Adventures in the Cakehouse

Further adventures of cake decorating and how I left vocal performance pursuits. Ah, life – you’re fantastic!

At the end of class number 2, all I could say was: I’m tired!

Starting work at a local bakery restaurant (early shift = 5AM start time, by the way), getting promoted a week later and still finishing up my training took a lot out of me last week, not to mention getting sick with new allergies or a sinus cold (still not sure).

On Wednesday, I decided upon a Pumpkin Layer Cake. It was oh so yummy. Per a friend’s suggestion, I started thinking about ginger and was thankful I had fresh ginger on hand to grate 1-2 teaspoons into the batter. And due to some recipe experimenting with cupcakes, I had orange flavoring available and decided to add it in with the cake. What a flavor payoff! Topping it off with my orange flavored butter-cream icing, I had one mouthwatering “Intro to Autumn” treat.

I did experiment with the “no butter” butter cream icing. It really bothered me that I needed shortening in the icing. Thankfully, having Bloomingfoods at my disposal, I knew of a pressed palm oil shortening. While that much fat is scary, no matter what form, I feel better knowing it is of a healthier variety. I also didn’t use the Wilton Meringue powder, but rather chose a product called “Just Whites.” So far, I haven’t told anyone in the class about my rebellion.

It might just be my little secret.

Time flew on Friday and at 5:15, I still needed to make another batch of frosting, not to mention buy some shortening and powdered sugar plus find a picture that I could trace onto my cake. Sigh. Did I also fail to explain that I was still covered in coffee and salad dressing from the Bakehouse and that class starts at 6:30?? So, I dashed to and fro in Bloomington getting my needed supplies, making frosting, taking the quickest shower known to man and dashing out the door.

I hate feeling rushed, but life happens.

I arrived at class with my frosting yet to be colored and needing to put it in the pastry bags, only to find out that I left ALL my plastic bags and extra tips at home. The only ones I had were parchment, which sufficed, but were not the most convenient in this case. At least I don’t have to worry about cleaning them.

Class was better this time as we practiced stars, outlining, dots and lettering. We also learned how to trace over a picture using piping gel on parchment paper, then transferring the design to the cake to trace over it. Except for making my rose bases too skinny, frosting might be a good medium for me. There were a few times that I was hung up on some pressure, but overall, it was working out.

So here is my decorated cake:

Now for some specifics. I had to cover that cardboard base in foil. Even though I was told, “No matter what, ALWAYS put a border between the cake and cake board!”, there is no lower border because, frankly, my friends and I just wanted to eat the thing. The flower was traced, with the exception of the stem and leaves – I actually free-handed those. Hey, I’m impressed! And yes, each and every one of those fill-in stars was lovingly placed by my hand.

Before you begin thinking “It’s frosting, TRofS, how hard can it be?” I would like to ask you one question – have you ever caulked a large area?

I ask this not to be random, but because I have caulked a large area. Making one flower base with frosting reminded my hand instantly of helping my Grandpa prep my parents’ house for painting. After 3-4 hours of continuous caulking, it was no wonder that the lactic acid build up in my hand caused me tear-inducing pain for the next 48 hours. Medium and stiff consistency frosting is just as thick, if not more, than caulk. I guess I need some way to burn off all the calories from the sugar I’m breathing in constantly.

Next week we will learn how to make clowns, step two of the rose and a few other easy but nifty designs. I’m considering a chocolate cake with mint icing. Let me know if you are in need of dessert for say 10-14 people on Friday around 8:45 PM. I can’t bear to just throw something away that A) I know is tasty and B) I worked hard on its completion.

Week 3 and 4 are yet to go, then my real test…the Wedding Cupcake EXTRAVAGANZA!

Hopefully, I will still look this happy after the weekend is over:

P.S. A huge “thank you” to The Frau for taking the pictures.



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