Friday, October 1, 2010

The Elmo Cake . . . Fat, Furry, and Skewered


Well, despite my best intentions, I really didn't have enough time to bake anything fantastic or unique this past week. (Appalling, I know.) But, I just couldn't end the week without sharing at least something with you. As you may already know, I'm a part-time student in a baking and pastry arts program. I'm about halfway through the program and, overall, I must say that I love it. I keep learning such interesting new stuff.

This semester, I have two classes. One is called Pastry I, the first serious pastry related course, and the other is an intermediate cake decorating class called, appropriately enough, Theme Cakes. So far, our work in the latter has focused on cakes for kids, particularly those requiring 3-D "sculpture" of one kind or another.

This past week's cake creation featured a chubby, furry, wide-eyed Elmo. That's Elmo of Sesame Street fame, in case there's any confusion. Yes, as you can plainly see he's looking quite plump, perched comfortably atop a very tall 2-layer cake, iced in soft buttercream. My husband, at first glimpse from the back of the cake, thought for a moment that Elmo was some sort of hefty bear. Couldn't blame him. That little dude's sporting more fur than Big Foot. Though you might not want to eat him, you could safely do so without coming to any significant harm. Except maybe a belly ache.

He's not exactly what I'd call a marvel of engineering but, for a novice like me, this fact is reassuring from the cake construction standpoint. His torso and head are indeed made of cake, while his arms were shaped out of homemade Rice Krispie treats. His legs are made from marshmallows trimmed this way and that. His eyes, nose, and mouth are fondant. The gift boxes on the cake are made from Rice Krispie treats too, covered in fondant, while the letters and numbers on the side are also fondant.

This is the first cake I've ever worked on that required a long skewer be twisted into it, all the way down into the base (which--in case you're actually interested in this kind of stuff--consists of a royal-icing covered 1" styrofoam disk that was glued atop four layers of corrugated cardboard that were taped together). The skewer, in fact, impales Elmo right through the top of his melon and holds him securely in place. Doing this was kind of nerve-wracking but my teacher, bless her heart, was guiding me every inch of the way: "Turn the skewer slowly like a screw while you push it down. You have to screw it in."

Uh huh. I skewered Elmo.
Oh, and before I forget, this post was brought to you by the letters C-A-K-E.

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