Sunday, May 4, 2014

Royal Icing is a Royal Pain in my...

Hand. What did you think I was going to say? Okay, given my propensity for colorful language, I can see how that was misleading, and I apologize. So here's a picture of a really pretty cake I made this weekend to make up for it:
Straightforward- simply cake by Kate.
Better? Yes. Moving on then...this little lovely lady did not take me anywhere NEAR as long as last week's petal cake. However, I have found that I have an extreme love/hate relationship with royal frosting. That's the stuff the flowers are all made out of...pretty much just a buttload of powdered sugar, with a sprinkling of H20 and meringue powder. Now, since life likes to make my path to victory and world domination through cute cakes as muddled as possible, let me tell you about how these flowers almost became the tasty death of me.

Wilton and the people who made my meringue (I have to sound it out as I type it so as not to misspell it- mur-an-gay! ole!)  powder have totally conflicting ideas on how one should go about making royal icing. And in both cases, they were WRONG. The first batch I tried to make via Wilton's methods, and my icing ending up like a runny booger...yum. The second I put it into a piping bag, it was running out so profusely it was like the nose of an allergy-ridden person sitting in a room full of twenty cats and fresh cut dandelions. Not one to give up on the first try (that's a total lie), I went for round two with the meringue powder's recipe. Once again I was left with snot-like icing. Boogergate really got me down, so I turned to my dear friend the internet to figure out what I was doing wrong aside from wasting copious amounts of powdered sugar. I was covered in so much sugar I know I had to look like I was fresh off a week-long coke binge. Cakes and drug references all in one guys are so fortunate to know me. I'm still finding sugary film on random kitchen accoutrements. But apparently my problem is that I'm too trusting in recipes from well-known baking companies (filthy liars), and you should never add as much water as they tell you to create royal frosting. The third time was truly a charm, and I spent quite some time piping out drop flowers:
So many flowers, so much hand cramping.
Here's the thing about stiff icing- it's stiff. So stiff that I had to take breaks after a few columns or my hand certainly would've fallen off. I've been told I grossly over exaggerate things, but I'm almost positive that's how it would've gone down. I'm very happy with how they turned out, and after a night out to dry, these little babies were as hard as a tasty little hockey puck that melts on your tongue. I know because I tried you can see from the empty spaces in the picture above.

My friends that I caked for this weekend requested a chocolate cake. I've yet to do chocolate because I feared it would require at least 35 gallons of white frosting to cover up the cake's dark color. I was completely right (victory!). I ended up piping lots of decorations on the side to help conceal the chocolate below. That sounds like a really bad title for a romance novel...The Chocolate Below, a novel about one baker's lust for chocolate and sex with some guy who bears a striking resemblance to Count Chocula.

Annnyyywayyy...I have been watching Youtube video after Youtube video on how to smooth canned icing on to a cake, and well, I suck at it, but have gotten better thanks to the videos...
Them sides are almost as smooth as a baby's tushy.
I know, if I want smooth cakes, why not use fondant instead? Because fondant is awful and I should kick you for even suggesting that without actually suggesting that. Cakes are made to be eaten! Fondant, I'm almost certain, is made to outlast an atomic bomb. So that really can't be good for your digestive tract...and icing is the whole reason to eat a cake anyway! I am 100 percent positive that if it was socially acceptable, people would just gather around giant tubs of icing with their preferred spoon at weddings, birthdays, and other festivities and go to town. I want to live in that world. But as I was smoothing my icing yesterday to the sultry sounds of Shirley Manson and the boys of Garbage, her singing "Go baby go go" inspired me to press on.
This woman is perfect, and I hope she would like my cakes.
Annnnd I pressed right on to adding some gorgeous sprinkles to the top of my cake. Because sprinkles say "I'm here to party," and not "I quit trying to do this before I suffered a mental breakdown." 
Sprinkles make everything better.
Overall, I am quite happy with how "pretty" this cake turned out to be. I know I am going to have to start making my own butter cream frosting in order to do the "paper towel trick" to smooth out my icing and have that blemish-free cake of my dreams. I'm so getting on that level, people. Next week I am venturing into barely explored territory and frosting a cake with chocolate icing. I'm hoping it doesn't turn out looking like a giant piece of poo, but you'll find out all about that in a week's time. And although it is extremely hard not to dive in to a cake after it makes my house smell like a delicious paradise, the real victim in all of this is Hank the cowdog. He hopes (and salivates) with all his might and cuteness that Mom may drop the odd piece of frosting or cake on the floor, but to no avail. Instead she just tortures him by making the house smell completely edible. Til next time, my fellow eaters!
"Hi! Don't forget about me being super cute down here
and posing for all your crazy ass photos, MOM."


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