A while ago Janet and I were talking about Haribo's new Minion sweeties and she opined as how we should give some to Rob because he'd always said he needed minions. Sometime later she sent me a picture of a Minion cake and said she was tempted to try making it for Rob's birthday (or maybe I'm misremembering that part. It was last year, possibly as far back as October). Time rolled on as time does and at some point I wrote 'Rob birthday thing?' into my calendar for today. More rolling and I asked Janet if we were doing this thing and we talked theoretical Minion cakes and the best way to ice them (fondant icing looks pretty but the taste leaves a lot to be desired).
The following weekend I was doing my weekly shop and got a message from Janet saying the party was a go. "Jolly good", say I, "who's going to make that (Minion) cake?"
"Funny you should ask that..." came the reply.
Cue some online research and some buying of cake tins (all my current tins are 7-8inch, which is nice for my normal cakes but sub ideal for making tall cakes because proportionality. Also Minions have domed heads, so clearly I needed to buy a ball tin. Excuses are great. Also I might need a new way to store cake tins. But I digress).
Cake baking happened on Friday. I had a brief trauma of 'yes, but do I have enough evaporated milk to do this baking?' but it turned out I did so that was OK. Then I had a 'is twice my normal cake mix actually enough?' trauma but when the cakes came out of the oven they had in fact risen enough that the answer was yes, *and* the cake came out of the ball tin cleanly so that was a relief. Then I ran out of butter which is just bad planning I tell you, but fortunately I had to go pick up A1 from cadets while the cakes were still cooling so I stopped off and bought more on my way home.
I sliced the risen tops off my cakes and layered them together with the chocolate butter cream icing I usually use for this kind of chocolate cake and the I researched white chocolate ganache to use to crumb coat the cake (because I couldn't find the guide I'd previously read) and learned all sorts of things about white chocolate ganache and having the right chocolate (I had some good and some more dubious chocolate in hand but it was too late by then to go out and buy more, so I proceeded, but it takes more dubious white chocolate than it would good chocolate to make you ganache set. Good thing I had plenty of the dubious). It needed to be white chocolate ganache because the cake was chocolate and I wanted to be sure the cake wouldn't show through the icing when I was done.
So I made the ganache and crumb coated the cake and set it on the landing to cool overnight (it's a very cold landing in winter so doubles as an extra fridge). Having used a generous recipe and extra chocolate I had more ganache than I'd needed for the cake, so in the way one does I then made coffee truffles and peppermint truffles with the excess. And then it was midnight and I went to bed.
This morning I was up bright and early to ice the cake, though I had to start with doing all the washing up from the baking process. I do like baking but I could wish it generated less washing up. I have strong opinions about fondant and its flavour, so I iced the cake with butter icing. Fortunately I have some nice strong gel food colours (thank you Janet and Denise!) so was able to get a good bright yellow colour without using much colouring. The downside to butter icing is that it's a lot harder to get a smooth appearance to it, so after applying the icing I spent a while with a warm palette knife that I frequently reheated under the grill smoothing it down to get the right look.
Cake back out onto the landing and then I had to make cupcakes because my planned Minion needed to be holding a cupcake. I'd expected to have chocolate cake mix to spare the previous evening but that did not happen, so new cakes today. Victoria sponge cupcakes, but using an easily divisible recipe so I only made 2/3 of a batch because I only really needed 1 cupcake (but I am a charter member of Overcaterers Anonymous, so I couldn't bring myself to only make 1/3). Then I got out all my fondant icing to make all the decorative elements, because taste aside, it is a lot easier for that than butter icing, and some things (like arms) would be impossible in butter icing.
Then I had a brief trauma about having no yellow fondant to make arms with. Bad Planning Bear in action. Fortunately I had some white fondant in hand and still had all those nice strong food colours. On the plus side this meant the arms exactly matched the butter icing body.
Then I spent Quite A While (tm) making the Minion look like a Minion.
I iced cupcakes with the leftover buttercream and had exactly the right amount, and then ran out the door to the party, with the Minion on my lap to keep it safe as we drove.
Minion was a hit and also very yummy. Huzzah!
Final thoughts: were I doing this again I would make only 2 x 6 inch cakes plus the ball cake and cut them in half as well as cutting off the risen bits because that way I'd be cutting off less unwanted risen cake and end up with a slightly taller cake overall.
I would buy all of my white chocolate from Lidl because their cheap white chocolate is of better quality than anyone else's and probably as good quality as some of the posh white chocolates out there.
Need to experiment more with white chocolate ganache to firm up in my head how that works.
The instruction set I was following was quite right, you do need edible glue to be able to attach some of the icing bits to the cake. Fortunately I had some in stock.
I really enjoyed this and am happy with how it came out. The cake and instructions that helped me make this came from here (particularly handy as she also used buttercream icing and I would not have thought to use edible glue to attach fondant to buttercream if not for this) http://blahnikbaker.com/beyond-oven-making-minion-cake/