Ty unknowingly spent his fourth birthday traveling home across the vast open expanse of northern Wyoming in a crowded minivan, speeding along on what he calls, “the big road.” The big, boring interstate with no caffeine in sight, was no place to spend a birthday, in his mother’s humble opinion. So I didn’t tell Ty it was his birthday. For all he knows, all birthdays must occur when one’s feet are firmly planted at home.
Nari turned the big 0-2 two days later. By then, we had arrived, but barely, and were still smothered in dirty laundry. So we held off until the weekend and held a joint, impromptu birthday party at a neighborhood park. Those who could make it on short notice, did, and it gave me a nanosecond to figure out the most important part of any party, the treats.
Originally, Ty requested a hybrid half Spiderman/half Star Wars cake. Since I couldn’t handle that kind of commercialized detail after 20 hours on the open road with only my children and Raffi to entertain me, we settled on Spiderman cookies and cupcakes.
For the cupcakes, I dabbled in melted chocolate fondant, to achieve a smooth finish. I adapted Peggy Porchen’s technique from her book, Pretty Party Cakes, for the fondant icing for these cupcakes (detailed below).
1 lb. ready-made chocolate fondant
1 to 2 oz. sugar syrup (1/3 c. sugar in 1/3 c. water, boiled and cooled)
1. Unless freshly made, place the fondant in a large microwave-proof bowl, cover with hot water and leave to soften for 15 minutes.
2. Pour away the water and add the sugar syrup.
3. Heat in the microwave for about 3 minutes at medium power. Stir to combine well, then heat for another minute.
4. Dip and drain the cupcakes in the hot fondant. Periodically reheat the fondant for 10 to 20 seconds on high heat to retain a smooth consistency. If the fondant feels thick and heavy when dipping, add a little more sugar syrup until the fondant runs smoothly.
5. The fondant icing will be sticky. Allow the cupcakes to dry for a few hours before handling too much.
All and all, the fondant definitely delivered on the sheen, but I think I still prefer the taste and fluffiness of butter cream. I know, I’ve got to get out more. Because the north side of interstate 25 doesn’t count.