Monday, February 15, 2010

Kitchen Time

  So, with all this bad weather lately, I've really been on a cooking and baking bender. I've been making normal food the whole time, but I've also been experimenting with all kinds of delicious treats. I typically don't eat that crap, but it's fun to make, and I can usually pawn it off on other people. This weekend, perhaps inspired by one too many episodes of "Cake Ace" or "Cake Boss" or "Cake Fuhrer" or whatever they're calling it now, I decided to take a run at something higher level.
  Granted, the complexity of design of MY cake is nowhere near amazing, but for me, it was a challenge. I did a little research about what I'd need to accomplish the idea that was in my head, then picked the stuff up on Friday. In the interest of brevity, I won't go into every minute detail about the process. Right up front, I'll say that I wouldn't soon do this again. It's an incredible amount of work, and should only be done when there's a good damn reason.

  The first thing I tried were roses. Actually, the first thing I tried were lillies, because they were a lot simpler in design. When that didn't cause me to rip out fistfuls of my own hair, I gave the roses a go. It was actually very easy. Tedious, but easy. The stuff I'm making them out of in these photos is called "gum paste." You roll it out like clay, dye it whatever color you want, work a little vegetable shortening into it for some elasticity, then go crazy. I built those roses layer by layer, and had to brush each petel with water to get them to stick to each other. I was very pleased with the results.

  I mixed up three batches of cake batter next, and while those were cooking, I made this bowl of buttercream icing to help stick them together.

  These photos are pretty self explanatory.

  Next came the more complex part. I wanted to cover my cake in fondant, and rather than buy my own, I decided to make it. It really wasn't all that diffcult at first. You see here my redneck double-boiler dissolving some gelatine. I had to mix in glucose and glycerin and a few other things, and then eventually, when it cooled, the stuff turned into sticky dough. Then I kneaded in a bunch of powdered sugar- about eight cups worth. This kneading process took about 45 minutes, and KILLED my forearms. This was my least favorite part of the entire project.

  Finally, when the fondant was ready, I rolled it out as big as I could get it and iced the outside of the cake with the last of the buttercream as a bonding layer. Then, ever so carefully, I rolled the fondant onto my rolling pin and back out over the cake. A mistake here would have been disasterous. Luckily, I got it on there first try, smoothed it out and trimmed it.

  To finish up the bottom, I rolled out some more fondant and cut a ribbon shape into it with a roller.
  Then, I made up a batch of royal icing (stiffer, for gluing) glued the ribbon around the base, and then set about attaching my flowers and leaves. It was like putting together a puzzle I had never seen. Again, I was lucky and didn't make any mistakes or drips or anything. Then, I was done.

  It was fun, but like I said, I'm in no hurry to do it again. Now I just have to find somebody to help me eat this!


  1. B-Minus, you have outdone yourself! It turned out amazing! Wish I could help you eat it


  2. Dude! This is awesome! Here I was, proud that I made Olive Topinade... Wow. I suck.

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