Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Pat-a-Cake, Pat-a-Cake...

It's amazing how pending motherhood changes women: they seem to develop the strangest and most wonderful skills, often in areas never explored before. I have not escaped this, and have found it to be true, most notably, in the kitchen!

Despite Andel's often public declaration of "we can't really cook and stuff" (by the way, I like how I cook just fine - I choose not to make stews!), I have never spent more time in my kitchen - or my mom's or sister's or any one I can get into - than over these last 9 months! And I'm not spending my time experimenting with gourmet sarmies. I, my friends, am baking!

I have tried and tweaked recipes for cookies, brownies, cupcakes, muffins and baked desserts, and I was pretty happy with that for a while. But then, after following all Tarrin's culinary designs with a drool and a dream for tea and cake, I wanted to attempt a proper cake - one with rolled icing and everything. So I decided I would make one for Ethan's dedication (not like I really needed an occasion).

Clearly, being pregnant has also made me a little loony: I don't think it's at all sensible to make your first attempt the day before the cake is required, but that's exactly what I did. And, needless to say, when I got to Ash I realised I'd forgotten most of the essential ingredients and tools at home! Still, I was determined to make this cake, come hell or broken water!

While the cake was baking, I started rolling out more than half a kilo of icing - and got a good upper body workout in the process!

Once the cakes (two different sizes!) had cooled (and been successfully stuck together with chocolate icing) Ash helped me cover it with the rolled icing.

Then came the trimming and styling. I don't yet know to get it smooth and flat without destroying the entire thing!

The decorating: my favourite part! There was even enough icing to make a necklace of pure sugar around the base.

I was pretty impressed at being able to create all the letters (even though I did screw them up later in the process).

Initially I was told that liquid food colouring would disintegrate all the icing, so I braved it out and began painstakingly hand-painting in bits of blue to add some much needed colour!
Well, what do you know: the colour didn't disintegrate the icing after all! It was a little late to make any drastic changes, but at least we managed to make it look somewhat less clinical!

The final product: double chocolate sponge cake with chocolate butter icing, covered in a rolled icing.

In retrospect, I think I'm better at conceptualising the cake than actually making it. I suppose it turned out ok though. Considering that I managed to do almost everything wrong, I was quite happy that the cake made it to the dedication, and even to Jorja's birthday, and that everyone who had a slice was left smiling and satisfied!

I would not recommend that any 38+ week pregnant women attempt this!
(After 6 hours on my feet I nearly missed the dedication altogether to give birth!)