Sunday, February 21, 2010

Cakes, cakes, cakes, cakes

Back story- This summer I was the baker at the Cheley Camp's Boys Camp. One of my varying baking duties was to bake little cakes for the campers on their birthdays. This included the frosting & decorating. Not really in my bag of tricks & I felt mounds of guilt when it came time to give them the cakes. What is more dissapointing to a child away from home on his birthday than an ugly cake? They tasted great but I would have accidents like my "Peach Detox" cake. The kitchen only had three colours of food dye so if I wanted to get exotic I would need to mix my own colours. One day I decided to make a peach & lavendar polka-dotted cake. I accidentally grabbed the wrong colour when mixing the lavender & made drab green.

I was determined this winter to take a cake decorating class at Michael's to learn SOMETHING that would make my cakes better. My sister, over booked already, decided that she really wanted to take it too. So we signed up and had our first class on February first. In just that one class I got all the answers to my common mistakes without even having to ask them. Our instructor is fabulous! (I dread courses that take up half of your evening during the work week & then leave you with unanswered questions.) The first week was all about the three consistencies of frosting, how to properly bake a cake and torte it, and how to frost a cake...all of which I had been doing wrong.

The second week we needed to purchase our tools & prepare either a character cake or an 8 inch cake. The beauty of taking a class with your sister is that we each can do one of the projects & share supplies. Let me tell you, cake decorating is not cheap! $12 for a cake tin the shape of Wall-E!? How many Wall-E cakes are you really going to make? You can tell that I was going to do the character cake, so I wanted a tin that I would use various times. I ended up purchasing the sphere mold. My plan was to do a fishbowl.

We tag team shopped for an entire week, every evening. She would print up 40% coupons for Michael's and Hobby Lobby & we would each buy one thing at that store at a discount. Then there were all of the cake baking & frosting ingredients. Frosting is a foreign food to anyone that was raised by a mother who was on Weight Watchers in the '70s. She & I hovered over an freshly opened container of shortening like children raised buy wolves around a telephone ringing.

The next problem with cake decorating is who in the hell is going to eat all of this cake?! My sister volunteered us to deliver our week two cakes the next day to a Bake Sale for Haiti. Wonderful way to get rid of cake & help the survivors EXCEPT THESE WERE OUR FIRST CAKES EVER! That meant we had to perfect what we learned in class that very evening. To top it off, my sister promised one of the ladies at the bake sale that I would make a gluten-free cake for her to buy. Catastrophe! I added too much water to the batter so it bubbled while it baked removing all of the cake release. I beat the shit out of those molds trying to get my cake out & ofcourse one side broke. I was scurrying to get another cake mix & character tin....luckily I have a compulsive shopper as a sister & within the first week had purchase 10 cake molds. I just grabbed the star & had a slightly warm cake ready for class. In all we stayed up til midnight decorating the cakes with star tips. I did three cakes- the star cake & two halves of the spheres. One was broken so that one we gave to my sister's coworker for free.

The star cake
The broken cake that I did as a flower cake.
You can't have a star without a moon, perchance a quarter moon?
My sister did the torted 8" cake that was a lesson how to transfer images with piping gel. It has a rainbow on top- aww:)

My sister is more intense about this class than I am. She has the crazy notion of doing her own wedding cake! In search of practice she volunteering to do the birthday cake of her friend's 7-yr-old's birthday. She said she wanted a Penguin from the Littlest Pet Shop. I did the design & drawing, my sister made the cake & the crum layer. Then we frosted it together.
It was a smash at the party. So much so that were asked to do another...FOR MONEY!

Miss you more than buttercream on the lips- V