Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Cake Boss I Ain't!

My son, my first born child, turned fourteen this past Friday. I was going to dazzle him with a cake that had a Star Wars theme, but I wasn't sure exactly what I could make him. And after watching way too many episodes of Cake Boss, let's just say I got a little overly eager.

Everything had to be homemade- not only is it cheaper, but a lot more tasty. I also had to make the right cake shape for my idea, and to make it look just right, I was also going to be rolling some fondant. So I broke out my cookbooks for the cake and frosting, and looked to the internet for the fondant- because that just had to be homemade too.

I chose a Paula Deen pound cake for the base, buttercream frosting for the 'dirty icing', and a marshmallow-based fondant that got good reviews for workability and taste- apparently store-bought fondant doesn't taste very good, and this was highly recommended.

It's a good thing we buy our ingredients in Lancaster in bulk, because I needed a whopping fourteen cups of powdered sugar to make both recipes. And have enough left over to dust my surfaces when I knead the fondant. Lucky for me I had about 20-25 cups of the stuff, because I was going to 'knead' it. Get it? Knead it?

Don't look at me like that.

The cake was the easy part, despite the fact I had to bake it twice. I used the cake form I'd used to make my daughter a doll cake- the form was a half-egg dome that had a dowel in the center for better baking. but when I pulled out the cake, the middle still wasn't done, so I took out the center rod, and finished baking it. It was perfect- at least until I tried moving it after it cooled- my thumb went right into the side of it. All I can say is thank God for buttercream frosting!

Fourteen was the magic number this weekend. My son was turning fourteen, my cake needed fourteen cups of powdered sugar, and it probably took me fourteen hours to make the dang thing, cake and all, because the ding-dang fondant (as tasty as it claimed to be) stuck to everything, no matter how I dusted the surface.

I used plastic wrap, I used waxed paper, I used a bed of powdered sugar- but the stuff wasn't rolling out thin enough, and kept sticking the moment I tried to do that rolling pin trick I saw on Cake Boss. My husband was out at the time, and I needed two people to do this. My daughter was baking cookies for him so she was busy, and my son wasn't allowed anywhere near the kitchen for fear of death-by-spatula.

After rolling out the stuff nine times in three hours, I gave up in a puddle of Cake Boss misery and waited for my husband to get home. Of course the moment he walked in the door, he helped me talk out my issues and helped me come to a solution. We had the cake covered within a half hour. I could have swatted that smug look off of his face, but I was too darn giddy about getting that stupid cake covered that I let him slide- this time.

It was now an hour before his party, and I still had a cake to decorate. Not having time to color the fondant like I wanted to, I took the scraps and rolled them out (and this time the little bits of fondant rolled together perfectly- ARRGH), and I cut all the pieces out and laid them across the surface of the cake. Then I colored them with concentrated food color, hoping it would turn out okay. I baked the cake Friday, and started the other stuff at 8:00 that morning. I got the cake done at 12:00- right when my son's party started. And I hadn't even started making their pizzas yet. Yes, homemade pizza with a fantastic olive oil dough I got from Artisan Breads in Five Minutes a Day.

Here is the finished product of my herculean efforts:

Don't look at the top- I tried covering it with my cake cover, and the thing stuck to it because it was too tall. I told my son that R2-D2 was shot by Darth Vader after I had left the room- not my fault. He loved it.

No, I'm not Cake Boss, but it was a good first try. And even better, it tasted good too. It tasted so good that I gained a pound and a half this week. Not sure of the gain was from the cake and sugar, or the stress- probably both. And the pizza too- I'm not supposed to have wheat, but I ate it anyway, only because I wanted to get the cake done so bad I'd forgotten to have breakfast!

As of this morning the cake plate now bears just crumbs and some blue-colored frosting smears. And I am the best mom on the planet- according to my son. So who am I to argue? After all, teenagers are always right, aren't they?


Carolyn aka Silkquilter said...

Cute cake! It is soooo hard resisting all the goodies we bake!

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