Monday, September 29, 2008

TWD: Creme Brulee

This is my first week participating in Tuesdays with Dorie, the main reason why I started this blog in the first place. Since leaving school I mostly make cakes and the dreaded sugar cookie, so joining up with the people over at TWD is hopefully a way to challenge my skills or at least keep me fresh with new techniques.

Case in point, I haven't made any creme brulee since the custard course in school. The method on this recipe had me re-reading it several times looking for the words water bath... but it was no where to be found. Nice!

It did make a sad amount, very shallow as you can see from the photos and I only used 4 ramekins when the recipe called for 6, maybe mine were on the larger side I dunno. Because the brulee was so shallow when I torched the tops (with my decidedly crappy arse torch) it heated up the custard underneath fairly quickly so as you can see there isn't a really nice caramel top on there, but it was tasty ;)

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Sometimes all you get is a big sink of dirty dishes...

I've made allot of banana bread in my life... and I always use the same recipe from a trusty crusty cookbook that has been around since I was a little kiddo. Everyone seems to love it, a few people (you know who you are) ask me to make it weekly and my oldest son can eat an entire loaf in a few short hours if I let him.

In my quest to possibly expand on my banana bread repertoire, I was lured in by a beautifully delicious photo of a Black and White Banana Loaf from my new cookbook. During my mise en place I diligently weight all the ingredients with the thought that this recipe was going to rival my tried and true and it would be easier to weight than measure next time.

Delicious smells of chocolate, banana and the holiday season (probably the nutmeg) wafted from the kitchen. Finally out of the oven, I set it aside to cool for a bit until the cross your fingers moment of turning it out. Tap, tap, tap a bit its not budging... tap some more, nothing but crumbs, slam it on the counter and 1/4 of the loaf comes out of the pan! Crap! All is not lost because even if its not purdy its sure to be tasty because its smells awesome. I give it a taste... sick! What a strange combo of flavors! Chocolate covered bananas are good! What the hell... I think the nutmeg, lemon zest and rum did this in.... now that I see all those words together, I don't know what I was thinking, actually kinda makes my stomach turn a bit.

Hot Pink Electic G

The cake is done! Woot! I'm very happy with how it turned out. I was disappointed with the guitar strings, because the neck had to be removable I chose to pipe the strings on (I had planned on using wire, inedible but cool). Piping a straight line over approx. 28 inches of uneven terrain is quite the task. Because the neck portion stepped down, I decided to stop there and pipe the neck separately. At 11pm after a long day of work and a very long evening of caking I found myself wondering "uh where do these wires go?". My honey said just tell them it needs to be tuned....he's so helpful :P

I learned a few things during this project:

  • Red Velvet Cake is fricken fantastic, esp. when you get the recipe from a true southern girl.
  • Its easy to kneed room temp. fondant esp. when the room temp is about 90, but room temp. fondant isn't your friend unless you like fondant that rips really easy.
  • 80's Music can get stuck in your head for several days if you happen to look at the sheet music too many times, trust me there isn't much of anything that can drown out Hungry Like a Wolf by Duran Duran.

Friday, September 26, 2008

How to hold your neck up....

So as I mentioned in the first post, I had to make the neck of the guitar removable. I created a holder doohicky that was made of styro and foamcore and glued that bad boy down to the display board. A bit on the hideous side but it works and the neck slides in easily.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Stacks of Red Velvet

I'm not to keen on using recipes that I haven't tried in the past for a paying customer, it makes me super nervous because I don't know how said recipe is going to react to being stack or sliced into shapes that are often times unusual for cake (ie. not round/square).

In the case of the Guitar cake, I had two Red Velvet recipes in mind, and I had planned on trying them both out the week before. But alas my PD (procrastination disease) kicked in and before I knew it, it was time to bake the cake.

I thought the best course of action was to use the recipe straight from a fellow caker and true southerner (and lets not forget the 40 years of family testing to boot). Knox says "Upon first taste in the mouth, the true red velvet should have somewhat of a "bite" to it, almost imperceptible." Although I couldn't use the traditional Marykay Icing the cake was fricken fantasic. I had to throw away the heaps of scraps last night so that I wouldn't nibble on them as I finished the cake.

Monday, September 22, 2008

One Guitar neck...check!

I think this is the first time that I've done some serious planning and sketching of things to make sure that all the parts and pieces are to scale. Although the final guitar won't be 1:1 I wanted all the pieces to look like they were part of the same cake and this only happens with planning... which I hate to do. Planning makes me procrastinate. So I'm further behind in the project than expected but rather happy with things so far.
I think everything I make eventually becomes a little cartoony. I usually run with the cartoon look maybe because its easier for things to not be exactly how they should be. I know it's cake so it can never be an exact replica so I think I need to fight the cartoon on this one to see how close I can get it.

Study of the Electric Guitar

I was recently asked to recreate this electric guitar for a sweet 16 b-day in pink.

As with most of my cakes, I'm winging it (fake it 'til you make it right) even though there are so many great examples of guitar cakes on the intranet, its not very clear how to make one. Even after seeing it done by the team at Ace of Cakes or the amazing stand up version done by the Cake Girls, I still can't grasp how all the fabulousness is actually achieved.

And to throw a big wrench into my task, I have to make the neck removable. Because the cake it going to be red velvet with cream cheese icing and it will need to be refrigerated (and I can't fit a 30 inch cake in my fridge, and I doubt the customer will either), I have to create some contraption that will allow the customer to slide the neck into place after its been delivered (scary!).