Tag Archives: cake

Italian Flag and Colosseum Cake

We’re doing something I like to call the Faux-lympics at work. We’ve been divided into teams of 5-ish. Some people are excited. Others couldn’t care less. I’m definitely leaning toward the latter, but I still found it in me to do this. Probably because making elaborate cakes is fun…

Early in the process. At this point I’ve place the side of the Colosseum and stenciled it using cocoa powder and crisco and some good old plain printer paper!

I made a Colosseum cake. We’re team Italy. I’m Team Lazy, so instead of figuring out what to do on top, I decided to drape an Italian flag (edible, of course!) on top of the Colosseum. Seriously, what else do you do?

The cake is part of our “logo” design. Basically my plan is to wow with the cake, then feed the judges thereby winning the gold medal in logo design. Regardless, I got to play with fondant and I’ll get to eat some cake. Is there a downside?

A few more intermediate steps:

Before I added the flag, from the side. A little hint for elaborate cakes: always have a plan. I like to make a colored sketch.

Another angle. I’m still working on making my cakes look perfect. I probably need to use different frosting, but I’m also focused on taste when I choose frosting. Here I used a brown sugar frosting. Yummmm.

 

Here I’ve added the flag, which was tough. After coloring fondant, it can become a bit sticky. I wanted to make the flag and drape it, but I ended up draping it in pieces, color by color.

I wanted to incorporate the Olympic a bit, so I made a gold medal to put on top of everything.

Almost done. I just had a few finishing details after this.

Final product:

The Colosseum has 4 levels, but the 4th level is no longer complete. I made a four layer cake, but cut off half the 4th level (part of which became the gold medal).

Italy!

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Using someone’s birthday as an excuse to make cake… This is something I do often.

I made cake on Monday. It was my sister’s birthday – well, that’s my excuse. She didn’t actually get any of the cake yet…

Anyway, I was excited to try another recipe from The New Best Recipe*. Unfortunately, the oven is on the fritz. The thermostat seems to be broken, and it’s unfortunately not in a systematic way. If you turn the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit it heats up to 450. If you turn it to 325, you get about 400. If you heat to 300, it seems to heat to slightly less than 350. The point is that my attempt to bake a cake was severely inhibited by the oven.

The cake didn’t rise. I can’t quite figure out why. I thought I had the oven to the right temperature, but it may not have been where it needed to be. The baking powder may have been old, and it certainly didn’t mix perfectly into the batter (despite my diligently following the recipe and mixing all dry ingredients before adding any liquid). You know those random times when you get a really sour and disgusting taste from otherwise delicious baked goods? I experienced that on Monday night.

Ultimately, I ended up with a super dense cake. You may not realize this, but super dense** cakes aren’t very good. The texture actually ruins the experience of eating the cake.

Regardless, I frosted the cake using the rich buttercream frosting recipe from The New Best Recipe. I won’t do that again. While the frosting is delicious, it’s too buttery. I didn’t even use the full amount of butter called for in the recipe (a piece of it hid from me…), and it was too buttery. Imagine sweetened, whipped butter. Now spread that on a cake. It is extremely creamy and delicious, but I can feel my arteries clogging with each bite.***

In case you’re curious, the NBR recipe for rich buttercream calls for four eggs, sugar, vanilla and a pound of butter. The eggs, sugar and vanilla are whisked in a makeshift double boiler (mixing bowl over a pot of simmering water) and heated to 160 degrees F. This mixture is then beaten with an electric mixer until it cools to room temperature, and softened butter is added 2 tablespoons at a time. If I were to make it again, I’d cut down on the butter and probably cut out an egg or two. It tastes good, but I prefer frosting that doesn’t forcefully remind me of whipped butter.

While putting the layers together, I decided to try something new. I melted some semi-sweet chocolate chips and spread them on the first layer.

The layer went into the freezer to harden the chocolate, then I finished frosting and assembling the cake.

The final touch was a ring of dried (fair trade!) cherries around the top of the cake.

*Actually, I tried one on Sunday: pan roasted pork tenderloin medallions with cream, apple and sage. Also made quinoa with zucchini and yellow squash.

**When I say super dense I mean really, extremely dense. Not moist and dense in a good way.

***Okay, I can’t actually, but I imagine it happening.

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Ultrasound a Baby Made of Cake!

Ultrasound tech school … scam? Look at their ad very closely:

The “baby” in the photo is a baby cake. It’s a cake. Being used to advertise for ultrasound tech programs. Um, what?

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