Saturday, February 14, 2009

Ambition.

Sometimes, I have trouble recognizing my own limitations. Of course, this can lead to the occasional problem, but it is probably also responsible for most of the successes I've had in my life up to this point (as few as they may be). Rather than categorizing this as a flaw, I like to chalk it up to pure ambition. For instance, after knitting a couple of narrow garter stitch strips, I embarked on my first knitting project of a baby hat knit in the round on DPNs. Of course, my second project was a pair of socks. Blog people were doing it, so why couldn't I (with my two weeks of knitting experience)? I still wear the socks.

When I saw Bakerella's Valentine's Day Gift Box of Cake, I was immediately and completely smitten. Impressed. Gobsmacked. It didn't even occur to me that I should try it. But then last weekend, I re-read her post and decided that I should (as Nike used to say) just do it. What was the worse that would happen? I might end up with something ugly, misshaped, but it would likely still be edible probably tasty. But frankly, Bakerella gave such excellent instructions and wonderful photos that I really felt like even a mere novice (that's me!) could do it.

Accruing all of the supplies was no small task, and my lack of planning meant that it was a more expensive task than it should have been. But once I get a project on my mind nothing can stop me.

It took me almost the entire week (and a mountain of dishes). I considered putting a picture of the cake up and pretending that it was effortless. Sort of like, "Hey look what I whipped up last night between dinner and bed." But the reality is that this took a whole lot of hours to pull off (as imperfect as it still is).

Monday: Stop at Hobby Lobby, Michaels, the grocery store, and online retailers to assemble all of the ingredients.

Tuesday:
Step 1. Bake chocolate cake for cakey candies. Note that this probably wasn't necessary, but I wanted to have extra "candies."
1 Devil's Food Cake

Wednesday:
Step 2: Crumble Cake.
2 Cake Crumbs

Step 3: Mix cake crumbs with frosting.
3 Stir in Frosting

Step 4: Mold the "candies". We made balls, squares, and hearts. The hearts were shaped using a cheap, flexible ice cube tray from Hobby Lobby. It worked very well (though a cookie cutter would have done the same trick). Such an ice cube tray won't make it through the dish washer; just ask Rykert.
4 Molding Cake

5 Molded Cake

Step 5: Bake heart shaped, red velvet cake.
8 Mixing Red Velvet

9 Heart Shaped Cake

Thursday:
Step 6: Roll fondant and cover cake. This took all of my concentration so no pictures.
7 Red Velvet Cake and Fondant

Step 7: Dip candies. Decorate candies. Assemble cake.
6 Dip and Decorate

And the result...
10 Finished 02

10 Finished 08

This was my first time working with fondant. And... it wasn't as terribly difficult as I thought it would be. I should say, it wasn't terribly difficult to achieve rather mediocre results. It clearly takes lots of skill and experience to make the fondant it look wedding cake flawless. But it was fun, and I definitely want to keep honing my skills. That's to say, for my first time it doesn't look terrible. Though it is drying and cracking a bit. (And I've always hated the taste of fondant, though I love the look.)

I have to thank Rykert for his help. I had a lot of balls and candies to dip (one 9x 13 chocolate and a round red velvet cake make a lot of candies.) He was a trooper, and decorated his own to take to work.

All of that, and I'm not even a big fan of Valentine's Day. It's just always felt completely contrived.

4 comment(s). Tell me what you think!:

Knittripps said...

Wow. Ambitious indeed.

I am very impressed!

AndreaLea said...

You are awesome. That is the coolest use of cake ever, I think.

Debbie said...

Wow!

Sara said...

Impressive! It looks delicious.

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