Daily Archives: September 1, 2008

Adventures in Baking

For those of you who don’t know, I have issues with food.  Not only do I have issues with food, but I am not a very domestic female.  However, for people whom I love, I will venture into the kitchen occasionally.  🙂

This latest foray is to bake a cake for our pastor at St. Anastasia, Fr. JJ.  His birthday was actually last week, but he asked that I delay a week, so that he would have the cake when he was entertaining his parents for the Labor Day holiday.

So, being me, I avoided any planning of the cake until the last minute.  I knew he wanted a chocolate cake with white frosting, but I hadn’t looked up any recipes until the 9th hour.  Armed with my trusted web browser, I Googled it (as any wise cooking-impaired person would do), and found this recipe at All Recipes.  For the frosting, I found this one, at the same site.

I was pretty excited, because although I do not have a very well stocked pantry, I did happen to have all the ingredients for both recipes on hand.  That was amazing.  The only thing was that I didn’t have the required 3 9″ baking pans.  So, (I *did* say this was a last minute thing, right?) I headed to Meijer’s at 11:45 pm Saturday night for the proper dishes.  While I was there, I picked up some white fondant (because it looked amusing and I’ve never worked with fondant before), and some cake decorating thingys (what is it?  colored frosting?).

The cake portion went very well, and I was pleased with their outcome.  While they were cooling, I decided that since it was already 1 am on Sunday, and my race day had begun (more on that later, maybe), that I would start my 10K now (since I only had to log it electronically with my nifty little Nike+ shoes, I could race any time of the day).  So, I ran my 10K and got back home at about 3 am (yes, yes, I know…my time sucked).

I decided then to head to bed, since Fr. JJ had the 10:15 am Mass.  I got up early (well, okay about 8 am) and started making the frosting.  I don’t know if it’s something about the recipe, or something about my execution of it, but I couldn’t seem to get all the little bits from the milk-and-flour mixture to get smooth, so there were little bumpies in the frosting.  Maybe next time, I’ll whisk the flour into the milk before I start the burner; or put the mixture into the rest of it before it cools, since the cooling made a kind of hard crust on the top; or maybe I’ll put the whole thing into the blender after I’m done with the mixer.  I’m not sure, but there has to be a solution.

So, now I have frosting and 3 cakes.  And while I did buy an additional cake-carrier while I was at the store, I realized that it still would only allow me to carry 2 cakes — I couldn’t squeeze a third, not even onto the larger carrier.  Hmmm….  What to do?

Well, I took the one cake and frosted it as I was going to, and stuck it on the smaller carrier.  Done.  Excellent.  Then, I had a thought.  (Yes, be scared….  It’s okay.)  Why not try to make a layered cake?  So, I put one cake down, slathered it with the remaining frosting, then put the remaining cake on top.  Like this:

World's Largest Oreo -- DSCN3821

Then, a horrible thought occurred to me:
“I’ve just made the world’s largest Oreo!”

And, you should know, I’m scared of Oreos.  Especially of marshmallow fluff, but Oreos are terrifying themselves.

And this sucker was huge!  See:

Really Big Oreo -- DSCN3823

So, I decided to hide its Oreoness with the fondant.  The fondant was…interesting.  Doesn’t taste like anything, really, but it does cover the cake well.  Next, I tried to “decorate” the cake.  Let’s just say that I’m not going to quit my day job.  So, I added a little disclaimer, right on the cake itself.  In blue.  At the bottom.  And the final product turned out like this:

Fr. JJ's Birthday Cake -- DSCN3826

I am so glad that Fr. JJ is such a kind man, since he seemed to be happy for them, even though they were not the most elegant things in existence.  🙂

Ah, well.  It was a labor of love, and not a display of skill.  🙂