Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Happy 2nd Birthday YUMMY-O

What is one to do after having a massive back surgery that requires a 1-year recovery? Take a cake class, of course.

Then take another one.

Then take another one after that.

Then humbly consider teaching the cake classes that you just took.





Then proceed to devote countless hours to....

"THE STUDY OF THE CAKE"

Yes, people.  "The Study of the Cake."  It is just that important.

I began making cakes.  Lots and lots of cakes.  Then I made even more cakes.  Gourmet cakes with fancy fillings and ganaches.

I made loads of buttercreams - American buttercream, light & fluffy buttercream, marshmallow buttercream and Swiss meringue buttercream.

Buttercream is serious stuff.  Did you know that?

Buttercream is "just as" or "more" important than the cake itself.

I discovered fondant.  I made lots of fondant in every color imaginable.  Buttercream flowers and leaves.  Fondant flowers and leaves.  And oh yeah, gumpaste flowers and leaves.  The kind that requires dusting and glazing.

Except I don't have any glaze.  Stuff like that is in limited supply in my town.

I then discovered food photography.  New camera.  Lenses.  Photo tabletops and back drops.  Tripod. Lighting.  Sometimes I spend almost as much time photographing my cakes as I do in the making of the cake.

CRAZ-EEEEE-NESS at its finest.

I got out of control.

I still am.

In all the madness my little YUMMY-O Cake Company turned 2-years-old this May.  I almost missed it.

Birthdays are exciting because cake is involved.

MUST. HAVE. BIRTHDAY. CAKE.

MUST. HAVE. WEDDING. CAKE.

MUST. HAVE. SPECIAL OCCASION. CAKE.

And most importantly, MUST HAVE CAKE JUST BECAUSE it is good cake, just because.

Without "cake" life is boring and not so sweet.

Good cake is in my blood.

"THE STUDY OF THE CAKE"

Two years later and I am still unable to write on a cake like this.  I probably never will.  But for some reason, it came out of the bag looking okay for this photo.  Maybe God gave me this special writing talent just for YUMMY-O's 2nd birthday.  A one time thing kinda deal.


There are a few things I have learned during the past two years that they don't teach you in cake class.

Like, seriously how to crack hundreds of eggs.  


Egg whites are the popular ones but not so pretty.  The yokes are beautiful.  They didn't tell me what to do with all the yokes.

So far I haven't discovered an economical "egg yoke" recipe that we would actually eat.  Don't really need a steady diet of puddings and curds.  I mean, come on people, why eat that when there is CAKE!

They are so pretty just as they are.


I have eaten a few chocolate chips during the past 2 years.  Well okay,  I have eaten a few more than that.  Maybe 1,000 to be exact.

There, I said it.  Seriously YUM.


Buttercream can be a fussy thing.  Blowouts, cracking and bulging.  

Notice the bulging, blowout and cracking on the left side of the top tier.  
I found this the next morning.  I freaked out but there was not much I could do about it.  
"Freaking out" doesn't help cake repairs at all.


Do you know how sometimes we keep doing the same thing over and over expecting different results?  We all know that is called "insanity," right?  

I was doing that.  Yes, I was doing just that.

After this cake, I got angry.  The anger forced me to find a better way.  
It was simple...just plain 'ol butter.  B-U-T-T-E-R.  I have never looked back.  No blow-outs.  No  cracks.  But I have yet to master the "bulge."  

I still have the occasional bulge.  But we all have them occasionally.  They are not just cake related.  They happen when you eat an entire cake by yourself and your belly bulges over your belt.  
Or when you eat the dozen Krispy Kreme "hot doughnuts now" while driving to work.
Or maybe you opened one too many boxes of the Girl Scout cookies.
And those PEEPS.  Oh my. "Party Cake" PEEPS are my fav.

Expanda Pants.  Try them.  They rock.

Back to the butter.

Butter is of God.


Heavy cream.  A best friend to butter.  

YUM.


Ganache rules.


I never seem to know what homemade marshmallow fondant is going to do.  It has a mind of its own.  Actually, most cake stuff has a mind of its own.  I have little control.  I pray a lot.

Cake needs to "settle."  During the "settling" it can do all kinds of crazy things.   You should you allow it time to get "out of control," so you can repair it in the beginning stages.  Once it is turned into art, probably not.  I have been on the "probably not" side more than once.  It was not fun.  I have a tendency to "get out of control" too.  I have cried.  Yes, people I have cried over cake.

This was the top tier of a three tier cake.  This is what happened "after it settled" for a while.  Just crazy how cake can get so wickedly out of control.  I had to re-make this tier at the last minute.
In the beginning, the filling was totally level - I promise.

My daughter-in-law was happy to eat it.  Ugly or not.  She didn't care.


This was the cake after I re-made the top tier.  The next time it "settled" just fine.  



Family can be brutally honest when taste testing.  Apparently, my "new" red velvet recipe was a bust.  "Taste like cornbread, salty, icing is salty, taste like alcohol, I taste red food coloring."  Yes people, my sweet family doesn't hold back.  They can be a difficult bunch.  

Cake tasting + honesty is a good thing.

I only settle for perfection and nothing else when it comes to good cake.

Speaking of red velvet, I am at a complete loss as to why it is so popular.  It is a basic cake batter with a small amount of cocoa, some vinegar and an entire bottle of red food coloring.  
H-E-L-L-O people?  Please, tell me why?

NEVER talk on the phone while you are writing on a cake. 
I misspelled "Happy Birtday" because I did this.  NOT good.

Have you ever celebrated a "Birtday?"


Wedding cakes are very stressful.  Not enough drugs in the world for me to make them.  

This is my favorite one so far.


January 27th is National Chocolate Cake day.  
Everyone should celebrate this holiday with a big honkin' .....CHOCOLATE CAKE.


I made this one for my birthday one year.  When you make your own birthday cake, you can write anything you want.  I took full advantage of that.

I make homemade vanilla extract with fresh vanilla beans and good vodka.  It rocks. Well, actually, I can't really tell the difference between homemade and the regular stuff.  Not sure what all the fuss is about.  Maybe it is just so you can say "homemade vanilla bean extract?"

I can't seem to master cherry lime aid cupcakes.  So near but yet so far.  Sigh.
These little babies looked really pretty but tasted awful.  "Sam the Garbage Can" ate 'em.


The largest cake I have ever made took 7 cake batters.  Each batter consisted of 7-1/2 cups.  Total cups of cake batter - 52-1/2  cups.  There are 16 cups in a gallon.  You can do the math from there.
When the cake teacher first told me how she made a wedding cake, I quickly did the math on the batter.  I gasped.  I never dreamed I too would do it.... one day.  

I gave up on Strawberry cake.  It is challenging to obtain a good strawberry flavor with fresh or frozen strawberries and a bit of extract.  Too much extract = chemical taste.  
Vanilla cake with strawberry buttercream is the answer.

There is such a thing as too much cream cheese filling.  

"Emergency cake." Yes, emergency cake is a serious thing.  This is my fav emergency cake..so far.


I will leave you with this little guy.


My very first fondant cake from March 2011.  I thought it was beautiful then and I still do.  

You can think it's ugly if you want to.  I will still like you.  I live in reality.

 It didn't taste good.  "Sam the Can" got this one too.

Did I tell you that Sam is bulging?  I had to buy him "expanda bags."  He doesn't care.  
He just keep eating and eating and eating bad cake.  WE get to eat the good ones.

You absolutely CAN have your cake and eat it too.
 It is simple. Buy yourself a cake. Eat it.
It is not that hard.
 
Not sure why "they" say you can't do this.
 
Do you ever buy an entire cake just for you? 
 
You can do it every day if you want!

Have a good one....

Donna
xoxo

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