Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The California Cake

Prepare yourself for an epic story about my most ambitious pastry project to date.

It starts with getting married. I went from only child to having a brother (in law)! This is all very exciting to me. Especially because he's great. I think I got all the good in-law karma.

He was considering moving, and I was just finishing the cake decorating class. So, as a bribe, I promised to bake him a California cake if he chose Los Angeles. Which, hopefully was not a real deciding factor because man, that's a lot of pressure!

While I was in St. Louis I was chatting with my mom about it, and she gave me her decorating tip kit. Seriously, there are tips beyond your wildest imagination. I can't even begin to describe the awesomeness so I'll just show you the picture.

Oh, the things I will do with these.

Of course, first we need a cake. I happened to have two red velvet mixes on hand, so that's what it was going to be. And what kind of frosting do you have with red velvet?

That's 12 ounces of cream cheese right there. And some sugar. On a side note, I do have an ingredient chute but the last time I used it to make frosting, it was like throwing powder into a fan.

Baked, split, and filled, it needed the shape. You know those state magnets they sell at the gas station gift shop? There was a time when I thought I'd collect all 50 states and put them on my refrigerator in geographical order when I grew up. And yes, I was aware they aren't to scale. But, that was the image I had in mind for this cake.

Obviously a template on an 8.5 x 11" sheet of paper isn't going to be the same size as a 9 x 13" cake. Then again, if you think you're going to be able to capture every little bay and point in a cake, then you sir, are a better cake cutter than I. But I'd say I did pretty well.

Unfortunately there is an issue with making a cake in the summer time. Frosting will melt, even when it's not very hot. Fully frosted, it was like the big one had finally hit and California was going to slide off into the ocean. So I outlined the top, which was a thinly veiled excuse to use another decorating tip. Plus it looks more like the magnet.

Did I mention the palm trees?

As if the cake itself wasn't a wild enough idea, I decided I would make palm trees. Out of frosting. This actually isn't such a crazy idea, since rose icing is actually slightly different in that it's stiffer, and dries out so the flower keeps its shape.

Yes, I know what those look like.

See? Fully assembled, they actually look a little bit like palm trees!

The problem is, I seemed to have blanked on the "make it the night before and let them dry out overnight so they're stiff" part. Instead I put them in the freezer to keep from melting. These are not interchangeable. So much so, that I was yelling at them in the car to stop melting. And I left the super ugly ones out on the counter in disgust. Which then hardened overnight, and would have made perfectly hardy little trees. Ugh.

To make up for the lack of non-melty palm trees, I put one in 2-D on the cake. This was probably not the best idea, if not poorly executed. Sorry about that.

I can't explain how not practicing writing with frosting has improved my penmanship (bagmanship?).

Oh, and it tasted pretty good too.

Welcome to California!

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