Monday, August 14, 2017

The Triforce of Tastiness: #EatWhatYouWatch

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 
Guardian Cake & Classic Nutcake

The Legend of Zelda is hands down my favorite game series and nerdy cakes are one of my favorite things to make, so when I heard there was a Zelda food contest being hosted by Binging with Babish (#eatwhatyouwatch), I simply could not resist! After considering the many delicious Zelda dishes I could make, I eventually decided to try my hand at the humble Nutcake a la Breath of the Wild. ...But since I also wanted to max out the nerdiness, I decided to make a Guardian (Nut)Cake, as well. 

The elusive Goat Butter! 

According to the official Zelda recipe, Nutcake only has four ingredients: Any Nut, Goat Butter, Cane Sugar and Tabantha Wheat. The goat butter (a.k.a. #GOAT butter) was by far the hardest thing to track down, but I managed to find some and I'm glad I did. It was fun to work with and had a unique flavor that carried into the final product without being too overbearing.

For Tabantha wheat, I used half wheat flour and half white flour to give it a nice, rustic taste and texture, and for cane sugar, I used cane sugar.

Clockwise from left: Walnuts, Hazelnuts, Pepitas & Almonds

As for the nuts, I went for a mix of flavors, textures and colors I thought would taste good and look similar to the Zelda version. You can probably use most any nut (just like the original recipe says), but I went with almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts and pepitas, which while technically not nuts, have delicious flavor and great color! 

Pro Tip: Soak the nuts for a few minutes before throwing them in the batter to prevent them from soaking up extra moisture from the cake.

Who knew you could bake in a Pyrex measuring cup?! 

To get the proper shape for the Nutcake, I decided to go ahead and bake it up in one of the Pyrex mixing bowls I used while preparing it. While I may have added a little too much batter (my Nutcake was a little on the tall side), the shape was just what I was looking for!

Da na na na! You made a Nutcake! Press (c) to eat. 

This simple, hearty and rustic cake is best served fresh and warm with a generous dollop of whipped cream. (Those game developers knew what they were doing!) As for the actual recipe, I used one of my favorite holiday baked goods as inspiration: a family recipe for Cranberry Orange Bread. I changed just about everything flavor-wise, but the general ratios were handy for crafting this new recipe.

Classic Nutcake


"Forest nuts give this cake a pleasant texture and a simple, understated sweetness."

Ingredients:


  • 1 cup wheat flour
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup cane sugar
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • ¼ cup goat butter, melted
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • ¼ teaspoon almond extract
  • ¾ cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1½ cups whole, unsalted nuts

Preparation:


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Grease and flour a pint-sized Pyrex (or other chosen baking dish).
  3. Sift together flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and nutmeg.
  4. Mix melted goat butter into dry ingredients. 
  5. Separately, beat egg with oil, almond extract and almond milk.
  6. Mix wet and dry ingredients until well combined, then fold in nuts.
  7. Spoon batter into prepared baking dish and bake for 35-45 minutes, or until a skewer stuck into the center comes out clean. If the top begins to brown too much, cover with foil and continue baking until done.
  8. Cool on a rack for 10-15 minutes, then use a butter knife or spatula to loosen the edges before removing from the baking dish. 
  9. Serve fresh with a dollop of whipped cream!
But wait, there's more! To make one of the infamous Guardian Stalkers in cake form as well as a Classic Nutcake, a double batch of the above recipe will do it. I personally used the first batch to make the classic version and middle layer of the Guardian, and the second batch to make the Guardian base and head. 

An inside look at how the Guardians were forged 10,000 years ago.

To get the correct shapes, I found a tiny souffle-esque dish, a medium, oven-safe bowl (seen holding the nuts above) and a large, round casserole dish. Since the petite blue dish was a bit too petite, I added a ring of foil that would allow the cake to get taller (it totally worked). From smallest to largest, the Guardian cake layers took about 30, 40 and 50 minutes to bake. 

The Guardian Cake is stacking up nicely.

Once all three pieces of the Guardian Nutcake were baked and cooled, I leveled the middle and top layers so they would stack up nicely. In general, I would also level the bottom layer, but since I knew I was going to showcase it on one of my super nerdy triforce plates with almost bowl-like depth, I left it as is and it fit perfectly.

Note: Since this Nutcake is full of whole nuts, you'll want to use a very sharp knife to cut through the nuts for smooth cake slicing.


Guardian legs in the making

Now for the hard part. While this isn't my first cake with legs, these ones are a bit more intricate than what I've done in the past. It's always a goal of mine to make my cake creations entirely edible (no toothpicks, wire or dowels here!), so I decided to coat some pull-and-peel Twizzlers (3 small ropes each) with white chocolate and refrigerate them in triangular foil troughs. Once they were hardened, I broke the white chocolate every centimeter or so but left the Twizzler intact to achieve the cool, segmented look. 

Guardian feet a.k.a. cashew talons

As for the feet, I kept with the nut theme and enlisted the help of 24 whole cashews. Who knew these nuts could make such convincing talons? To help them keep their ferocious arrangement, I put a small blob of melted butterscotch chips on a piece of foil, arranged the four cashews as seen above with the blob in the center, then added more melted butterscotch to the center top to cement the claws together. I also employed melted chocolate to make the horn-like headpieces, simply piping melted chocolate onto wax paper and refrigerating until they hardened.

Hot-Footed Frogs + Winterwing Butterflies + Magic Beans + Hyrule Bass = ???

Now since I have three triforce plates and the Guardian Nutcake only takes up one, I decided to throw in two extra Breath of the Wild dishes just for fun. For my first choice, Dubious Food, you can use almost anything to make it recipe-wise, but I chose to go the dessert route with an assortment of gummy frogs, butterflies, fish, magic beans (circa Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask) and...

!!!!

...Chuchu Jelly! I mixed bright green and blue Jolly Rancher gelatin powders and half the water they called for so it would be extra sturdy, let it partially solidify in the fridge, then added cut-up bits of all the gummy candies and let it finish setting. For the iconic white bone sticking out (where did that even come from?), I simply greased a bone-shaped cookie cutter, placed it on foil, filled it with melted white chocolate and let it chill overnight to harden.

Purple rice is twice as nice!

To fill my final triforce plate, I opted for the playfully purple Monster Rice Balls. To dye the rice purple, I cooked it in a mix of blueberry and pomegranate juices instead of water, and also added three drops each of red and blue food coloring to give it a little extra oomph. When the rice was done, I stuffed the balls with dried cranberries and added a little bit of grape fruit leather to complete the look.

As for the Guardian Cake... 

It doesn't seem to have noticed Link yet...

Once it was cool, I frosted the whole thing in chocolate hazelnut frosting, then piped caramel frosting on the different layers mimicking its intricate designs. For its single, ever-watching eye, I used a light blue Skittle, lasers deactivated.  

The Guardian is awakening!

Once the caramel frosting scrollwork was complete, I used some bright pink frosting to add its aura of evil. Then it was time to build.

Some assembly required.

Once I had everything in its proper place, I started attaching the legs and feet. Two key points to note: using melted/hardened chocolate is very difficult on warm, summer evenings. AND, don't expect the feet to stay in place on a smooth table like the one pictured. If you want the legs/feet to stay up on their own, attach them to each other with a bit of melted white chocolate/butterscotch, and make sure to either prop them up against something (like a triforce plate) or have a rougher surface for them to stand on.

Bzzrt!

Hooray! After all that work, the Guardian Cake was finally done! Only two of the legs actually stood up (due to the aforementioned smooth table issues) but it still looked pretty rad if I do say so myself. 

"It's too gross to even look at. ... Eating it won't hurt you though... probably." 
Once the Dubious Food had set completely, I cubed it for that pixelated look and piled it high on a triforce plate, then stuck in the white chocolate bone for the finishing touch. ...Yum? 

"Rice balls flavored with monster extract. Their unique aroma is not for everyone."

The Monster Rice Balls actually tasted pretty good, and theoretically are good for you since they're made with pure blueberry and pomegranate juice. Apparently Monster Extract is full of antioxidants!

Guardian Nutcake + Dubious Food + Monster Rice Balls = The Triforce of Tastiness!

After I finished my photos for the night, I packed everything up and took my nerdy creations to work the next day to get some glamour shots courtesy of the amazing KBC of knead. bake. cook. If you like gorgeously-styled food that also happens to be exceedingly delicious, check out her blogshe knows her stuff!

Dubious Food never looked so good!
They're monstrously delicious!
Link looks rather pleased with himself after lopping off those Guardian legs.
A classic cross-section of the humble Nutcake

Phew! Done at last. Just like in the games, that Guardian Cake sure gave me a run for my money, but in the end I had the last laugh (and the last bite). 

To see some of the other amazing entries in the Zelda food contest, search for #eatwhatyouwatch on social media, and be sure to check out Binging with Babish for even more nerdy deliciousness!