Sunday, January 3, 2010

Desperate Horsewife Bakes a Cake

Warning. Graphic photos to follow. This blog post may not be suitable for all audiences. If you are easily offended by poor kitchen skills, this blog post is not for you.

You still here? Well, don't say I didn't warn you!

Today is Darling's birthday. Sweet Sixteen!

Oh, okay, sure. Get it out of the way. Sing the little song.

Alrighty then. Down to business. Today on Sunday Stills, the subject is Food. Perfect! I eat food. Often what I create in the kitchen does not resemble it. Still, I was bound and determined to combine this photo assignment with Darling's birthday party. And so a plan was hatched to bake a cake. Not just any cake. Darling and I have been watching Ace Of Cakes on the food network, and we were inspired! And inspiration, my friends, can lead to terrible things...


First, we found a recipe for making your own fondant. Sounded simple enough, and tasty, too! Melt some marshmallows, mix in powdered sugar, knead like bread, and there you have it. Fondant good enough to eat!

The recipe said you could make a batch of fondant in about 8 minutes. They lied. I made four batches, with four colors, and by recipe standards I ought to have been done well within the hour. It took me all day.

We began by melting the marshmallows along with a touch of water in a double boiler. Note to all you non-kitchen folks; double boilers don't allow the top pot to touch the water in the bottom pot. I thought the water was supposed to meet up with the bottom of the top pot, but was corrected by my know it all 23 year old son. So I dumped water out of the bottom pot and began melting marshmallows.


Once the marshmallows were a smooth consistency, I began adding powdered sugar to make it more dough like while they were still in the pan. The instructions left that little part out, so I'll save you the trouble of wondering, just in case you decide to make your own and attempt to pour your marshmallows out of the pan onto the counter and get them stuck to anything and everything within 10' of your kitchen. Like I did. Which could be why I needed to make another batch.


You're also going to want to grease up your counter before plunking your sticky, gooey mixture down onto it. Trust me. This stuff could be with you forever if you don't follow this step.


Once you've got the powdered sugar kneaded in successfully, you'll want to roll it into a ball, slather it with more shortening, and wrap it up some plastic wrap until you're ready to use it. They say it's best if refrigerated, but I'm not so sure about that. Maybe chilled for a bit, but if you leave it in overnight it's as hard as a rock and difficult to roll out the next day. Did I say difficult? Make that impossible. Which could be why I needed to make another batch. Again.


Darling seems a bit skeptical.

Of course, once the fondant was finished, we needed to have something to put it on, so between batches of melted marshmallows and kneading, I baked a cake. Or two. We started with a nice boxed mix and because I didn't want to sit around waiting for two cakes to bake and then creating a layer, I doubled the recipe and made a deep cake. Note to self: Fat cakes do not bake well in the center and the outside may scorch if you're not careful.


I invested in a springform pan yesterday before doing any baking. That made life MUCH simpler. Just flick the little latch and the outside of the pan and it opens up and slips right off that cake. What the heck have I been doing all these years without a springform pan?

As previously mentioned, I cannot be normal and let it go at one fat cake covered in marshmallow fondant. Darling had seen a yellow submarine cake and for some strange reason, I felt compelled to try sculpting. Three little words that fit me:





I ask you, does this even look remotely like a submarine? No. No, it does not. It looks like a football with birth defects. But this is what my two hands created, so Darling was smiling. Or grimacing. Sometimes its difficult to tell the difference.


We began layering fondant over the round base, and Darling made a little blue bow. The bottom portion of the cake was beginning to take on an odd Cinderella look to it. Which, if you've known Darling for any amount of time, you'd know this was appropriate. She was always a princess for Halloween, and Cinderella was her favorite.


It did, however, seem a bit odd to combine this sweet, pink and blue cake with the Beatle's yellow submarine. Or even a deformed yellow football. But that's what we did. And despite it's lopsided periscopes and candied decorations slipping off the side, it really was time well spent. We learned how to make fondant, and we learned to keep me away from cakes and serrated knives in the kitchen.


We've got plenty of fondant left over, by the way, if anyone wants to make a pink, blue, white and yellow cake!


froglander said...

Looks like you had fun! And Happy Birthday to Darling!

Shirley said...

Happy Birthday Darling! What a creative cake! At least you got to spend quality mother-daughter time, which is worth waaaay more than anything!

cdncowgirl said...

ah Tracey, you are TOO funny! I haven't watched Ace of Cakes but Pie loves Cake Boss so I've seen that. I'm in awe of that skill but I know I do not possess it! lol

But at least you care enough to try, and it was a pretty good result for a first time!

Happy Birthday to Darling!!

Jet Parrett said...

I think your fondant looks fabulous!! The process looked like a ton of fun ... or an adventure...hopefully a bit of both! Happy Birthday, in deed!!

Dusty Devoe said...

Looks beautiful to me! Happy Birthday to Darling!

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

ROFLMBO!!! Oh my goodness, this had me rolling with laughter. Not something esaily done with blog post, I promise you.

It's just the two of your remind me so much of my attempts at trying new recipes. What a fiasco they often turn out to be! lol!

But you turned a fiasco into a rather ute, if not funny looking submarine cake. Those periscopes though just did me in. LOL!

But the time spent with your special daughter....PRICELESS!


Pony Girl said...

Oh this is such a funny post! I admire your "stick with it" attitude on this one. Don't you love winter break and all the free time it offers up? Now Darling can put this on her resume! ;)

flowerweaver said...

Yes, this post is so funny it brought tears to my eyes! I don't even know what fondant is, but it does look like it makes for a good time in the kitchen! You get a gold star for effort! Happy Birthday Darling!

wingshadowranch said...

Very pretty cake Tracey!! You really put some time into that one! Happy Birthday to the Darling Dear, and plz save me a piece, lol!!

PaintCrazy said...

I wasn't sure it was possible but I think maybe you are my true kitchen-sister! I love it! My mom says it's a genetic defect that she is definitely not responsible for and blames my dad. He just grunts.

You get an A for effort on the cake and an A+ for the post because it had me laughing so hard.

And Darling gets a big hug for her birthday! I've always been amazed at how much she seems like my Equestrian Girl and now it makes sense - they are both little Capricorns. Happy 16 Darling!

Lori Skoog said...

Tracey. This is amazing blog! I loved your food entry today...and by the way, it really turned into something after all your warnings! What a spectacular job you did. And your writing is great too! I'll be back. I laughed out loud...

Mrs Mom said...

Happy Birthday Darling!!!!

Tracey, you rock. Totally!! This was a great post, and the cake looks adorable!! Nice job Momma ;)

Horses Are Our Lives said...

Oh, I was laughing, too! Reminder to self: never attempt fondant. Your cakes turned out beautiful! Happy Birthday!

thecrazysheeplady said...

This is CLASSIC!!!!! I love it :-D

Lea and her Mustangs said...

Oh Tracey, you made me laugh until I thought I would wet my pants. I start all over when I think of it. You had fun with your daughter and that was important too. Happy birthday Katie. 16. Oh my goodnes.. Have a grandaughter who turned 16 last week. Does not seem possible.

Tracey said...

Well, if my pain created laughter, then I suppose it was worth it!

Now listen, y'all should try the fondant. It was simple, really, once you figured out the little tricks that are probably obvious to all but us non-cooks. A package of marshmallows over heat with a tablespoon of water. Add a few drops of food color if you'd like. Once melted and smooth, stir in just enough powdered sugar to make it easy to move from the pot to the counter. And it tastes like marshmallows (and sugar); much more palatable than the commercial version =D

Blackfeatherfarm said...

Too funny! Thanks for the warning, my house shall remain fondant-less.

Cousin B said...

Oh that's just too funny!...First, Happy Birthday Darling! And I think you did a fantastic job, especially for a first time with fondant! I do alot of fondant cakes, and it does get easier with practice!

Kate said...

I'm impressed! It looks good to me, and it was homemade, which means it's probably pretty tasty!

Ed said...

Might be messy but the end result looks great!! :-)

jane augenstein said...

Oh, Happy Birthday Darling!!!! What a cake!!! I am sure that no one else has ever had one so special!
Great post, Tracey....LOL