Saturday, November 14, 2009

Spiderman cake, Spiderman cake!

Last year, I made the Diego cake, for the daughter of Autumn, a lady I work with. That cake wasn't a situation where I had the creative room I'd prefer. This year, however, she came back asking if I could make a birthday cake again - only criteria, Spiderman! Blue. Red.

It was fun :) And my first topsyturvy!

I started out by searching photos of Spiderman. As well as checking out what has been done in the past. Autumn also showed me a few photos of cakes they had found that they liked, so I had a direction, and made a doodle.

I sent this to her, and she gave me a thrilled response. So I knew I was on the right track.

I started out a week ahead to make all of the buttercream, since the colours I would need - red, blue, black were so vivid that they needed a few days to set. The amount of dye in this cake was almost sickening. I would never suggest a vibrantly coloured cake for a wedding - the guests the day after would be reminded in the worst way of what they ate the day before. I also warned Autumn ahead of time that the dye content would have... certain repercussions.

After the frosting was taken care of, I spent an evening with the gumpaste to cut out the buildings. Simple, random building-ish shapes.

The cakes were my favorite buttercake recipe, nice and dense. I made those two days before the due date. That gave them overnight to chill and become more workable the next day.

All the frosting was done on the night before, as it is buttercream, I didn't want to frost and leave it in the fridge overnight, because the buttercream tends to take on the flavors of the refrigerator, if nothing more than just that "refrigerator air" smell/taste.

Carving the cake was far easier than I had thought. I watched a video on you-tube that made it pretty easy for me to apply their suggestions. Unfortunately I didn't get photos of the unfrosted cake. So the next photos are of the first stabs are the frosting.

A lesson I have certainly learned is that transitioning colours on a corner is really really difficult, especially if you want a nice clean edge. I did however learn quite a few tricks to working with buttercream, and getting a nice smooth look. I'm no longer scared to attack a fondant-free cake!

All assembled, here is the final cake. (Unfortunately, it seems that flash does weird things to shiny, butter surfaces, so it looks strange)

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Olivia Ears

This isn't a food blog.
Although I think you've noticed that I post about a lot of cake and food and cookies and things that make me fatter by the day.
Ok so maybe it's a food blog.

But I so other things too. Sometimes I'm crafty.
Crafty like a fox.

For Squeaker's Halloween this year, we went for Olivia. Oh do we love Olivia, she's independent, out spoken, wishful, and endearing. Maybe I'm the one in love with Olivia, but whatever.

I had this conversation with my mom.

Me: So Des wants to be Olivia for Halloween.
Mom: Oh how sweet!
Me: Yeah, that should be fun. Now I just have to figure out how in the world to make big pig ears. And find stripy fabric.
Mom: You could use felt?
Me: Hmmm.. Felt.. Yes. I wonder...

Ok so there was more and that's from memory from over a month away, but you get the idea.
Anyway. Here's what Mom was thinking
"Yeah, you could cut the felt and stuff it, maybe glue or sew it together, and attach it to a headband.. Hmm"
And I was thinking
"Wow, I have no idea how to Felt. Hm... I'm going to have to look on YouTube and see if anyone has tutorials. I wonder how hard it is. Oh here's a tutorial, oh cool ok I can do this.. Hmm.. Fabric, wire, needles, check... Lets stab the living heck out of the felt, well hey, it's like fabric clay! This is AWESOME! Yeye ! EARS!"

So erm, apparently we have a communication issue. And if I had realized what Mom meant in the first place, I would have totally done that - but no, I went the hard way. I molded my own ears out of felt. There's no sewing here folks. And the only glue I used was to attach the ribbons to the ears, and the ears to the headband.

Sweet, huh? I'm pretty proud.

Step by step on this coming up.

Hot Creamy Polenta Cereal

Let's get rejuvenated.
It's been months. Sad and pathetic months since I've blogged, and the guilt has been pecking at my toes. It's annoying.
So here I am! (sans photos in this post, sadly. cope)

I'd like to come back to you with something new to me. Something amazing, something I cannot believe I've never had (double negatives 4 u!) before.

What is this mystery? Creamy Polenta!

OK, so I've only eaten polenta a small handful of times. Maybe more of a generous pinch. And I've only ever cooked with it once - all of my experiences were savory adventures - tasty, but not thrilling.

The other day, Squeaker requested Oatmeal for breakfast. "Not on the stove, the kind in the microwave, Mommy" nice that she can be so specific, but we had neither the stovetop nor instant varieties on hand. It also turned out that the box of Malto-O-Meal was 1/2 TBS away from empty.

It's sad when you have to tell your child that you don't have food.* That you're broke and she'll have to settle for uncooked noodles, rotten bananas, and almost molding bread**. So I scoured the cupboards for some sort of morning meal replacement. 'Lo and behold! The Tupperware of Polenta was available, and I had heard on some Food Network show sometime long ago that Polenta was eaten as a warm breakfast cereal. So that's what I made, and boy is it good. I want you to try it.

Creamy Breakfast Polenta with Fresh Fruit and Sweetened Sour Cream
Prep Time : 30 minutes
Makes enough for 2 hungry hungry hippos

  • 1/2 cup polenta (I think it really is just coarse corn meal. Lets pretend I know what I'm talking about)

  • 2 cups milk

  • 1 cup water

  • 1 1/2 TBS sugar

  • 1/2 TBS salted butter

  • Large Dash o salt

Combine everything but the polenta into a saucepan, bring to a boil, stirring (don't scald the milk to the bottom of the pan, man that's a mess). Once boiling, pour in polenta while stirring to avoid lumps. Mix mix mix until lumps have been eradiated. Turn the stove down such that you have a very gentle simmer going on.

Every 5 minutes or so give it a stir, let cook for about half an hour until thick and soft.

Sweetened Sour Cream which is heavenly should be served with the cereal - stir a hand-dash** of sugar with about half a cup of sour cream.
Also recommended, fresh fruit (or maybe jam? Sounds too sweet to me though, maybe nuts. yes, nuts would be good).
We ate ours with sliced strawberries. JOY!

*We have food
**Dear lord, do you think I'm serious??
**Hand-Dash: A quick handful, not a tight fisted one, just kinda throw your hand in the jar and scoop some out. Maybe an 1/8 cup, maybe less. I guess. I have no idea.

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