Sunday, November 26, 2006

I like cake

There is a kid at our office (one of the new adjusters) that has that sign posted on his cube wall. It's pretty funny.

Traditionally, cakes have been my weakest point of all of my cooking. When I was about 23, I tried to recreate a version of my grandma's German chocolate cake. It came out pretty bad. I made it just like the recipe dictated, but it still came out bad. The frosting was great, but the cake was the texture and taste of a Frisbee. Since then, I really haven't tried to make any cakes besides cheesecakes on a regular basis unless it's specifically requested of me to do so.

However, the last year things have started turning around due to the fact that I have a lot of nieces and nephews that really enjoy cake. Kids just like cake better than cheesecakes and pies. My mother-in-law's favorite cake that I made her a few times before she died was a pineapple upside-down cake, which is pretty hard to screw up. The ones with the frosting are the ones that freak me out. Last year, my nephew Z asked me to make him a white cake with white frosting for his birthday, and nervously I obliged. I took my time, let the milk and egg whites warm before using them, and followed the directions to the T as far as mixing and beating times. I even set my microwave timer so I knew how long to let my mixer run when beating the batter. I never do that normally, but as they say, cooking is an art and baking is a science. It turned out pretty good. I'm not sure what I did differently other than to go slower...I did buy new cake flour, so that might have something to do with it, but I had used cake flour with the first GC cake that bombed too.

So, slowly my confidence has returned. I've used several Bed Bath and Beyond coupons to buy some new cake pans...those cool flexible silicone pans that believe it or not, are a LOT more user-friendly than the old metal cake pans that I have. So I have a pair of 9" round pans (red) and a pair of 8" square pink pans. I used the pink pans to make McKenna's cake for her birthday which was a yellow two-layer cake with pink buttercream frosting. Her cake was a single-layer yellow cake in one of the round pans with pink buttercream frosting. Both cakes were great.

And now it's that time of year again...Z requested another cake for this weekend and this time wanted the same white cake but with chocolate frosting. Again, I took my time, used my cool new pans, let the buttermilk and egg whites warm to room temp before using them, let the cakes cool completely before trying to frost them (patience isn't exactly one of my strong suits), and made this delicious chocolate lover's frosting off the back of the Hershey's cocoa container. I even decorated it with writing and non-pareils for color. My cake decorating skills need a little practice, but I'm really excited about the cake. We're taking it over to my father-in-law's this afternoon. I'm not really a frosting fan, but this frosting on this cake is pretty good.

And now, in true Erica fashion, I've decided that I want to master the art of cake-making. I kinda need I said above, kids just prefer cake. I have my eye on some flexible heart-shaped pans and I'm looking into some cake books online...namely The Cake Bible and Great Cakes. What can I say? Cooking is my favorite and most widely-used hobby.

So...I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. I've been back from California now for about nine days...and my school went fine. I'm not promoted yet. My office told me when I get back that they want to reinterview me for the position (why, I don't know, since I've already interviewed in August) and supposedly the position will be effective December 1. Well, that's Friday and it's coming up soon. We'll see what happens. I'm not holding my breath.

Not much else is new around the campfire other than my husband got a new job which he is starting on Tuesday and we bought a new bed last weekend. New mattress, new boxspring, new bed (a real bed, not a metal frame), and bedding complete with a duvet. That was very exciting and now I'm getting better sleep since I can rest better.

McKenna's doing fact, she started walking while I was in California. She can't go more than a couple of steps, but it's really fun to see. She's just doing and changing so much right now. It's so much fun hanging out with her!

I hope everyone enjoys the rest of their weekend!


Blogger Sharon said...

I have the Cake Bible if you want to look through it before you buy it. Also, there is a great store over here in Richardson called Cake Carousel. That is where I go for all my ideas/supplies when I do cakes and chocolates. If you want to take a cake decorating class sometime, let me know. I'm dying to take one, but felt weird doing it by myself. They offer classes at Cake Carousel...

5:57 AM  
Anonymous dleighb said...

I like cake too. White cake with white icing is my favorite. I had no idea they were so hard to make. I guess I'll just have to stick with store bought.

Congrats to P on his new job!!! That's awesome!

8:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mmmm. I like cake too. Hi I'm Jamie, I'm new to blogging and a fairly new stitcher and I was just searching some blogs. I think I'm going to like this!

Have a great day. Hope the cake turned out great!

4:47 AM  
Blogger Sue said...

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6:10 PM  

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