Monday, February 28, 2005

Sugar highs

I think it's been established that I like to cook, and since I also enjoy being an artist, one of my favorite ways to combine these two things is with dessert. Recently Carrie over at Knit-Whit posted a picture of the Valentine's day cookie gifts I made for our chick posse, and I've been known to create similar cookies as the season and holiday dictates. Carrie insisted I give her a lesson and we've scheduled some time in my kitchen classroom so I can teach her my secrets with Easter cookies.
A couple of years ago I decided I wanted to play around with cake decorating, mostly because I had seen some outrageous cakes (for outrageous prices) online and on TV and I was inspired to try a new medium that I felt had a lot of creative possibilities. Conveniently enough, around the same time, one of my relatives was also being subjected to a suprise 30th birthday and I was put in charge of the table decorations. I needed to come up with something inexpensive since there were going to be 10+ tables and the budget was tight, but I also wanted something really cool to make the event special for my lovely cousin. What I ended up doing was a series of minature cakes that looked great as centerpieces and would be recyclable as dessert later in the evening. It was a huge hit. The cakes were a whimsical conversation starter and everyone loved them, including the guest of honor. Many people couldn't believe they were cake and they were even more suprised when it was discovered they tasted good too. In total I think I baked and decorated fourteen trial-size masterpieces over the course of two weeks. (Good thing I have a spare freezer.) The time investment was a little crazy but I had a great time doing it, I learned a lot and I got to give a fun, creative gift that made someone happy. Here's some shots of a few of my favorites:
The Orange and Green Ribbon cake

The Horizontal Stripe cake

The Garden with White Picket Fence cake

The White Pearlesecent Star cake

The Present cake (complete with edible tag)


After fourteen cakes I was practically a pro and since then I've found a few other excuses to create edible art...more pictures tomorrow! I'm really looking forward to my new kitchen and having a commercial-size convection oven so I can expand my capabilities.

Comments:
Hi, I found you via KnitWhit (though I call her Tooth Carrie). Those cakes are GORGEOUS! What flavors were they? And I am guessing you used fondant? I have always wanted to try working with that but haven't gotten around to it yet. And now I think I might have to go make some molasses cookies...
--Mariko/supereggplant.com
 
Thanks! I used two different kinds of cake. One was a fudgy chocolate cake I recipe that I consider my faithful standby in the chocolate cake genre. The other was an orange buttermilk white cake recipe that I tweaked a little and substuited Amaretto for orange juice in a few batches. I also soaked the layers with simple syrup in matching flavors. Both cake recipes produce a rather dense and finely textured cake which I think is necessary to stand up to the weight of the fondant. Obviously you could also flavor the underlayer of buttercream with whatever you want...
Do give fondant a try, (post some pics!) and let me know if you need any advice...it's messy and time gobbling but super fun.
P.S. I read your blog too via food porn :)
 
These cakes are amazing!!!!
 
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