@Jenn, wow, thank you! Got a new camera a while back, so I’m no longer borrowing my daughter’s electronics for photos. And for natural light photography, turns out all I had to do was turn off my kitchen lights. It isn’t very brightly lit but takes better pictures
@CRenee, thank you, too. The one good thing about fondant vs. tempered chocolate or plastic chocolate is that you can slice through it pretty easily, so it worked for the larger polka dots. If I had used hard chocolate, I would have needed to keep the dots small.
@Jeanne, thanks for the comments, it means a lot coming from a pro like you Hope someone makes you some rhubarb soon!
@SweetNess, thanks so much!
@Liza, you’re very kind. The taste of the caramel cream filling is a lot like vanilla pastry cream made with caramelized sugar. It is just more airy in texture from the extra whipping, and also a bit more firm, so I wasn’t worried about it compressing too much or anything like that. However, the extra starch/flour makes it a touch grainy, so I wouldn’t use it as an exterior frosting (not perfectly smooth). But you don’t notice that at all when it’s a filling.
The taste of the chocolate fondant, well, it seems overly sweet to me, but the kids all seem to love it, some of them were coming up and asking to peel dots off the cake. The texture is like a tootsie roll, the flavor is similar to a tootsie roll but not quite the same.
re: dryness and cracking, my first (black) batch I made with a low fat cocoa (Hershey’s Special Dark), plus it has been unusually dry weather here so ingredients like sugar are probably affected by that. I had to work in a tablespoon more water to get it to come together and maybe almost that much more shortening when rolling just to get it to roll out without crumbling to pieces. The second batch was also made with a low fat cocoa (Ghiradelli), but I used 5% less than was called for (190g vs. 200g) and it all came together much better. It still had a tendency to crack when handled- I found that rolling on greased plastic wrap helped a lot because it was so easy to peel the wrap off the pieces rather than trying to scrape them up off the counter.
I also found that the pieces were much more pliable and bendable when they were protected from drying even a few minutes. I needed some of the dots to extend over the upper edge of the cakes, and at first I tried to do it with dots that had sat around for a bit (maybe 20 minutes?) while I finished cutting and smoothing a whole batch. Those would not bend and had to be cut into two pieces to go over the edge. But then I tried again with some fondant that hadn’t been allowed to sit out or dry at all, just a quick roll-out, cut, and then immediately put it on the cake. With those moister dots I was able to bend them so that they would drape over the edge.