The Forgotten Cake

Daily Foglifter:  In fiscal year 2010, John Deere reported an income of nearly $1.9 Billion.

So I had kind of a bad week last week.  A stomach virus made its way into our house.  I should say, made its way into me and the baby.  Everyone else managed to avoid it.  Lucky them.  There is nothing like being nauseous and having to change the diaper of a baby with a stomach bug.  Good times.

In the throes of the stomach virus, I completely forgot that I was supposed to do a cake.  It’s Thursday night and I’m supposed to have a cake ready for my husband to take to work with him at 7:00 am on Friday.  It wasn’t happening.  I managed to bake the cake but the decorating would have to wait until Friday morning after the kids got on the bus.

The kids missed the bus.  I had to take them to school and waste a precious hour of cake decorating time.  I had exactly 3 hours to get the thing done.  Not a good thing because this one was a sculpted cake.  Yowza.

Making a sculpted cake is Fun.  It’s also time consuming.  Cakes have to be cut and frozen and cut again before they can be iced and actually decorated.  It’s like doing sculpture, but more tasty.

The First Cut

The Basic Shape

This is the first step in a sculpted cake.  I’ve got the basic shape and now the cake has to be partially frozen so that when I carve, it doesn’t fall to pieces. 

The Second Cut:  Carving the Final Shape

Carving the Cake

This particular cake was easy, thank goodness.  I’ve done cakes in the past that have rounded edges and that is not easy to do.  Of course, the more I have to carve, the better the leftover pieces to eat.  Unfortunately, this is not good for the waistline.  On the other hand, I haven’t had a waistline since kid #2, so, “Chow down” is my philosophy.

The Best Part

After gorging myself on cake scraps, I go on to the next step.

Icing the Cake

Iced and Ready for Fondant

When this is done, the cake goes back into the freezer while I make the marshmallow fondant.  This time, the fondant had to be made white and have the colors kneaded in, individually. This is a giant pain in the butt.  Or, in the hands and arms, I should say.  I have carpal tunnel and this does not help matters.  Sometimes, I can’t feel my fingertips for a day or two after I’m done.  Not to mention that my hands are stained for days as well. 

The Incredible Hulk

I had to make green, yellow, blue, and the dreaded black fondant.  I wanted a picture of that, but I didn’t dare touch anything with my black hands.  It was a mess.  Now, two days later, my hands are a sickly purple color.  I look bruised, or just plain dirty. 

Well, the fondant was made and now came the tricky part.  Covering the cake.  This one was harder than the LEGO head because it had to be done in parts since the cake was irregularly shaped.  There is a lot of cutting and measuring done to get the cake covered completely. 

Covering the Cake

Once that part is done, the rest is easy.  I love adding the details.  Really, the appearance of the cake is all in the details. Any flaws in the fondant can be masked with a cute little detail such as a flower, or in this case, a strategically placed logo.

The Details

At this point, I had exactly 5 minutes to get out the door if I wanted to get the cake to its destination in time.  The teeth were messed up and there could have been more detail on the grill, but time had run out.  Notice anything else missing?  The wheels.  I forgot about that part.  The solution?  Chocolate covered donuts.  The only problem was that I didn’t have chocolate covered donuts.  I would have to make a stop at the grocery store and then do some quick decorating in the car. 

I grabbed the napping baby who happened to be wearing only a diaper and a dirty pajama top and put her in the car with the almost finished cake.  I was covered from head to toe with a fine dusting of powdered sugar but there was a deadline I was about to completely miss.  So I got in the car, hair in a falling ponytail, hands stained a deep purple, and white marks on my clothes and possibly my face, and headed to the store with an equally sloppy baby.  I have no shame.

Of course, the first store I went to didn’t have the big donuts. I had to go to the trusty Kroger.  Of course they had them and I attached them with a tube of store-bought black icing.  The effect was quite nice, though I could’ve done them much better if I had had the time.

John Deere Tractor--Pixar Style

Well, I think this is my last post on the art of cake decorating.  I actually have 4 more cakes to make over the next month, but I’ll just post photos. I’m falling asleep writing about it.  I can imagine how it is to read it.

“She wrote me a ‘john-deere’ letter… something about me not listening enough, I don’t know… I wasn’t really paying attention.”  ~Harry Dunne in “Dumb and Dumber”

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15 thoughts on “The Forgotten Cake

  1. OMG! Cake baking/decorating is one of my most favorite things to watch and something I wish I could do. I can watch someone do this for hours. I’m impressed! What a lovely cake. I wouldn’t want to touch it after all of that work.

    • When I first started taking decorated cakes to church, nobody would cut it. Everybody always made me do it. I’d rather people eat it after they’ve taken pictures. It’s a lot of work and I take a lot of pains to make sure the cake tastes good. Not to eat it makes me feel like I wasted my time making all that fondant or icing when I could’ve bought the stuff (which tastes terrible).

      I tried my first scuplted cake after seeing “Ace of Cakes.” I love cake decorating shows!

  2. Your cake posts are never boring at all! I never even knew what fondant was till I met your blog. Im totaly into it! So I know its super early, but Ill give you a lot of advanced notice. Maybee this winter can you a make a cake with a gingerbread house Hansel and Grettal theme? I love candy houses and I bet you would do something amazing with the idea. Huh? Can you, can you?

    • Hmmm. That would be really neat. This past Christmas was the first time we did gingerbread houses as a family. It was a lot of fun and I’ve already decided to make it our new tradition. I’ll have to post the pics of the ones we’ve already done when winter rolls around. Yeah, I’ll definitely do the Hansel and Gretel theme this year. Look for it in December! 🙂

  3. Cake looks gorgeous. I’ve learnt so much by just reading this. Of course, I’m not actually going to try it – just pass it on to my sister-in-law who makes cakes for her kids birthdays. I have neither the skill nor the patience for this art form.

    • I’ve always wanted to do a Victorian themed cake. The decorating is very ornate but it’s gorgeous! Wouldn’t it be a neat idea to have a Jane Austen inspired cake? If I ever do it, I bet I could get 2 or 3 posts out of it. It will have to be after the hot and humid weather is over because that is murder on icing.

      It seems I’ve been bitten by the cake bug again.

    • BTW, I subscribed to your blog. I thought I’d already done that but apparently not. I don’t know if I’m coming or going these days. Momfog is a chronic condition.

  4. this cake is too adorable to eat! wow – and considering how little time you had on it… that is just amazing.

    Great idea on the wheels – i’ll be borrowing that idea! 😀

    • I borrowed it myself! I wanted to cover them with fondant and put some tread on there but I ran out of time. I also wanted to do something with the board. Oh well. It was for a 1st birthday and I’m sure he didn’t mind.

  5. No wonder you needed a break! Nothing like gastro to through a spanner in the works. I can’t imagine (that is, I’ve forgotten) the concept of nappies and gastro together. Phew!

    Cake looks divine! I have a 9 year-old birthday in June, what do you suggest for a girl?

    • Just going by my daughter who turns 8 in June, I would suggest Taylor Swift, iCarly, Barbie, or anything pink. Or the dreaded Justin Bieber. (He really is a cutie. I’d adore him if I was 9.) I like Hello Kitty, myself. Super cute and super easy.

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