Tuesday, July 2, 2013

A Story About Cake

A little backstory: my mother is a terrific baker.  She whips out cookies at Christmas like it's nothing, and every year for our birthdays she would make us delicious cakes.  Hell, she made my little sister a cake in the shape of Barney the Dinosaur once.  It was AWESOME.  So I think maybe some of that went into my blood.

My older sister is going to have a baby in August, and so my oldest sister (yeah confusing I know) threw her a baby shower this past weekend, and she decided it would be awesome to have a book baby shower to start the little baby's library off right.  Everything was book themed, the food, the decorations, even the presents.  So of course, the cake had to be book themed as well.  We were going to have a professional do cupcakes with books on top, but we couldn't find any place that would be cheap and not require us to order a million cupcakes.  After searching on Pinterest, we found this picture, which gave us the inspiration for our own book cake.  I, having never attempted a cake on this scale or skill before but having immense faith in my own cooking skills, volunteered to make it.

As the course of life goes, we all got busy, and I forgot about the cake, until the Tuesday night before the shower.  I sat up in bed in a cold sweat because I had no idea how I was going to do it or what I was going to do.  After a couple of days of research and planning, I decided that I would make two different types of cake.  We had planned on making the cake three books high, so with two 9x13 cakes, one would be cut in half and stacked on top of the other.   I chose recipes from smitten kitchen, her Red Velvet cake for the bottom layer and the Best Birthday cake for the top layers.

Friday, the day before the shower rolled around, and after we celebrated my little cousin's birthday, I got down to business.  I sifted and mixed, poured and baked until about 11:45 that night, but my end result? Two beautiful cakes, ready to be trimmed and iced.  Note to self/y'all, when baking with parchment paper, make sure it's straight as you pour in the batter.  Otherwise you get big old indentions in the cakes.

Stage One, baked and cooling the night before.

The next morning, I woke up bright and early and after breakfast got down to work.  I trimmed the cakes until they no longer had indentions and were straight.  Then I cut the yellow one in half.

Trimmed and ready for icing!

Due to the stressful time, I didn't take any pictures of the actual icing stage.  I used a simple buttercream icing (my momma's recipe) and after three or four batches of icing, the cakes were iced and stacked.  However, they didn't look really like books, and I was out of ingredients.  So my cousin and I ran to the grocery store to get more, and to pick up some icing in a tube for writing.  Unfortunately, I grabbed gel icing because it has the best writing tip, and gel icing does not function well with buttercream.  It slid right off.  By this time, my mom arrived from shopping and she took over the process, which was really just touching up the colored icing and adding white icing around the middle to make them look like books.  Here is the finished product!

The cakes themselves were delicious, and because of all the cream and butter and powdered sugar, the icing was amazing.  It was my first big cake, and I think it was a success.  I don't know if I would do it again surrounded by all the women in my family, but it was fun, and I'm so glad it turned out well!!

1 comment: