Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Pink Marzipan Flowers

Chocolate Cupcake, Chocolate Buttercream, Pink Marzipan Flower

During our walk this morning, I was thinking about what I wanted to bake today.  And I wasn't inspired to bake anything specific.  Instead, I was kinda jazzed to try some new techniques when it came to manipulating indigenous ingredients.

Marzipan (almond paste) is readily available in Heidelberg - even the smallest market carries some type of marzipan.  It takes that place on the shelf where Americans might find a tub of frosting.  Visiting France, I have also found it readily available in markets I've stopped in.  "Ok. I'll learn to use it."

If this marzipan is designed to cover a whole cake, and I think it is, I am not ready to do that.  I am willing to use it as lovely decorations.  Unlike fondant in the States (which is mostly flavorless), marzipan brings almond flavor to the baked goods.  That's a key component in deciding when and where to use it.

Sometime around mid-morning, I lopped off a small chunk of pink marzipan, rolled it out, and started pressing small flowers.  The first cutter I used was too 'complicated' - meaning, too many details.  When I chose a more simple shape, things really came together.  I LOVED how they turned out.

The process: roll, cut, place center, and repeat.  That small chunk I took off the brick made way, way more flowers than I thought possible. 

Wonderful.  Now I was left looking at a table filled with small marzipan flowers.  Gah!  Now I had to bake cupcakes and these were saying, "Chocolate with Chocolate."  Swell.  And that's ok.  I know this recipe works like a champ all day long (remembering the banana explosions of late) and felt confident I could get a batch into and out of the oven swiftly.  And that happened.  Go me.

I love the look of these flowers on my turquoise Fiesta dinner plate.

I used the last little bit of chocolate ganache in the chocolate buttercream, the smoothness factor was increased.  This buttercream reminded me of chocolate mousse with texture and consistency.  Pure heaven.

There ratio of frosting to cupcake worked out even considering I wasn't going to scrimp on buttercream height.  Finally, the little flowers were put in place and it was time for the pictures.  I still haven't figured out the best way to photograph cupcakes, but I'm working on it.

The best part about this project was the success.  I loved that this was the first time I worked with marzipan and I didn't know what I was doing or what to expect.  And, it worked out anyway.  I loved that I didn't go into this with a preconceived idea of what I wanted - but waited for inspiration.

I love that we were able to share these with four different groups of friends and colleagues.  And I can't wait to bake these again.  Looking at the pictures, I would like to eat one.  Fortunately, they're all gone.


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