While I was there, Nancy attended to me, and asked if she could of any help. I told her I was looking at the possibility of making little figurines to decorate a cake and she asked if I've worked with fondant before.
"Erm, the closest I ever got to working with fondant is plastercine/playdoh", I replied honestly. "Is it the same?"
She just smiled and explained that it is not quite the same, and is a little bit more difficult to handle. She suggested perhaps it would be better to just get a 3D shaped bear pan to bake the cake and just ice with white frosting to turn it into a polar bear. I pondered a while and decided to go with using fondant. I was not quite willing to give up so soon. So she showed me all the necessary stuff I need to work with that sugar paste and I got a few other extra things to experiment with. Mind you these stuffs are not cheap :P
And so I found this nice little recipe for Moist and Tender Chocolate Cake from VeryBestBaking.com and yummy chocolate ganache from Martha Stewart improvised a little from there.
Ingredients for Moist Chocolate Cake
2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup baking cocoa (I used Hershey's)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
180gms unsalted butter, softened
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 cup milk
Ingredients for Chocolate Ganache
200ml whipping cream (approx. 1 cup)
250gm semi sweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
3/4 cup chopped walnut (or any other nuts you prefer)
PREHEAT oven to 350° F. Grease and flour two 9-inch-round baking pans (I used only one and then divided the cake into 2 after it is baked). COMBINE flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in medium bowl. Beat butter, sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture alternately with milk. Spread into prepared pan(s).BAKE for 25 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan(s) for 15 minutes; invert onto wire racks to cool completely.
To make the ganache filling, bring cream to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Pour over chocolate in a heatproof mixer bowl; stir until smooth. Let cool completely. Attach bowl to mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on medium-high speed until mixture reaches a medium stiff consistency, 2 to 5 minutes, checking frequently. If it does not reach this consistency, chill in freezer up to 5 minutes, then continue beating.
To assemble cake: Trim rounded tops of cakes flat. Stir together half portion of the ganache with the nuts; spread over one cake layer. Top with second layer, and spread remaining portion (without nuts) over top and sides. Smooth with an offset spatula.
Note: This is already yummy enough on its own, or you can continue to decorate it with fondant like what I did with mine :)