Saturday, June 10, 2006

An Attempt To Be More Ambitious In Baking

My family is weird. They claim that they don't like sweet but they do eat them. Yet... when I bake a cake, usually they are left uneaten for a long time and usually I just dump them at the end in the trash can.... so sad....

Above is my first cheese cake that I bake 2 weeks ago that now is at the bottom of my trash can .... The cheese cake is delicious but I just could not eat it alone. I gained like 8 lbs when first time I found the joy of eating cheese cake back in the University when I just arrived in the States. When I told my husband that I just throw away the most expensive cake I made , this is our conversation:

Me: "Honey, I just throw the most expensive cake I made to the trash can!"
Honey: "But why?"
Me: "It's been in the fridge for 2 weeks!"
Honey: "Why didn't you tell me to eat it?"
Me: "?????"

It's the unpredictability that makes me never try hard to bake a cake. Baking a cake is a science, they are I think the hardest thing to do. Oh my goodness... I have tons of storry on my baking disaster! The agony of watching your beautiful batter just go "flop!", or the cake looks like pizza leaning tower in Italy and many more. I think I am the only person that I know that can not even bake a cake out of a box! I hate to admit this , yes... I am a baking chalenge! Maybe I should just buy that book for dummy thing that can teach me how to bake a cake.

Making a dinner is easy, even when you have an accident, maybe a little too tough, or a little too salty, you can always able to compesate it. But baking a cake is so unforgiving! You made the tiniest mistake and there goes your cake down to the trash can....

This is why I did not want to buy a kitchen scale.... For me, kitchen scale is just for making a cake which I rarely do anyway.

The worst disaster I did with the cake mix was when I made my son's first birthday cake. I had to do it 3 times! Even my mom tried to help out and she made 1. The story goes like this, first I find a kids birthday cake design that should be so easy that even someone like me can make it ( or so I thought! ). It says I should use a box of cake mix, then buy a can of icing, some candies in different shapes, then use my mixing bowl to bake the cake so it has a half a ball shape. Should be easy right? First make the cake. Then when the cake is cool enough, I should nook the icing can in the microwave so they turn to more liquid form so I can pour it over the cake. Proceed with decorating the cake with the candies.

At first I was a littl ambitious, so I made my own cake. It went "Flop!"....

Then I use the cake mix. It went "Flop!"....

Then my mom took over, she made the cake from scratch, It went "Flop!"....

For the last time, I made again with a cake mix, taking a special precaution at reading the instructions ( How hard can it be??? ). Well... it did not went flop, it looks alright so I use this last cake for the birthday cake. Then I heat up the icing as instructed, and pour it over the cake. Easy enough. Then I started decorating the cake with the candies which was a lot of fun.

My original plan was, I want my son to really dig in with the cake. Like jump in there. Make a mess and I am going to take his picture with his face full of icing.

There are 3 problems with making this plan real. First, the icing turn out to be as tough as a plaster. Second, the cake is so dense, I think someone can get a contusion if I throw this cake to their head! Third, that time I did not have enough experience with digital camera so even though the situation at that time was funny, we ( my husband and me ) messed up the camera so badly ( we are both too lazy to read the manual at that time ) that every pictures we took turn dark!!!! The result of this disaster... my son cried his heart out, maybe because he got hurt when he tried to "dig-in" into the cake....

In my previous blog, I mention that before I move to Indonesia, while I am still in Canada, I would like to try things that either I never tried it before or it's been a a while since I tried it before. Last time, for the first time I cook artichoke. This time, I am going to overcome my fear of baking a cake out of the box!

There is also another reason why I bravely want to make a cake today. I just bought several baking tools that I would like to try if they works. The first was a cake slicer. To make a cake level you should cut the rounded top of and when I did this usually, I never can make a level slice so I bought this tool to help me make an even level cake. It does work!

Then I want to try a silicon paper for the bottom of the cake pan to make sure that the cake will release from the pan easily. This silicon paper is already pre-cut precisely so they will fit an 8-inch round cake pan, or a 9-inch cake pan, or even square one. They also come in a much large size for the bottom of your oven so it's easy to clean up when you make a mess down there. Again, they works beautifully as you can see in this picture.

Another "First" thing that I want to try is putting a marzipan layer on my cake. So I bought the marzipan then I put it in the microwave for 30 seconds and then knead them with confectioner sugar on top of my silicon mat so they won't stick to my counter table. They are a lot stickier than what I thought previously. But now that I know, I think it would be a lot easier for me to use them in the future if I want to try again.I love marzipan! The left over of the marzipan, I gave it to Kai Kai, and he had tons of fun with it. He use it like a playdough

Then I open an icing can and start applying it to my cake. Oh yeah I forgot to mention that after I leveled my cake, I made a simple syrup with 2 tbs of brandy in it and brush it over the cake to make it more moist ( I saw this trick on FoodTV ). Then when I stack the cake, I applied a little icing/frosting in between the cake before I cover it up with marzipan.

Now, here is the end result sitting in my fridge .... ta da! I did it this time! YEAH!!!

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