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.
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”