I had the pleasure of spending my Sunday afternoon with Polly Wood, baker extraordinaire behind Polly’s Cakes. Ms. Polly donated her time and her expertise to teach a cupcake workshop benefiting the Columbia Gorge Arts in Education program. Here are the highlights of our day…
Polly recommends buying ready-to-use fondant. She stores a big tub in the pantry, and works with small amounts as needed. To create fun colors, simply dip pieces of fondant into coloring (we used “Cake Craft” food paste colors), and roll the fondant with your hands to work the color in. *TIP O’ THE DAY: Use cornstarch to keep the fondant from sticking to your hands/work surface, and allow it to sit and dry a little bit before working with it. When you’re ready, roll it into a thin layer and cut into shapes. Polly had an arsenal of fun cutters that she has purchased over the years. According to the pro, The Decorette Shop, in Portland, is a great source for cake decorating tools.
Polly shared a few of her favorite recipes with us, including this amazing Caramel Cream Cheese Frosting. It goes especially well with Brown Butter Pumpkin Cake, from the Fine Cooking website. Just divide the cake batter into prepared cupcake tins and bake at 350 degrees for about 15-18 minutes. *TIP: store unfrosted cupcakes in an airtight container for up to 12 hours before frosting and decorating.
Polly’s Caramel Cream Cheese Frosting
makes 2 1/2 cups
1/3 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 Tablespoons cream
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
In a small sauce pan, bring butter, sugar, and salt to a rolling boil. With CAUTION, add cream and return to boil until dissolved. Pour into mixing bowl and whisk until cool. Beat in powdered sugar, vanilla, and cream cheese until incorporated. Great as a filling, icing, or leave out cream cheese for a glaze!