Misadventures…Part III: The Sheet Cake

The final installment of a lengthy cake decorating adventure……

For those of you just joining my baking banter, you might want to read about my Thursday/Friday and then my Saturday before you continue reading this note.

While having baked the large Lenten Chocolate Cake (i.e. no eggs, no milk) on Friday, I still had not decorated it. After saying good-bye to my friends, I made a quick midnight run to the grocery store for some more powdered sugar, and then headed home. Mind you, I had just finished a “day trip” to Nashville, TN. Oh, I also was to open The Bakehouse at 6 AM Sunday morning.

My blank canvas for the evening:

So, in the next 5 ½ hours, I proceeded to level the cake, switch its cake board, bake an angel food cake, make about 12 cups of Wilton Trans-fat Free icing, transfer the guitar outline to the cake, color all the icing colors making sure they are of correct consistency, fill in the guitar with stars, pipe a lower and upper border, and write “Many Years, Fr. Peter.”


Let me give you a quick run down on icing and piping. Decorator’s icing typically has three consistencies. “Stiff” is needed for upright decorations, of which I had none, so I didn’t need to worry. Thank goodness; my arms were still tired from the cupcake stars. “Medium” is needed for borders and pretty much anything that needs to maintain a shape but is less than 1/4″ off the surface. “Thin” is used for the surface icing of the cake. To put this in perspective for this cake: I made A LOT of thin icing and battled with the medium tints for several hours. I also don’t own a plethora of pastry tips, so there was some frustration in cleaning tiny openings at 2:30 AM so I could switch colors.

I probably could have not been so detailed, but the entire parish was going to see this cake. And it was for my priest – which is why there was also an angel food cake. I was told by Kh. Kristina (my priest’s wife) that his absolute favorite cake was angel food. So there was a cake for the masses and the “favorite” cake.

Lessons learned:

  1. Get tinting bowls. Rippled drinking glasses are really inconvenient for tinting icing.
  2. When needing a dark color, remember that baking cocoa is your best friend. That way you don’t have to keep adding tint and pray it gets dark enough when you need a mahogany color.
  3. There is no shame in buying pre-tinted icing (even if it means those nasty trans-fats.).
  4. Turn large cakes half-way through baking so they have a more even top.
  5. Go ahead and risk cake spillage in the oven rather than not having enough cake batter in the pan.

About 5:20 AM, I finished the cake and decided that taking a chance with being late to work would behoove me and my fellow workers more than being on time or early and completely disheveled.

I was close to on-time, though my pony-tail was completely wet.

I also caught myself falling asleep standing up at the counter. It is a miracle that I got everything counted and ready for the next manager.

All three of us – me, the angel food cake and the chocolate cake – made it safely to church. I really don’t remember much of the service, except that during communion I realized it was my last Sunday as a Catechumen. I now wish I could have been more alert during that time to soak in all the significance of the past two years and what is to come in my spiritual walk.

I was doing fine during coffee hour, showing off pictures of the previous day, finishing up some conversations pertaining to the previous week, and chatting it up with my Godmother-to-be. About 5 minutes before choir practice ended, I felt as though my energy turned from 8 to 2 in the course of 30 seconds.

I made it home and returned some phone calls.

Crawled into bed at 2 PM. Woke up to a phone call from a voice student at 3. Saw the clock at midnight. Got up with my alarm at 4:30 the next morning so I could open The Bakehouse. I was a new person.

All in all, these were good days. I had exercised my culinary brain in my “one-butt” and somewhat-deficient kitchen and conquered. Next in line is the Pougas Baby Shower. Now if I can just figure out a business name and get some real training and experience, this baking career just might “pan” out.


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Misadventures…Part II: Nashville | tallrayofsunshine


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