Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Even Pirates Like to Party - Part Two

This is my favorite part of any party, the food!

We had a Mickey Mouse Clubhouse party, so we wanted food that would go along with that theme. We also had a budget, and wanted to keep it somewhat simple.

I came up with Clubhouse Sandwiches and Hot Dogs. (They do a Hot Dog dance at the end of every episode)

The Sandwiches were set up so everyone could just assemble them on their own. We offered bread, deli sliced cheese (actually cheaper than pre-slice packaged cheese) turkey, ham, lettuce, mustard and a choice of pesto mayo or regular. 

The sandwich setup. One covered platter of cheese, one of meat.
The hot dogs were made on the stove and placed in the buns. Then they were wrapped in aluminum foil and placed in my Mother In Law's warming drawer. We had ketchup, mustard, and relish for toppings.

We also had snacks of M 'n M's, peanuts, chopped fruit, and bags of chips. Beverages were a choice of punch or water.

Another food item actually worked to entertain the kids. Even though The First Mate was just turning one, many of the kids attending the party the party were older. I wanted to give them something fun to do. We set up a decorate your own Mickey Mouse cookie station. We put up a table outside (a very wise decision) and gave the kids icing, sprinkles, and candies to decorate their very own cookie with.  

A blank edible canvas.
The aftermath.
Here are some of their creations:

Some of the Mickey Mouse cookies. Notice the "P" cookie from my niece Princess P

Now for the real dessert, THE CAKE!

The cakes were red velvet with cream cheese frosting and pumpkin chocolate chip with a dark chocolate ganache.

Here is how I made them:

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip-

I wanted a vegan cake because The First Mate seems to be allergic to eggs and we haven't really introduced dairy yet. I googled and found this yummy looking recipe. This cake was mostly vegan. We couldn't find 70% cacao dark chocolate, so we ended up using 53%, which has some milk fat.

I found this recipe from the Blissful Bites cookbook via The Blissful Chef.

I made some tweaks to make it in two 9 inch cake pans and for the ingredients I found.

  • Vegetable Shortening (Crisco) to grease pans
  • 4 1/2 cup spelt flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 3 tbsp + 1 pumpkin pie spice
  • 3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup + 1 tbsp plain soy yogurt
  • 2 cans pumpkin puree (15oz)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce 
  • 3 tbsp + 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups  70% chocolate, chopped  (I only found 53% cacao chips)
For the Chocolate Ganache:
  • 1 c chocolate chips
  • 1/2 c rice milk

Preheat oven to 350 F and grease the cake pans. Then lightly coat with spelt flour, set aside. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, pumpkin pie spice and sugar. Stir to combine.

Dry Ingredients

In another bowl mix together pumpkin, and other wet ingredients.


Wet Ingredients

Then slowly add in the dry ingredients, in sections, and mix until incorporated.

The cake batter will be relatively thick, this is a dense cake.

All mixed

Fold in the Chocolate Chips.

Pour and spread the batter evenly into 2 round 9 inch cake pans. Bake at 350 degrees for about 50-60 minutes. Test for doneness by inserting a toothpick in the center of the cake. If it comes out clean, they're done.

To make the ganache for the pumpkin chocolate chip cake, I heated 1/2 c rice milk in a sauce pan and added in just over a cup of dark chocolate chips. I did more than the recipe called for because it seemed to runny. Keep stirring the chocolate chips until they are completely melted into the rice milk. Don't make this ganache until just before you want to cover the cake. You want it to still be runny for that step.

Now, Red Velvet-

The Red Velvet was easy because I wasn't worried about dietary restrictions. I wanted to have a cake that the majority of the party-goers would like. I used a store bought mix, Duncan Hines. It took 4 boxes to make two 10 inch pans. I mixed per the box instructions and poured in the pan.

I baked it at 350 degrees for about 55 minutes, when a toothpick came out clean in the center.

Then I did it all over again for a second layer.

To assemble the cake I used a nifty cake leveler from Michael's. I trimmed off the rounded tops so I had a nice flat surface to work with. After a failed icing attempt with mixing red cream cheese frosting I bought the premade canned stuff and dyed it all over again. It turned a pinkish color, so I improvised. I placed some frosting in between the layers and then frosted the entire cake. I chopped the cake trimmings in a food processor and used the crumbs to coat the outside of the cake. That was the "red" of Mickey's shorts.

Now is the time to make the ganache. Pour some onto the bottom pumpkin layer and spread to cover. Then place the top layer of pumpkin cake on. Pour the ganache on to the cake. It's ok if the ganache pours down the sides. You will spread it on the sides to completely coat the cake.

Let the ganache set up a bit before handling to stack the cakes. I cut a few straws as supports and put a layer of cardboard in between the red velvet and pumpkin cakes. We have had a cake disaster in the past, so support was important.

I made gum paste buttons and ears. I learned that gum paste does not stay firm when coated with chocolate, so we opted for cardboard Mickey Ears in the end, borrowed from a party hat.

Here is the finished Cake!

The Completed Mickey Mouse Cake

The First Mate had his own smash cake too. I just made a smaller version of the pumpkin chocolate chip cake. Here he is enjoying it, sort of. He wasn't so sure about the dark chocolate, but that didn't really slow him down any. Don't worry, he didn't eat the whole thing.

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