I’m giving myself a half hour to sit on the couch before I go back in to conquer the kitchen, which is such a disaster, it could almost qualify for national aid. Almost.
My cake decorating kit arrived in the mail today and because I am me, I decided that I had to make a cake and decorate it tonight. Luckily, I had a mix and a container of frosting in the cabinet and although I scrambled the last of our eggs this morning, my neighbor had a few for me to borrow, so I dragged out the KitchenAid and whipped it up. As it baked, I bathed The Who and as M sang him to sleep, I upended the pans so the layers could cool.
I “crumb coated” the layers, expecting to have a blob left over that I could color with the gel coloring included in my kit and I had these grandiose visions of magnificent decorations — fuschia and chartreuse and aquamarine icing! Oh, it was going to be so beautiful; I just knew it!* But, lo, when I finished covering the cake, I was out of icing. Well, come on. How hard can whipping up a batch of icing be?**
It was so pretty, that batch of icing, after I sifted the sugar, measured the butter, found the vanilla extract, and added the coloring. A deep, rich teal. Not entirely appetizing, but smooth and deep and satisfying in its uniformity. So, after I was done admiring my work (and showing it to a nearly asleep M) I filled the pastry bag, (which was properly fitted with a coupler and a star tip, I might add,) and got to piping on the base decoration. It looked amazing — for a second — until it melted into a puddle like a batch of oobleck and I realized that I had made it much too thin.
Back to the drawing board. I added more sugar to the second half of the batch, still in the bowl and stirred furiously. And perhaps — perhaps — I was a bit over zealous in my sugar adding because once I got it back in the pastry bag and tried to squeeze it out, my hand was already cramping.
“Aren’t you glad I practiced before making your birthday cake?” I asked M, as I shook out my hand, red and aching. And she, ever supportive of my creative endeavors, smiled sweetly at me as she licked the icing spoon on her way to bed and told me how beautiful and professional it looked.
Of course, she didn’t see the final product.
*Listen, I have seen quite a few episodes of Food Network Challenge and I am no stranger to Ace of Cakes, either, so it’s not like I was a novice or anything.
** Very hard, if you use the wrong recipe and instead of what you think of as “frosting” you end up making what the rest of the confectionary world thinks of as “glaze.”