Thursday, July 15, 2010

Cake Decorating Class #2

Here is a tip from me to you:

Cake decorating class may SEEM like a fun idea, but it might not be a bad thing to pass up if you are 8 mos pregnant.

I had a pretty decent night's sleep last night (with the assistance of some benedryl) so I can laugh today about the cake nightmares.

Last night was class #2. You may recall that we had to bake a cake, ice it and bring it to class. So..Tuesday night, I got out all of my ingredients to make sure they were brought up to room temperature, blasted the air conditioning (b/c our kitchen gets really hot with use of the oven) and set out to make a cake. I used a new recipe - the All Purpose Chocolate Cake from America's Test Kitchen's Family Cookbook. Our instructor gave us advance notice that class #3 would require 6 cupcakes so I was going to make those and freeze them as well.

I made a 9 in round cake and 18 cupcakes. The cake turned out great - I followed the tips from last week and did not have a dome on my cake or anything! I tested a cupcake and it was yummy. Score!

I was really tired from all of the baking so I thought, hey, I'll make the icing and ice my cake before class tomorrow night. BAD idea. BAD.

The icing recipe that is recommended to use requires the use of shortening. GROSS. I am SO much a butter girl. But butter will not get stiff enough so shortening it is. I got out of work late yesterday and race home to get going on the icing. I had exactly one hour to make the icing, ice the cake and get to class. I scooped out the shortening, combined it with the powdered sugar, vanilla and water and...wait. I forgot to get meringue powder. Well, we're going to do it without it.

The first batch of icing went on my cake. Of the Wilton 3 Keys to Successful Cake Decorating, icing consistency is the first key. If you don't get that right, it's all downhill. Yep. I didn't get it right. Rule #439 of icing is to NEVER TOUCH THE CAKE while icing. Broke this rule and my icing was not thin enough - hence cake crumbs are littered throughout the icing. I thinned it out a bit for the sides but it was looking rough.

Next you have to smooth the icing out so that it has no lines. One trick our instructor taught us was to use a piece of parchment paper to smooth out the icing. Well, I did NOT turn the AC up when i got home so my icing was melting. I SHOULD have put the iced cake in the fridge for a bit but I was in a rush so I slapped that parchment paper right on top of it...and proceeded to pull off half the icing.

ARGH!!!!!!!! (Did I mention I was sweating by this point?!)

Tossed the cake in the fridge and decided to try the OTHER trick - putting the spatula in hot water. That worked pretty well although it was by no means perfect.

Now that the cake was iced, I had to make more of the grease for the decorating part. In goes more shortening and powdered sugar. I highly recommend buying Dawn dishwashing detergent to wash your icing dishes - it cuts the grease!

Nate-O got home and asked if I was excited for class. I totally started crying. OVER STUPID CAKE! He was very nice and commented that he thought my cake looked pretty good. I responded, "Screw it! Our kids will not be getting homemade cakes. I am going to the f-ing bakery". {Oh the irrationality of a pregnant woman!}

I pulled it together to get to class on time. My friend Holly and her neighbor, Amber were already there and saved me a seat - so nice! We started class learning a variety of shapes. It turns out the second key to success is pressure control. I have none. Ok, that's a lie. Some shapes I'm pretty good at, just don't ask me to do a rosette or a shell.

After that, Holly loaned me her Wilton gel colors to dye my frosting for the cake decorating. I don't know WHAT I was thinking when I chose yellow and moss green. Everyone else had really pretty colors and mine was totally the grossest color combo ever. Amber mentioned that it was a "gender neutral cake". That made me laugh.

We had to make this cupcake cake because we were practicing gel transfers. Basically you buy this piping gel, dye it and trace a shape on parchment paper with the gel and turn the paper over onto your cake and you are left with the image. Thankfully Amber had the piping gel because I did not buy it. Once your image is on the cake, you have to fill it in with the icing. You can still see my piping gel outline on my cake. All in all it is an ok cake. I was pretty proud of my yellow flowers with green centers, but my cupcake just looks gross.

During class, I also got icing all over myself - shirt and pants (here's hoping Crisco comes out in the wash) and put a dent in Amber's cake. For REAL. She was totally nice about it though but I felt like everything I touched yesterday was a wreck!

And now the best part - I totally opened my big mouth a couple days ago and told Nate that I could supply the cake for my MIL's birthday celebration tonight. Hopefully no one is turned off by the moss green (aka moldy) cupcake decoration!

I have to admit typing this whole thing out did make me laugh a couple of times. Such a comedy of errors. Hopefully next week's cupcakes go a little smoother!

Update: You can see Holly's cake here to get an idea of the design.


BrookeK said...

would love to see pics of your creations! btw....if you have crisco grease on your clothes, Dawn works great as a laundry pre-treater!

BCK said...

I am so sorry, but I am laughing hysterically.