Saturday, March 29, 2008

A Series of Unfortunate Events...

I've baked a few cakes in my lifetime, mostly chocolate ones - Black as midnight, the Chocolate Chestnut bomb and Molten Chocolate Babycakes. But I freely admit I'm not a dab hand at decorating them. I did get enthused a few years ago and buy myself a set of decorating tools but many of those were soon pilfered by my then two-year-old and then I figured I'd focus on content rather than presentation. So it was a huge challenge for me to participate in the Daring Bakers challenge for March of baking the perfect party cake and decorating it with butter cream.
Of course, I had a few other challenges during the process. For one, our electricity supply has been erratic, to put it mildly, so I'm never sure when it's ok to pop in a cake. As it turned out, over the long weekend, we had power long enough to bake a few potatoes, but about 10 minutes after I'd huffed and puffed and popped the party cake in, the power went off for over half an hour. I was in a real quandary because I didn't know whether I should re-mix the cake batter to get it airy again. Eventually I didn't, so I'm not sure if the cake turned out as light as it should have.

Then I needed to cover the layers with raspberry jam but I butter-fingerily dropped the jar and smashed it, so I had to use blueberry preserves, which were much thicker and full of whole blueberries - delicious but not very spreadable. I also forgot whether I needed egg whites or yolks for the icing and used up the whites by mistake, so I had to separate another bunch of eggs - we had a loof scrambled eggs last weekend as a result. Being really untalented at decorating cakes, I overdid the blue food colouring so I got a deep blue instead of the pale colour I had wanted.

The only mishap that I was anticipating but which didn't happen was that the butter cream icing didn't curdle. It came together beautifully, white and fluffy and was great fun to use.
I used some blue-coloured coconut flakes for the sides of the cake and a handful of hundreds and thousands came in handy to cover the top of the cake where the icing was slathered on roughly.

I must admit that the cake was a huge hit. Mom loved it and didn't cotton on that the icing had raw egg whites in it - in fact, she commented that there was no smell of egg. A's office pals and my colleagues were impressed that I'd actually decorated it at home. And I find myself already contemplating doing this over for my daughter's birthday, if only I can get someone to come along and decorate it for me!


L Vanel said...

Pretty colorful decor - it looks really nice!

Rachel said... tasted good..and you got the review..that matters a lot!

Anne said...

Glad you were able to do the challenge despite of everything :)Well done!

SaraLynn said...

Very nice! I love how colorful it is!

Nan said...

Cake's gone wild! ;) Congrats on this month's challenge!

marias23 said...

Seriously, who wouldn't like that cake? That's so "Under the Sea" from the Litter Mermaid. Awesome!

bird's eye view said...

Thanks, I Vanel

rachel - you're right, I'm overall pretty happy with it.

Thanks, Anne. i'm looking forward to the next challenge now.

Thanks so much, Saralynn.

nan - you're right, it was a wild ( not to say woolly) experience :)

Thanks, Maria - I didn't think of it that way but I see the connection now!

Claire said...

Yay...they liked it! Great job!

Gabi said...

Wow so great you hung in there through all the obstacles! Glad you were able to finish and that it tasted good!

Suki said...

Tasted great? Great!
Next time you're in an adventurous mood, invite me over. I'll do most of the legwork, if you let me share the spoil :)

Jacque said...

It looks great and I'll bet it tasted delish with the blueberries.

I hear you on the food coloring - it's so easy to overdo it.

Passionate About Baking said...

Hi's been a while since I stopped by. How's it going? What's cooking??? Hope all is well...iao Deeba