Monday, July 6, 2009

Definitely not called FUN-dant

Baking and decorating has definitely been a learning process for me. more like a learning JOURNEY, truth be told.... a long, long endless journey.

I say that not because I'm not enjoying myself... but more because no matter what I do, I'm finding ways to improve myself, either in skill, recipe/tools, or process. That's a good thing.

frustrating at times, but ultimately good.

A long time ago, I experimented with fondant. I bought the wilton pre-made kind, and I used it to cover my daughter's butterfly shaped cake for her 2nd birthday. It was fairly easy to work with, but bleh. the taste was GROSS. chewy. and bland.

As I took a bite into the cake i had worked so hard on, I immediately felt disappointed that all of my efforts got covered up by a flavorless chew-toy.

Long story short.. that experience has prevented me from really experimenting with fancy-looking cakes because again... I refuse to compromise the taste of a cake. Cake should be EATEN. otherwise.. might as well make a playdoh centerpiece and stick candles in it, knowwhaddahmean?

So I did some asking around for better tasting fondants. I got a few recipes, and decided to go ahead and try this marshmallow fondant to cover my 4 layer white cake that I had filled with a home-made strawberry buttercream.

I'm guessing that I made the fondant a little too dry, because I had a considerable number of cracks.

and ripples.


(I made a larger one and a smaller cake, thinking I could keep the small cake for cutting and picture taking, and donate the larger cake to the bake sale... but since THAT didn't happen.. I kept the larger cake.)

At any rate... This marshmallow fondant certainly tasted better than the store-bought kind. and with a little bit of piping and well placed roses... you could almost say the cakes look nice.

of course.. the proper camera angle does wonders. cause this picture is pretty unforgiving of the cracks and ripples.

Again. learning process. I have a few other recipes I can try, and I sincerely think that the more I work with fondant, the better I will get.

For now, however... I'm going to stick to a well placed camera, and some pretty gum paste flowers to distract the eye.

of course... making a great tasting cake under all of those cracks can certainly help sway any critics from being TOO harsh.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Hilariously not funny

So.. if you follow me on twitter or facebook, you'll know that I was busy this past week making cakes for this weekend's bake sale at church.

imagine the HILARITY that ensued when I took the bounty below to church and realized the bake sale is being held NEXT weekend, on account of the holiday weekend.


the good news is that our neighbors got a share of cake pops and cakes, and our dinner guests will get obscenely large pieces of cake tomorrow.

yes. I am officially a Yankee Doodle Dumbass.

Happy Independence Day, gang!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Really Rosie

Last week I tried my hand at making gum paste roses.

I figured it was time to start pushing my personal envelope in the decorating arena. I mean.. I'm doing well in regards to cookies... but my cakes. *sigh* my cakes need WORK.

So.. instead of diving right in, I decided to see if I could master just one little aspect of cake decorating... decorative roses.

I made my own gum paste... which wasn't that hard to do. but like my challenge with Elmo... I clearly needed a LOT more red at this point.

after I had a decent shade to work with... it was all about making little balls, flattening them out, then wrapping them around each other.

I got better with each one I did... or at least got faster.

I also decided to make just a few roses of a yellow shade.... that I ended up using on a chocolate cake.

The thing I think I like most about these roses is that they can be made well in advance of when you actually NEED them. Considering most of my baking and decorating has to happen in the small windows that I am not actively parenting the kids (which.. by the way, during summer is like ALWAYS) I appreciate the whole "set it and forget it" mentality with gum paste.

I still dislike that gum paste has no real flavor, and essentially will break you teeth if you try to eat it... but hey. they look nice. And every rose has a thorn, right? it's only fitting that gum paste roses have a snag factor, too.
stay tuned for my post about the cakes!