pudding
  5. Add whip cream on the pudding with a handful of crushed Oreos
  6. Serve and enjoy

Tropical Punch

Makes: Two large punch bowls (50- 4 ounce servings)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 6 cups water
  • 46 fluid ounce can pineapple juice
  • 2/3 cup lemon juice
  • 1 quart orange juice
  • 2 two-liter bottles of lemon-lime carbonated soda

Directions

  1. Bring the sugar and water to a boil for 2-3 minutes
  2. Stir in the pineapple juice, lemon juice, and orange juice
  3. Divide the mixture into three large ziploc storage bags and place in freezer
  4. When ready to use, mix the lemon-lime carbonated soda with the juice mixture

 

Batman Cake

Batman Cake

 

 

Chinese Takeout Anyone??

photo 3  Birthday parties… The hardest thing about them is always the theme!!! For my sister though, that wasn’t the case. She’s been interested in the Chinese culture ever since my dad went there on a business trip haha. So of course, she had a Chinese themed party with everything Chinese you can think of! It was hilarious because half of the people she invited even came dressed in the Chinese cultural clothing. She asked me to make her her cake like last year (which was a rainbow layered cake from inside) so I didn’t mind at all, considering it’s been a while since I baked due to exams and studying. After some research, I decided that I was going to make her a fondant Chinese Takeout Cake! I used a Coconut Cake recipe seen below, covered it with fondant, & drew on it with edible food markers.

Coconut Cake

Ingredients:

  • 6 large egg whites
  • 2 1/4 cups cake flour
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 1/2 sticks of butter (or 2/3 cup), RT
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Icing Recipe from here
  • Pre-made Fondant (bought from Michaels)

Directions:

Preheat: 350 F

  1. Mix together all the dry ingredients: cake flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt
  2. Cut the butter in 2-inch cubes and beat with the dry mixture until it becomes crumbly (1 minute aprox)
  3. In a separate bowl, mix together the egg whites, coconut milk, coconut, and vanilla extract
  4. Add half of this liquid mixture to the dry ingredients and beat until well combined
  5. Add the remaining liquid mixture until the batter is consistent and uniform
  6. Pour the batter in the cake pan and bake for about 15 minutes or until lightly golden
  7. Allow the cake to cool completely

What I did for assembling it was cut it into four pieces, which I then stacked on top of each other with layers of frosting in between. I completely coated the whole cake with a thin layer of frosting after to seal the crumbs (because you need a flat surface when you place the fondant over it). For the fondant, I just measured each side of the cake and cut out each piece a half inch larger so I could seal each side on top of each other. I drew the Chinese symbols & house onto the fondant cut outs before putting them on the cake.

Lastly… It was pretty spontaneous, but to top it off I decided to make her cupcakes to go along with it!

photo 4

Surprises Abound!

Wow, I just love surprises, both giving and getting them. First off, I would love to thank Nina Baydoun from Tabkhet el Yom for nominating me for the Versatile Blogger Award. This is my second award, after the last Sunshine Award I got. If you want some a variety of the best Lebanese food, then be sure to check out her blog!

Here are my nominations:

1- bakingwithbrennan

2- Teenage Girl Cooks

3- Allison Eats

4- A Melbourne Girl at Heart

Speaking of surprises, I’ve been eyeing this multi-layer rainbow cake I found on foodgawker foreverrrrrr! I finally got the excuse to bake it up today for my sister’s party. It was so funny because all the party guests did not know what to expect when I told them there was a surprise for them inside the cake. I mean, it looks like a totally normal cake from outside, with the plain white icing and what not. They probably thought that I put some strange material inside. Surprise!!!!! They had no idea that there would be a rainbow inside after the first slice was cut.

The cake itself was pretty easy to make. I followed a white cake mix recipe that I found here.

Rainbow Cake

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups of sugar
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp of salt
  • 5 large egg whites
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 1 1/2 sticks of unsalted butter (room temperature)
  • 1/2 cup of sour cream
  • 2 tsp of pure vanilla extract
  • Gel Paste (I used the Wilton Colors: Christmas Red, Orange, Lemon Yellow, Leaf Green, Sky Blue, and Purple)
Tools Needed:
  • Measuring cups: tablespoon, teaspoon, 1/2 teaspoon, 1 cup, 1/2 cup
  • 2 Mixing Bowls (for dry/wet ingredients)
  • Electric Mixer
  • Parchment Paper, Pencil, and Scissors
  • 9″ round cake pans
  • Toothpicks
  • Mini bowls (for separating the egg whites)
  • 6 medium bowls/spoons (for separating the 6 colored layers)
Preheat: 350 F
Directions:
  1. Mix together all the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium mixing bowl. Set aside.
  2. Cream all the butter with an electric mixer. If you forgot to leave it till it reached room temperature, then microwave it for about 20 seconds before creaming.
  3. Add in the sugar, egg whites, vanilla extract, and sour cream mixing well in between each and every addition.
  4. Alternate adding the flour mixture and milk to the creamed mixture. Mix until well incorporated.
  5. If you have a scale, you can weigh the amount of the total cake mixture and divide it by six to see how much to add to each of the 6 divisions. My lack of a kitchen scale lead me to improvise and use another method. Instead, I used the measuring cups to scoop the mixture into each of the 6 bowls laid out. I started with a 1/2 cup for each and then added another 1/3 cup to each dividing the rest of the mix as equally as I could.
  6. Next, use the toothpicks to add the 6 gel food colorings to each of the 6 bowls. The color you see of the raw cake mixture is how it will turn out after being baked, so add the food colorings according to your own discretions.
  7. Now, trace the cake pan with a pencil on the parchment paper and cut out the circle. Butter the parchment paper after putting it in the cake pans. I used two cake pans at a time in the oven, because I only had two.
  8. Pour the colored batter into the cake pans and bake for about 15 minutes or until well done.

For the icing I wanted to try something different so I did a Swiss Meringue Buttercream from here. I didn’t really like how it turned out though, because it was not consistent enough to ice a cake. I had to add half a can of store bought frosting to it to make it less runny. This was only for the filling though, in between the layers. For the outside frosting, I went with the recipe that I have been using from my previous cupcake post. It hasn’t failed me yet and is the perfect icing for a cake!

More cupcake pictures too! :)