Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Blue Velvet is the Best Velvet

Today, Derek and I celebrate what we call our "nananiversary." This just so happens to be our third nananiversary. This is similar to an unbirthday, but with much more importance. Three years ago, Derek and I went to the Justice of the Peace and married six months before our big wedding. This will come as a shock to no one who understands military life. There was a large chance Derek would be deploying before our big wedding in April, so he wanted to make sure we were legally wed in the event the worst case scenario happened when he was at war, and that I would be provided for if this occurred. This is the reality that we live in, and I have an absolutely amazing husband that does everything in his power to ensure I am content and have a life that I consider to be an absolute dream. I am still not sure someone as cranky and uppity as I can be deserves such a devoted partner! I consider myself very fortunate, and I baked a blue velvet cake to celebrate our big "non-aversary" (I also bought us some bitchin' games for the Nintendo64 Derek got me). I think this is how we ended up coining it as our nananiversary...because we didn't truly become husband and wife until we took our vows in front of God, our family, and our friends on April 7, 2012 in Oak Arbor Church, nestled in the woods in Rochester, Michigan. Cue the slideshow...
My creation: Abstract meets organization- the cake version of D and me, pretty much.
Celebrating our J.P. ceremony with friends at one of Clovis's "finest," a.k.a, "most expensive" restaurants.

We like each other so much, we married each other twice. As you can see, cake has always played an important part in our relationship...
I literally start drooling when I think about how good our wedding cake was. Chocolate with a chocolate ganache and butter cream icing with cornelli lace decoration. I mean, not that the rest of the wedding wasn't absolutely spectacular- because it was- but cake tasting and cake eating were probably some of my favorite parts of the whole experience. Also, my wonderful stepdad (who also shares his birthday with our nananiversary so selflessly), made the coolest groom's cake to ever exist:
Yes, that IS an AC130H Spectre Gunship cake, complete with working lights and props.
Again, cake is really important to my entire family. So I wanted to learn how to do cornelli lace to make a tribute to the greatest cake in the world (the cake of destiny, if you will). When I found out how easy it was, I nearly kicked myself for not saving a couple hundred bucks and making the wedding cake my damn self. I am clearly in the wrong line of work with this whole noble college instructor business, trying to teach adults how to write proficiently. Let them eat cake, and let me show you how to let them! Let me also fail at brevity!
Yeah, its a box cake...but we're gonna make it taste like a bakery cake! Really!
I know, I know, I'm usually on an "everything from scratch" kick, but Duncan Hines really got their stuff together with this blue velvet box cake. Just make a few changes, and you'll have a much richer-tasting cake. Use milk instead of water, double the amount of butter, and add an extra egg. I am a huge fan of blue velvet cake. It is not NEARLY as heavy as red velvet, and frankly, I like to be able to eat what some may call an absurdly large piece of cake without feeling like I may sink if knocked into a puddle of water. They say absurd, I say shut up. So we'll be skipping the mixing of ingredients and baking info here because they're totes magotes on the box. On to the frosting!!
Ahh, Crisco sandwiched between extract, a baker's dream.
I did use homemade frosting for this cake because I wanted to be able to use the paper towel trick to smooth things out. This frosting is super easy to whip up, minus the fact that you and everything you own will be covered with powdered sugar after you make it. Just combine one cup of Crisco with a teaspoon of vanilla and half a teaspoon of almond extracts. Once these have blended nicely, add in one cup of powdered sugar, and mix. Then add another cup of powdered sugar, and mix. Then add two tablespoons of milk, and mix. Repeat the sugar/sugar/milk/duck/duck/goose business one more time. If you want to dye your frosting, use gel frosting and do it at the very end. Since I was going for more of an angelic/romantic (yeah, on purpose, whataboutit?) look, I wanted plain white frosting.
Stack your cakes, frosting in between the two levels, of course.
Do not forget the all-important crumb coat!! Then place in the freezer for 20 minutes so it can harden,
like most things do when you place them in the freezer for 20 minutes.
Then use the remainder of the frosting to frost the cake, and place back in the freezer for 20 minutes.
Once you remove it, take your Viva paper towel and use it to smooth out any lumps or bumps.
While my cake was freezing, I went ahead and whipped up another half a batch of the homemade frosting. This is for the cornelli lace, so it needs to be super thin. So, half a cup of Crisco, half a teaspoon of vanilla, a dash of almond, two cups of powdered sugar, but keep the four tablespoons of milk to thin things out. The thing about cornelli lace, you gotta use a lot of pressure while doing it, so unless you enjoy having claw hands and forcing arthritis on yourself, thin that icing out, yo! But man alive, it is so much fun and so EASY to do. Place your icing into a piping bag with a number 1 or number 2 Wilton tip. Then you just go crazy with the swirly lines! I call this the amoeba effect. Never have single-celled organisms looked so tasty.
You just don't want the lace to intersect or touch at any point.
Start at the very bottom of the cake, and swirl around making various "s" shapes.
I later added a border at the bottom of the cake,
so this is why I worked my way from bottom to top with my squiggly lines.

You don't want to be able to tell where the cornelli lace starts or ends, either.
Once I added my top and bottom borders, I filled in more lace at the top.
Why? Why did I not know how easy this was? It is one of those things that when executed properly, makes you look like a friggin' cake genius. And I think we all know how much I like looking like ANY kind of genius, so this is right up my alley. I now must resist the urge to cornelli lace all the things. I also tried a new border technique for this cake, and its success has made my head so large it is hard to fit through normal, non-genius sized doorways. Let me teach you my ways, oh normal-headed one.
Start by fitting tip 21 to a piping bag, and add in decorator-consistency frosting.
I wanted a color that nicely accented the cake's white frosting,
so I went with the same blue of the cake itself.

Now, make an S shape on the bottom of your cake,
ensuring you have space under the first "hump."
Then, bury your tip in the hump, and draw another S shape.
This will cross OVER the top of your first S.

Repeat this S-hump filling (teehee, that sounds naughty) around the entire border.
Now you can see why this is called a rope technique. I simply repeated the same process on the top of the cake, and it really does look like a braided rope. Man, I love it when things work according to plan. Surprise, surprise, I added sprinkles. They will never go out of cake fashion!
This. This is my masterpiece. My tasty, tasty masterpiece. I mentioned this was for my husband, right? I waited for him to come home to eat any, I SWEAR. This is another one of the few instances when my husband doesn't lose the battle with my insane OCD tendencies. Also, the fact that I made sure our wedding anniversaries are exactly six months apart to the day- I made things super easy for him with my uberorganization. Did I mention my birthday is on January 7th as well? He pretty much just has to check the calendar on the 7th of each month to make sure nothing important is going on. Why yes, I do think this makes me sound like a good wife and not someone who is in desperate need of a padded cell.
Get in mah bellay!
Yeah, we totally cut the cake Sunday evening after I finished decorating it. Wait two whole days? I think I've made it vehemently clear it was hard enough just to wait for him to come home from watching football, let alone wait TWO WHOLE DAYS? Pfft...we all know I have literally no will power when it comes to cake. She is my mistress. Always tempting me and later filling me with regret (and calories). At least we indulge as a married couple, right? If eating a lot of cake together is the worst thing we're doing, I think we're solid. My husband seems to have a tapeworm that keeps him in impossibly good shape (we call him Tommy Tapes...seriously), and I have Jillian Michaels to kick my uppity, cake-eating ass.
This cake also paired nicely with the bouquet Derek bought me!
A Fox family win!
We're going to enjoy eating this cake for the next few days, until our insides are completely dyed blue (this gives me the opportunity to say 'I blue myself' at least five times). After a romantic trip, or my idea of a romantic trip, to go watch hockey and drink in a real bar, I'll be back next week to blog about making more treats for your pampered pooch! Til next time, my fellow eaters!


  1. Beautiful cake. Hope it tasted as good as it looks. Yeah, right.... There was no way there was time for you to make your wedding cake! I thought we might all die from the creation of the groom's cake!

  2. haha, if our travel plans hadn't been so disastrous...maaaayyybe.


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