Monday, June 1, 2009

cake decorating 101

i'm showing the finished product first because the journey to here from there started out kinda ugly ...... Auntia has been taking JAF's Wilton method cake decorating classes for the past month ... the first night consisted of the students watching the instructor decorate a cake with all the magic and potions that someone who decorates cakes for a living has in her bag of tricks ... which is a lot of magic ... all the students were so excited, thinking that in four short weeks they, too, would be decorating perfect cakes covered with roses and garlands, shells and scrolls, sweet peas and vines ... during the next two classes everyone practiced squishing out frosting onto plastic-covered designs ... and then they were armed with a recipe for butter cream frosting that they were to bring (already tinted) to the next class, along with a real cake...
...this was the cake that Auntia started out with ...... she wanted to decorate a carrot cake with cream cheese frosting ...... i don't know about anyone else, but when i need a better-than-good-enough cake, i don't wait until five hours before the deadline to try out a recipe that i have never used before, using techniques that are a mystery, and expect perfection ... but i am not my daughter ... she grated the carrots, beat the batter, poured the gloppy mixture into two pans, and placed them in the oven for the required amount of time ... the bottom half of each cake was raw (Chef Gordon Ramsey would say it's raw!!! you'll f#@&ing kill someone!!! ... seriously ... who would want to work for someone who has a mouth as ugly as his?) and wouldn't come out of the pans ... there was no way she could take them to her class ... she was incredibly frustrated and was running out of time ... so i dug out a spice cake mix and baked it for her (enabler) ... she had to level the layers when she arrived at class ... and then glue them together with frosting ... Auntia said they used meringue powder and parchment paper to give the appearance of fondant (blech - i think fondant tastes like drywall putty smells)...
... her instructor took some action shots when she found out that we have blogs ... this is Auntia squishing centers into her peach-colored star flowers......and this is Auntia admiring her handiwork ... the lady in the background made a clown on the top of her cake - it was scary ... her daughter made a cake covered with pink and purple star flowers and a garland around the edges ... two sisters made pink ribbons on their cakes (for their mother, who is recovering from a mastectomy) ... i oohed and aahed at every one's masterpieces when i arrived (except the clown - i stayed away from that one) and then was assigned to carrying that slippery, heavy cake out to the car...
...seriously heavy ... the recipe for the frosting called for three cups of fat (two cups of Crisco and one half cup each of butter and cream cheese) and four pounds (yes, pounds) of powdered sugar ... and she used all but a cup or two...

...that's a lot of frosting ...... i love frosting (fat and sugar - what's not to love? when i was a kid i would mix Crisco with sugar and eat it - my mother caught me one day and told me that i'd get worms if i didn't stop ... so i stopped getting caught) ...... but i did not love the frosting on Auntia's cake ... and neither did she ... it was pretty, but it tasted like ... goo... we scraped off the frosting and ate the cake ... i think i have cleaned up all of the fly away frosting that escaped the beaters when she was mixing it - there were little bits of hardened frosting all over the kitchen ...... and i still want to know when she's gonna make a rose


  1. Oh, you are so funny. Hooray for Auntia for her efforts and you for enabling... Your reward for that is cleaning all the spatters around the kitchen. We always used to make 7 Minute icing when my mom left. We also used to make divinity and gobble up spoonfuls at a time. What a vision of you scraping off the icing and eating the cake! Funny, funny!

  2. I'm with you on the fondant. Why? Who thought it up and why ruin a perfectly good cake with it? Your imitation of Chef Gordon Ramsey cracked me up--I can just hear him saying it! LOL!

  3. I'm LMAO! What a wonderful account.... and I do not like fondant, either. It reminds of the cake show where they make those complicated cakes--yeah, it's and exact replica of the Empire State Building but it looks like it would taste disgusting. Give me cake mix cupcakes and store bought frosting and I'm happy.

  4. Mom you didn't mention that we are still cleaning up little bits of shredded carrots. I am just happy that I am no longer the maker of the worlds ugliest cakes any more. Mission accomplished.

  5. amazing cake! baking DD is trying too overhere. She decorates cupcakes mostly and I eat them. Buttercream, frosting...ahhh