|A Roasted Garlic Parmesan Cheese Ball is molded into a beautiful wedding cake for a bridal shower.
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Leading up to my wedding, I was very fortunate to have three bridal showers hosted by various friends and family. My favorite event, a kitchen/cooking party, was hosted by my sister. You may think that sounds like an obvious party theme for me, but back then my cooking repertoire was limited to making grilled cheese sandwiches, baked chicken, and stir fried beef, and my kitchen equipment, which consisted mostly of cookie sheets and cake pans, fit into one cupboard. The first meal I made for my husband (then my boyfriend) was a total disaster. He had mentioned that chicken and dumplings was his favorite meal, so I asked a friend how to make it. I had never even eaten the dish, but was determined to make a special meal for him even if it meant trying something completely unfamiliar to me. Well, after several hours in the kitchen and a sink full of dirty dishes, the meal ended up in the trash can. It was awful. I had a lot to learn and thankfully I had friends who were willing to help.
For my bridal shower, my sister asked my friends to make their favorite dish and to bring it along with the written recipe . This was a huge gift to me. Not only did I have lots of new recipes, but I got to taste all of the dishes so I knew if I liked it or not. During the party, I remember asking my friends how they figured out what to cook for their families. Where did they get their recipes? How did they know they would like a recipe just by reading it? How often did they try new recipes verses making the same old thing? They happily shared their knowledge with me and I felt more confident about cooking for my new husband. My friends showered me with enough kitchen equipment to fill another cupboard and enough information to actually use it. I still have all of the handwritten recipe cards from my friends and use them all of the time. I’ve learned a lot since then and have my sister and friends to thank for getting me started.
No matter what type of bridal shower you host, you will want to have wonderful food, and I think this cheese spread molded into a wedding cake would make a fantastic addition to your menu. To make the cake layers I filled plastic wrap lined round cookie cutters with a roasted garlic Parmesan cheese spread. After chilling the cheese for a few hours each layer was unmolded and stacked to look like a tiered wedding cake. I don’t have a tremendous amount of experience decorating wedding cakes, so I kept my design fairly simple. I used a star decorating tip to pipe a shell design using cream cheese as the “frosting.”. If you have a lot of experience piping frosting, I’m sure you will come up with much more beautiful designs for your cake. If you don’t have any cake decorating experience, don’t fret, you can buy some edible flowers and arrange them around the cake, or you can use mini cookie cutters to cut little flowers or even polka dots out of white cheese slices and attach them to the cake using a bit of cream cheese, or you can leave the cake plain and put a very small cake topper on the top layer. Whatever you choose to do, I am positive your guests will be amazed at your creative talent.
Roasted Garlic Parmesan Cheese Ball Wedding Cake
1 whole head (bulb) of garlic
1 teaspoon olive oil
2/3 cup blanched and slivered almonds
2 – 8 ounce blocks of cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese (or freshly grated Parmesan)
pinch of salt
optional: pinch of white pepper (don’t use black)
optional decorations: a tub of cream cheese, or edible flowers, or white cheese slices
4 1/2″, 3 1/4″, and 2″ round cookie cutters
food processor or an electric hand mixer
offset (angled) metal spatula
tin foil and plastic wrap
optional: piping bag fitted with a coupler and a #21 star tip
Preheat oven to 400 degrees (I use my toaster oven for small jobs like this.) Cut head of garlic in half and set on a piece of tin foil. Drizzle olive oil over garlic. Fold foil and pinch edges closed. Roast in oven for 35-45 minutes until garlic is golden brown. Allow to cool to room temperature. Squeeze the two halves of the garlic to expel the soft roasted garlic. Note: I put my garlic through a garlic press, just to remove the darker outer skin of the garlic cloves, so that my cheese spread didn’t get too brown. It isn’t necessary, but I think the cakes look better cream colored than tan.
Roast the slivered almonds. Pour the almonds into a skillet set over medium or medium low heat. Stir often as they roast until they turn golden brown. I usually heat the nuts until they just begin to brown, then I turn off the heat and allow the nuts to roast in the residual heat of the skillet. I don’t worry about burning the nuts that way. Allow the nuts to cool to room temperature.
Combine the cream cheese, grated Parmesan cheese, roasted garlic, salt, and white pepper, if using, in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until creamy and smooth. Add nuts and pulse 10 times just to incorporate the nuts. If using an electric mixer, combine all the ingredients in a mixing bowl, and blend until smooth and creamy, roughly chop the nuts and combine.
Line each of the round cookie cutters with plastic wrap. Spoon the cheese spread into each of the cutters, making sure to completely fill the cutter. Level off the cheese spread using an offset spatula.
Fold plastic wrap over the top of the cheese spread. Flip the filled cookie cutter upside down. You need to make sure the cheese completely fills the cutter. As you can see, in the middle picture, the cheese doesn’t completely fill the cutter on the left. Use your fingers to press the cheese to flatten it out so that it fills the cutter around the edges. If you skip this step, your layered cakes will have gaps where the cakes touch.
Chill for at least 2 hours, and up to several days.
Unmold and unwrap the chilled cheese rounds. Set the 4 1/2″ cheese round on a serving platter or small cake stand. Each of the cheese rounds (a.k.a. cake layers) will have a wrinkled looking exterior caused by the folds in the plastic wrap. This is unavoidable. To smooth out the top and sides of your cake layers, run an offset spatula under hot water, dry, then use it to smooth the top and and sides of the cheese round. I actually filled a glass with hot water and just dipped the spatula into the water, then wiped it dry with paper towels, and used it to smooth out the wrinkles. Once you’ve smoothed out the bottom cake layer, stack the 3 1/4″ cake layer in the center on top of the first layer. Smooth it out then add the third and smallest cake layer and smooth it out.
You can now decorate your cake any way you’d like. Keep is simple and add a small cake topper, pipe cream cheese “frosting” in a lovely pattern on the cakes, cut slices of white cheese using mini cookie cutters into flowers or polka dots and attach them with a dab of cream cheese, or arrange edible flowers all over the cakes.
My first attempt at making this wedding cake cheese ball wasn’t perfect. First of all, I made the cheese spread using cream cheese, Havarti cheese, ranch dip, and ham. It was O.K., but not a good enough recipe to share. Then I thought I needed to frost all of the cake layers with cream cheese to make it perfectly white. The cakes were difficult to frost and I just couldn’t get them level or smooth. Then I wanted to pipe something really simple around the cakes, so I chose to make little dots. All of my dots had points on them, because I rushed. I didn’t think the points would show much in the photos, but obviously they did. This cake just wasn’t picture perfect, so I started over. I would have, however, served it if I were actually having a shower. It looked pretty on the cake stand and I think my guests would have been impressed.
To decorate your cheese ball wedding cake like I did above, you’ll need about 4 ounces of softened cream cheese. I bought a tub of cream cheese to use, as I think the texture is softer and creamier than the block. If you’ve never used a piping bag fitted with a coupler and a decorating tip, click here for a very informative tutorial and video. Once you’ve filled your piping bag fitted with a #21 star tip, pipe a shell pattern around each cake. On the top of the cake I made a reverse shell pattern.
This tiered cake is perfect for a bridal shower or a wedding, but you can make cakes for any occasion using this technique.
Go here to see how to create other wedding cake cheese balls including this lovely daisy cake
and this one created using fresh dill and baby roses.
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Items used to create this project that are available on Amazon.com (commission earned for sales)