Sunday, November 21, 2010

Paying My Dues

If you look at a cake, not as just a confection, but as a step along the path of cakery enlightenment, well then, a cake is a little journey unto itself. Nay, an epic battle for sweetness. Sometimes the battle is calm. Sometimes, the cake fights back. Today, I got burned.


See, I was trying to make a Christmas cake. I was gonna use some of my new knowledge from the ISAC demos. So I made this cake:

Cute, right? Embossed fondant, snowball border... cute. The plan was to pour some sugar Christmas lights and put them on there. Adorable! But... see, poured sugar is hot. Really hot. So there was this:

And I was stuck. I'm too chicken to try the sugar stuff again tonight. Not that I could do much anyway without my right thumb and index finger. My fingers hurt. So, piping on the cake was out... fondant work was out... what to do with the unfinished cake?

Of course! Dragees! I freehanded a snowflake out of silver dragees on the top. Thank you, Hallmark Channel, for the inspiration.

I gotta say, I'm proud of this save.

Christmas Cakespiration

I love me some Nicholas Lodge. That man has mad skill. Mad, I tell ya. He can make crazy sugar art look effortless. It's really cool to watch, and I got the chance to watch it again yesterday.

ISAC (Nicholas Lodge's school) was having their annual holiday open house and I went. I mean, it's a great deal... only $5 and you get a $5 credit in the store to use after the demonstrations. How could I say no?

The first demo was in the brand spankin' new classroom, Studio B. I love it. Everything at ISAC is perfectly decorated- even the bathrooms. But Studio B is probably my favorite room:

The colors! The perfect, perfect colors!

The accessories!

The Muppet cakes!

I managed to tear my eyes off the decor for a while to watch the delightful Kathy Scott do a demonstration on making Christmas lights out of sugar:

No, really, that's all sugar. I'm gonna try this later today. Wish me luck!

Next, I went to the Nicholas Lodge classroom to watch the man himself:

This classroom is green:

Even the Christmas tree matches:

Look what he made:

I don't know why these are sideways. Blogger is weird.

Look at this other stuff:

That is a great gingerbread house.

Now I'm all inspired to bake some Christmas. Happy Christmas, y'all!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Climb Every Mountain

You know those people who you love real real hard? One of mine is getting married and she's letting me make the groom's cake. The groom wants a German chocolate mountain cake to serve about 140.

Here's why I was nervous: You know that gooey coconut pecan stuff that goes on German chocolate cake? That stuff seems too slippery for a large, mountainous, stacked cake.

Once again, it was Mr. Cakeapotamus to the rescue. He built me another cake stand- this one was a manly round wooden base with a tall pvc pipe sticking up around which I could build the cake. Perfect.

So I baked and baked and baked. 30 eggs later, I had a bunch of cakes. I poked holes in the middles and stacked with with that gooey stuff in between each layer:

I let it sit for a while with heavy bags of sugar on top. That's how the cracks happened. But it was good because there was no settling or sinking after it was decorated.

Next came the waterfall:

That's just plain buttercream. I had an idea... what if I mixed green buttercream with the coconut goo and used it to cover the rest of the cake? Let's find out:

Cool. Very rugged and mountainous.

What if I make some green royal icing, skewer a marshmallow, and pipe the icing onto the marshmallow to make trees?

Hmmm... let's airbrush this thing and add a little more green foliage:
Some marbled fondant rocks and we're done:

Now I just have to get the thing to Birmingham...