Introduction: Chocolate Cream Puff Tower (Smash Cake Alternative)
With my oldest, we were living in Europe where smash (buttercream) cake was non existent. When we planned for it, it was frowned upon. So I decided to make cake-balls tower instead.
Now back in Canada, our youngest turned one on Christmas Eve, and I decided to be fair to his brother, I'd make another tower, however, this time it was profiterole/cream puffs/choux pastry tower.
Easier, quicker, and yet same messiness!
(What was I thinking with white table cloth, huh!)
Step 1: Recipe
For this tower, you will need:
200 ml water
100 g butter
120 g AP flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp sugar
3-4 large eggs (3 if you'd like your cream puffs taller, but since I needed a lot to make tower, I used 4 eggs and made 33 cream puffs).
Bring water to boil, add in salt and sugar plus the butter, stir to melt completely
Step 2: Dough
Once your butter dissolved, turn heat to low and add in flour. Stir in quick motion as mixture will be thickened as shown on the picture. Take off from heat.
Once dough is off heat, let cool for 8-10 minutes, until warm to the touch. Then using electric mixer, mix in the egg, one egg at a time.
Place dough (or batter it became) into a piping bag with any tip you prefer, star or even round. You can even drop it by tablespoon (depending the size you wish to make). If you are good in piping, as in making the size equally big, by all mean, pipe away, onto a greased sheet. If not, you can pipe batter onto muffin tins, so they would bake the same size each time. Don't forget to grease the muffin tins as well. Bake in 395 F for 25 minutes. During baking time, do not, I repeat, DO NOT open the oven door whatsoever, or they will collapse once taken out of the oven.
Once cooked, take out of oven, and onto the cooling rack they go.
Step 3: Filling
You can use whatever filling you like for cream puff. From custard (vla), whipped cream, pastry cream, or even buttercream. I made it simple for this one though, I used store-bought chocolate pudding powder (like Jell-o brand and such). Prepare as package directed (which was only needing cold milk, the powder it self, and whisk).
Step 4: "Glue"
For stacking the puffs, I used melted chocolate to glue each of them, to stay intact nicely.
For the 33 puffs, I used about 180 g milk chocolate chip and just slightly more than 2 tbsp of butter. Heat in 30 seconds intervals in microwave, stir to melt.
Step 5: Towering Up
For this tower, I used 7 puffs as the base.
You need to make a cut on each puff to fill them. Spoon or pipe the pudding in each center, and pipe tiny bit on the serving plate so the base puffs don't move away while stacking. Once the base is ready, pour a tablespoon each of melted chocolate on top of them. Repeat steps until all puffs filled and stacked.
Step 6: Smashing Time!
I have to be honest, in the end, only 32 puffs left. As you can see on the first picture, there were 3 puffs on top when supposedly there was one more as the very top where we put the candle. But what can I say, I have 4 little hands at home and they were very impatient!
Here is the birthday boy, helping himself, smashing the tower.