Thursday, February 18, 2016

Midweek Roundup: "So good! And pretty too"

Photo by Rachel
Cooking and Thinking

This was probably the most difficult project we've run into so far (or maybe I'm just projecting my hostility toward fondant on everyone else), but there are a bunch of good-looking cakes out there!

Oh well, it's not just me.  Here's what Rachel said when she started working with her fondant:  "Doesn't look promising, if I say so myself.  I was worried that instead of having a smooth covering for my cake, I'd produce something lumpy and ugly."  But--and here is another theme of the week--she next says, "I persevered, and I'm glad I did."  Of course, Rachel did have the help of a teenage sous-chef (Great movie title:  "I Was A Teenage Sous-Chef"), who made the pearls and placed them artistically on the cake.  Rachel thought this task was too "precision-oriented" for her, but I bet she could have done it too.  

Kristina made hers to celebrate "Unrelated Childless Couples Day," AKA Valentine's Day, and actually this week Kristina's blog is less about cakes and more about friends, which, when you come right down to it, are more important than cake, even a beautiful, heart-shaped Pink Lady cake.  Somewhere, somehow, Kristina found a jar of pink pearls, so she didn't have to make her own (but she didn't get to play with the luster dust either).  

Now Kim did not feel at all apprehensive about the fondant because she's made it before.  I looked at the picture of her beautiful cake and I read that she's a fondant maven (no, she didn't say that about herself), and I thought this would be a boring, everything-went-swimmingly blog.  But guess what?  She forgot to add water to the fondant.  If you forget the water, the fondant is too stiff to handle.  She read the directions again, and realized the omission, so she just gradually added water until she could roll it out.  From there, it was all perfection, including tinting her fondant pink, adding "disco dust" to it, and topping with gold dragees.  Very festive!

Catherine called her cake "epic."  I hoped that didn't mean that it took her two weeks to make it.  Fortunately, she just meant that it was a "cake for a special occasion."  Especially because of the fondant.  She doesn't really care for fondant and has been known to just "peel it off" the cake, "little did [she] know that the fondant would turn out to be the easy part of the cake."  Much worse was the 
" !@#$%^! sugar syrup."  And worse still was length of the recipe.  Midway through the cake, Catherine finally scrolled to the end of her e-book recipe, and realized she might be at this for a while.  Despite all the bad-mouthing of the cake, Catherine's pretty pink princess cake turned out just beautiful.

As did Vicki's.  Vicki, like Catherine, is not a fan of fondant, a fact she discovered when she was taste-testing wedding cakes with her daughter.  Yes, they looked beautiful, but the taste?  One bakery told her, "Oh, people never eat it.  They peel it off."  Which made Vicki ask herself why they were considering paying hundreds of dollars for an inedible cake. So really you have to congratulate Vicki for even giving it a go.  Even Rose's white chocolate didn't "make [[her] a convert," and her husband asked her why the frosting tasted like clay.  But the mousseline!  That's another story, and a good one.  She's going to make it again--without the clay.  I mean fondant.

Katya was the one who really had a handle on the fondant.  She bought it.  Having made it once, she decided once was enough.  She did make the white chocolate plastique, however, and the mousseline, and the cake, so she was really no slouch.  And the luster dust!  Katya became such a fan of luster dust that she invited her friend over the next day to do more decorations, which got increasingly "fanciful."  And she already has a name for her glam-rock band:  Luster Dust, of course!  

All of you bakers who slogged through this week's nine-page recipe will be rewarded next week with little butter cookies that are a cinch to make (I'm not sure why they're not on the Q&E list).  Even though they have a French name (Gateaux Breton), they're as easy as an American cake mix.  The hard part is finding miniature brioche pans in just the size specified in the recipe.  (I couldn't find them myself, so I wish you better luck than I had).  


  1. Pretty cake, Rachael! Fun Round Up, Marie! This is the most beautiful cake in The Baking Bible and I'm glad we made it, but it sure took nerves of steel.

  2. Your pearls look the size of South Sea pearls Rachel - very pretty. I wish I'd ordered some of that lustre dust. Funny round up Marie - somehow the cake doesn't seem so bad in hindsight. But I'm not making it again anytime soon.