Sunday, 12 February 2012

A Day of Cake

Sunday baking is one of my favourite weekend activities. For no reason other than the mood takes me. Often it's cupcakes to take into work on Monday. I have a cupcake obsession and thankfully work peoples are always happy to indulge! I also find baking very relaxing; it makes me happy. Today I have baked but it has not been as relaxing as I would like. Today I baked for a REASON. And I didn't even make cupcakes.

Tomorrow is my younger sisters 21st birthday. Twenty-one. This makes me feel old. Urgh. Besides making me feel old it also means that my mum has decided to throw a party and has asked me to a cake. "Really we want a 'proper' cake, like we could get from the shop." This is my mums idea of encouragement. I do not feel encouraged, I feel daunted! Still I am not one to shy away from a challenge!

Well used, as you can see from the cake smudges!

I have opted for a three layer chocolate cake with caramel sauce & vanilla buttercream between the layers. I turned to my current favourite cake book for a recipe – The Hummingbird Bakery’s ‘Cake Days’ – and used a recipe for Sweet & Salty Chocolate Cake which ticked off two of my requirements; a three layer rich chocolate cake AND a caramel recipe (yup; I have never made caramel before so of course I would plan to use it in a cake that is going to be served to up my family and my sisters friends!) I followed the recipe for the sponge but I omitted the salt from the caramel recipe as I know my sister is not keen on salted caramel. I ignored the frosting in the book entirely as, as I say, I am using vanilla buttercream & then the cake is going to be covered with rolled fondant icing (which I have also never used before. Hey, if I’m going to be challenged I am going to be REALLY challenged!) Oh and it’s going to be black. Yeah.

I will say that although I have thrown myself into this with additional pressures of baking way outside my comfort zone I did do a test run a couple weeks ago rather than just wing it today! I was pleasantly surprised with the test run. There were a few issues with getting it level and with the fondant tearing (and me nearly crying) but it taught me a lot, showed me where I was going wrong, made sure I liked the design idea and gave me some confidence for the real thing.

Today, I took all my lessons from the test run and tackled The Cake. Things started well; caramel came out better than test run (I might have, maybe, possibly burnt the test caramel a teeny tiny bit) and I managed to fight the urge to just get a bowl of ice-cream & poor the caramel straight over the top. All three layers came out of the oven looking & smelling yummy. I was happy. I was relaxed. It was good.

Then I dropped a layer. On the floor. I was not happy. I was not relaxed. It was bad. It was a Cake Disaster.

Cake down! Badtimes.
I recovered though. I made an additional single layer. I did not drop it. It was good, again. I managed to level them, fill it, crumb coat it and before I knew it, I covered it with black fondant – yay me is all I can say! Tomorrow it will be decorated. Oh, and I will also be making some cupcakes!

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