The Great Cake Experiment

Sunday, October 10, 2010 - Posted by Amanda Bast
Recently my sister-in-law asked me to make a cake for my niece's first birthday party. Actually after finding out how much a professional cake would cost, my sister-in-law asked me to make a cake for my niece's first birthday party. I do have cake skills[z] but they are nowhere near professional (but I'm cheap!). I am doing a trial run to get it just right before the big day.

I decided it would be a great time to teach myself how to use fondant icing. You know the really smooth stuff that looks awesome yet inedible? Yes. People make cakes like that all the time, right? Right! I'm creative, no problem, right? Right! PLUS, I have a book that told me how to do this. Simple! Here is what the book says (oh so easy, step by step!):

1. Bake the cake
2. Make ganache
3. Make syrup (ie boil some jam and water and strain)
4. Cut cake into even layers
5. Brush syrup onto each layer
6. Assemble the cake by putting ganache in between each layer.
4. Ganache the rest of the cake
5. "Hot-knife" the ganache to make it super smooth
6. Let cake sit over night
7. Roll out fondant
8. Place on cake
9. Secure edges. Smooth icing.
10. Smooth icing some more, this time using smoothers
11. Trim icing.
12. Use smoothers
13. Decorate
14. Massacre oops I mean cut the masterpiece into pieces
15. Watch everyone eat what you have worked on for endless hours

It is day 1, and I am on step 2. It took approximately 3 hours to get to this point.

Things I have learned so far:

1. Using a gross gluten free cake mix will turn what should be lovely, fluffy tiny cakes into dense, caved in poo pucks.
2. Ganache is super fun to make. Heat up some cream and pour it over chopped chocolate. Then whisk. It will be grainy and then all of a sudden, BAM! smooth velvety creamy cream and chocolate. I may have squealed with glee.
3. The term "Hot-Knife" is also a method of smoking cannabis.
4. I have no idea what I'm doing
5. This is not the first time I've undertaken huge projects I know nothing about
6. Each of the steps in this book have multiple sub steps that are not necessarily simple. That is many steps.
7. People who write books about cakes are LIARS.
8. I am easily influenced by book-writing cake-making LIARS.

It's a good thing this kid is cute.