Thursday, December 23, 2010

Build Ups and Break Downs

Happy Belated Fall!

I made this cake for my grandfather's birthday, which we celebrated with a house full of people during thanksgiving break. This was my first cake that was designed and decorated without a book to follow. It was also the first double layered cake I've ever made.. and the first time I've ever used fondant. That being said, it brought on the challenges, the stress, and yes, the tears. In addition, take note that a kitchen crammed with 13 relatives is not the ideal location for cake decorating.

The adventure began with the making of autumn leaves. I bought fake leaves from Michaels and coated them with brown, red, and orange melting chocolates (coating with your fingers works just fine). I let them harden in the fridge and then carefully peeled off the fake leaves. If trying at home, be sure to get fake leaves with veins, or else the chocolate leaves will have no texture. The leaves have about a 50% success rate, the other half cracked or broke while being peeled. Next it was time to make the acorns. These were made from caramels which I molded into an acorn shape. Each caramel was then dunked into chocolate sprinkles to make the acorn caps.

At this point, I figured the hard part was over.. the decorations looked great. All I had to do now was bake the cake and ice it. Easy peasy right? HAH. It was perhaps this over confident mindset that unleashed the wave of disasters.

I bought 2 six inch round pans to bake the top layer of the cake, and decided that I would simply guess the baking time for them.. needless to say, they came out half raw. Whoops! Good thing cake batter is so tasty! Then came the icing and filling of the cake. I made my own buttercream because it's my family's favorite frosting. And though it was delicious, I will never EVER use this buttercream to frost a cake again. The cakes were sliding all over the place due to the extremely high temperatures radiating from the 13 bodies that were circling the kitchen. The frosting also wasn't strong enough to hold in the filling (which I had poured a little too generously), causing the blood red raspberry filling to seep everywhere. Finally, the buttercream hardened far too quickly to decorate properly. To fix all of the cake flaws, I coated the cake with as much frosting as I could slap on to it. In the end, the cake looked like was a big mound of icing.

In addition, while attempting to ice the cake it came to my attention that the cupcakes I was baking had been in the oven for a good 45 minutes. So much for multi-tasking! I guess the burning stench coming from the oven was masked by my tears of frustration about the icing failure. Oopsies. I'm just glad I didnt set the house on fire.

Lastly, I molded dark brown fondant into branches, and placed them on the mound of frosting that made up the cake. I finished decorating and fixed up the cake as best I could.

In conclusion, here is what I have learned from this baking disaster:
1. Do not decorate a cake in a small house packed with 13 people.
2. Do not try more than 2 new skills on any one cake.
3. No matter how much you enjoy raspberry filling, do not over-fill a cake.
4. Do not cry over a cake, because in the end.. it's just a cake.

Hope you can all learn from my failure! I know I sure did, haha. And happy belated fall! I hope it was a good one.

1 comment:

  1. HAH hilarious post! For the record... the cake tasted and looked great :)