Monday, July 4, 2011

Red, White, and Blue

I've recently become obsessed with I Am Baker. She is definitely my new hero. Who knew you could decorate the inside of cakes as well as the outside? When I saw her flag cake, I knew I just had to make one for the 4th of July.

She didn't have a tutorial, just a picture. So I had to figure it out myself.

I'm not quite ambitious enough to make a 25 layer cake, but 13 layers was still pretty insane considering I'm WAY less experienced and talented than her. But I think it turned out pretty dang cute anyway.

Happy Birthday America! Sorry you couldn't eat your cake, but we all enjoyed it!

I decided to make it at the last minute, and the kitchen was already pretty full...

Our table is rarely used for eating. The current project: my wedding dress!

Our plum tree exploded and every inch of the kitchen is covered with the shrapnel.

...but I made due with what I could get.

I had about a square foot to work in. And more plums.

I recently ordered A Piece of Cake by Susan Gold Purdy, and a few of her other books as well. It's supposed to be second only to The Cake Bible, and I got it for way less (yay Amazon!). You know a cookbook is fancy when you're supposed to read the entire 70 page introduction before trying any of the recipes. I didn't, of course, but I thought I'd at least try being a good baker for once and actually be careful and precise in following the recipe.

All of my ingredients out and ready to go.




Softening. (Ok, so outside in the sun is cheating a little, but it's better than the microwave.)

I still didn't measure the vanilla. I don't think I'll ever measure vanilla.

As you can probably tell, as I went on I got less and less like a real baker and more and more like my shortcut-taking self. It only got worse.

I realized we didn't have any milk, but thanks to my mom's handy dandy milk conversion chart for powdered milk, we figured out about how much canned milk + water would make the equivalent of normal milk.

I beat my egg whites way too long and too quickly, they turned into rubber, it was the strangest thing. I tried again for the cake, and saved the others for chile rellanos.

I thought I'd be extra cool and have stars in my cake. You'll see later that melty chips DO NOT work for baking. Oops.

I have a long standing feud with red food coloring, but somehow everything I make needs to be red. I think pink, white, and blue are prettier colors anyway. Celebrating back on the first Independence Day when America was still a baby. Ok, I tried, but I give up.

And after all that hard work of being a careful baker (or trying at least), it was so much fun to see the cake grow...

...and grow...

...and grow!

In another mishap of the day, my mini red cake broke in half. But I still managed to get 3 layers out of it, and for the last layer I just used the old crumb-frosting-cake-ball-esque trick that I'm so fond of.

Remember those melty chips? And how I said they were a bad idea?

They were delicious, but kind of made the whole thing fall apart.

And finally, after hours of slaving away, isn't it beautiful?

No? Well, maybe after the crumb coat...

Still don't see it, huh? Don't worry, it'll be beautiful after I frost it...

Ok, so I REALLY need to learn how to make frosting.

Maybe if you step back, and squint a little.

It's what's on the inside that counts anyway, right?

What the other bloggers don't show you: after the whole thing falls apart about 30 seconds after the (almost) perfect picture was taken.

It didn't go completely according to plan, but I still learned a lot. Don't use melting chips for baking. LOTS of vanilla makes a delicious cake. Susan Gold Purdy is amazing. I might actually learn to be a decent baker if only I can get the frosting right. And I had so much fun, that I already started making plans for another cake with a super cool inside.

Are there any holidays between now and October? Because I couldn't think of any.

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