Sunday, January 18, 2009

Adventures in Cake Decorating part 1

Many of you know I am crafty, and I am a bit neurotic about my crafts. I love them. Lots of them. I am always trying a new one and while it may not stay around long or permanently there will always be SOME craft in my life.

I have always wanted to learn how to decorate cakes. I tried once, WAY back in 1999 or so, and it was so ugly that I actually wrote on it "The Ugly Cake" and the boyfriend at the time and I never even cut into it. It sat in the fridge for a week until I finally got tired of looking it in all its pathetic-ness and threw it away. It was that ugly.

I never tried again. Don't get me wrong, it wasn't out of fear or anything. I guess it just never really came up again. I don't really like cake. Its a dirty little secret of mine. I prefer cookies. And those I can decorate! I love to decorate them in fact. But not that I have a toddler who will have more birthdays I figured now was the time to revisit cake decorating and take the class.

It is a Wilton class at Joann's Fabrics and a lot of fun so far. Last weeks first class we basically sat and watched our instructor demo some techniques.

This week, we had to bring a cake. We had our choice of an 8 inch round cake that would end up with a rainbow on it (dumb) or a character cake from Wilton of coarse. I chose neither. I know I know. That's what my husband said but I refuse to buy more pans that take up space when Demarle is so lovely and FOLDS! So I used this Imagine mold from Demarle. The 2008 catalog had some photos of things you could do with the mold so I chose the frog.

So I set about, and made my cake on Thursday evening because I had to work Friday and Grayson's mini party was on Saturday. (Mini because it was only two of his little friends) Then this morning I leveled and put the base layer of frosting on my frog. I only had one color of green which I didn't really like so I went to class early and picked up a darker green and mixed up my frosting colors before class.

Class was spent learning different ways to decorate like the star and some writing techniques as well as the textures of our frosting. By the end we had partially decorated the cake for this class. I had most of my green "stars" piped onto my froggies body.

I had wondered right up until I got home how I would decorate its face and such but had always heard about Fondant. Someone brought it up again in class and it piqued my interest once again. So I came home and looked up recipes online to see if it is even something I could do. Turns out there is this fabulous recipe using Marshmallows, water, powdered sugar and Crisco.

I pulled all of these things out of my pantry and started making this recipe. In it Peggy mentions you really have to grease your hands to knead this "dough". I did. I really thought I was properly greased.

I wasn't.

I stuck my hands in and started mooshing. That is about the time I figured out I have a sensory issue with gooey textures being in between my fingers. I started feeling claustrophobic and dizzy all the while determined to make this damn fondant. So I kept kneading, and feeling a little ill. I SO wish I had been able to sprout that third arm to take the photo of my hands but since they were buisy and hubby was snoring quietly on the couch there was noone to take a photo. But sufice it to say, I had NOT greased enough.

Lesson learned. I had most of the mixture stuck to me.

Then BRILLIANT me. I get the idea that there HAD TO BE A BETTER WAY. Famous last words right? So I get all cleaned up (I swear that took 15 minutes to get all the crud off my hands) and I load all my ingredients into my stand mixer. My good ol' friend who is over worked and underpaid. And for this abuse, she spit on me.

Back to the good ol Roulpat. This was getting ridiculous. right as I start to get frustrated and almost about to give up, I decide to try again. And there you have it. Isn't it gorgeous?

Then I colored it.

Then I rolled it out and cut out various shapes for its arms, legs, eyes and mouth. All went pretty well. (If you try this make sure you use gloves for the coloring portion, otherwise your hands will be lovely colors for weeks!) I made two sets because supposedly you aren't supposed to put fondant in the fridge on the cake but I have a milk based pudding filling in my cake so it has to go in the fridge. If the fondant goes haywire I will have backup.

And finally all the parts are on and cute! Voila! Here is my first cake.
I must say I am very proud of this accomplishment. I feel like I conquered something I have had on my to do list for many years. I feel even more accomplished that the fondant worked out, its not even taught in this class! They have a whole class set devoted to it.

And the best part is its not even UGLY. Not even a little bit.


Heidi said...

You should get extra credit in your class! Your cake looks way cute! And I love how you refer to your KA as your friend. Mine is my best kitchen friend, too. However, I got a enamel cast iron pot with lid for Christmas and she is a close second just because she is pretty!

Geneva said...

I'm with ya on the Kitchen Aid mixer. I have no idea what I'd do in life without mine. Your cake is darling - I'm so proud of you for trying fondant! I've had that marshmallow recipe bookmarked on my computer forever, but I've been too chicken to try it yet :) Now, you've given me courage!!

Corie said...

Your hired!

1snappyfamily said...

That's awesome! I, too, have been very interested in getting into cake decorating.....largely because one of my favorite shows- "Ace of Cakes" on the Food Network. And, as you know, I don't really care for eating cake, either. But seeing yours has gotten me re-inspired to try it out! Looks beautiful!

vrudek said...

that looks great!

Anonymous said...

aw, so MIL loves frogs.

I had never heard of that cookware...interesting!

You done good!

eireann said...

i love your cake!! it is beautiful and precious and i bet g got a huge kick out of it too.

i agree on the mixer. i adore mine. i also used to adore my KA food processor which i never thought i would use as much as i do. *used to* because it quit working on me this weekend and i don't know why.

i am very inspired to take that joann's class now.

Its just me said...

Im inspired and have gained some courage...I am going to make a lego cake for Brandons birthday. Not so detailed but hopefully not too hard..let ya know what happens