Wednesday, October 7, 2009

More Cake-Decorating Angst: Mea Culpa, Mea Culpa . . .

Okay, so I know I whined to you about cake decorating mishaps in another post just this past August, but now I think I've pretty well topped myself. The cake-wreck you see here is not the stuff of nightmares. No, my friends, it is all too real. Yes, it really happened. To me. Today. In my cake decorating class, more or less in front of all my fellow students (though I hope they were all so concerned with their own cakes that they paid no attention to what I was doing).

The disaster in a nutshell . . . We were all required to frost a tall, round layer-cake with the "basketweave" piping technique (very pretty, normally). And, we had to use a whole bunch of royal icing flowers we'd made in class last week--thus the excessive amount of decoration you see on the cake. It was not the stuff on top of the cake, though, that caused this project of mine to be a complete debacle. It was the consistency of the frosting on the sides. The worst part is that it was a frosting situation was of my own doing. Mea culpa! I am guilty. Oh woe is me.

(Note the lower left side of the cake in the picture above. . . I think its tectonic plates had pretty well shifted by the time I took this. Where's a Richter scale when you need one?)

I wrote all about the disaster an hour or two ago in my latest "Diary of a 48-Year Old Rookie Culinary Student" entry, a regularly updated sidebar that can be found on the right side of my blog (just look for the photo of the white chef's hat and click on it, if you ever want to read the details of this latest tragedy, along with any past diary entries).

I know full well that a cake catastrophe has no significance in contrast to most of our problems, but I didn't want to hide it from my fellow bakers. Afterall, it's yet another cautionary baking-tale, is it not? Another one for me, at least, to add to my arsenal of hubris and folly. Maybe, though, somebody will learn from my folly . . . I know already have.

The moral of the story is this . . . Always keep in mind how long your mostly-butter-based frosting is going to have to sit around in an overcrowded room with no refrigeration before you embark on a cake decorating project, and if you think there's any cause for concern, for heaven's sake just bite the bullet--use a reliably stable frosting. Don't function as if you know more than your current teacher, and more than your past teachers. (Luckily for me, my teacher couldn't have been nicer or more understanding. She did what she could to help me avert complete humiliation, bless her heart, but she's not a magician.)

Aesthetic Disclaimer . . .
Please note that the color palate you see here is not of my own choosing. I feel compelled to explain that because I'm more of a subdued-frosting girl. We were all required to use these same bright and autumnal colors. And, that butterfly was just our class's first attempt at using the technique called color-flow. I think his less-than-Monarch-like color scheme is pretty unattractive myself, but it was fun learning how to make him. It was very fun, in fact, learning to make all of the flowers. Despite today's uncomfortable setback, I still love cake decorating. Nothing will ever change that, I'm sure.

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