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Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Baking Vicissitudes

I really like to bake, at least the idea of baking. My desire to follow through seems inversely proportionate to the number of children I have. Nonetheless, I love the idea of being skilled enough to make something cute or pretty for a birthday party or shower, and I do believe that one can make very nice things without having much skill. And I, personally, love homemade things.

Around the holiday season I had the opportunity to practice some baking. One project was this rose cake from the blog I am Baker (I've said before that I'm fairly certain that the author of  this blog is a robot because as she's homeschooling several children she's able to create veritable cake universes- she's like the J.R.R  Tolkein of baked goods.)  I made this cake almost two years ago but I didn't have the right tip, so my roses were not as full and overall it wasn't as pretty ( in addition to the wrong tip, it also suffered some operator error.) But I tried again with the right tip (1M ) for a friend's baby shower with a better result:




This is a really easy and forgiving cake to make. I used this cake and icing recipe and followed I am Baker's instructions (the video is really helpful). Mine still didn't look as pretty as hers, but what can I say? I am only a human.The recipe seems to be a keeper. People said they loved it.

Following that success, I created a relative disaster that even my in laws would not eat, though they generally have undiscriminating culinary tastes. I was anxious to try my hand at cake balls. Cake balls! What will they think of next! (Probably an entire to-scale cake model of Middle Earth.) Anyways, I had some extra cake and icing from the rose cake. So I found some instructions on Pioneer Woman's blog and set out to make some oh-so-smooth, and delicious and perfectly round, of course, balls of cake.

You'll notice on Pioneer Woman's blog they make it look so easy. I believe they are in collusion with Martha Stewart. Pioneer Woman blithely says that the trade secret of cake balls is to, after you've drizzled the ball with candy coating, tap the spoon on the bowl to shake off excess icing and get a smooth look. "Tap the spoon on the bowl" I thought, "Well, I'm not the ace of cakes, but I think I can do that. Easy!"

Let me disabuse you of that notion: It takes a lot more than a spoon tap to get a smooth, round cake ball. Like, it might possibly take sorcery- of which I continue to maintain Martha is a practitioner. I don't really know what went wrong with mine. I used candy coating from both Hobby Lobby (I think it was Wilton brand) and H-E-B, but neither would melt into a smooth, drizzling consistency, though I followed the instructions exactly.

 I ended up with some cake blobs that were too sweet even for my in laws- people who eat icing straight out of the can! (I do the same thing, so I'm not judging.) I think all of the holiday sugar combined gave pause to even the most ravenous glucophiles (I just made that word up) among us. These might have been salvageable if I hadn't added so much frosting. I'm not one to waste food, but even I'll admit that discarding frosting does not carry the same pangs of conscience that accompanies the waste of more nutritious food. Yet, I went ahead and added all of my leftover icing to the cake balls anyways. Then I left the cake balls at my in laws for them to dispense with so I wouldn't have to throw food in the trashcan (it's debatable whether cake balls qualify as food...)


All that to say, I've decided not to open up a bakery. I'm going to keep my day job. Which is also my night job. And weekend job. And holiday job. There's no monetary compensation but there is the unlimited nibbling of baby thighs which is so much better than money!  


1 comment:

Tina @GottaRunNow said...

I saw your post on http://www.mommyrunfast.com. Inspirational!

Your cake is beautiful! It must have taken a week to frost! I took a Wilton cake decorating class years ago. You've made me want to decorate a cake, too!