I'm not much of a cake decorator. The vast majority of gateaux I make keep unadorned until they are served and then they are accompanied with a scoop of ice cream, some chocolate or caramel sauce, or a big dollop of flavoured whipped cream. Cupcakes usually meet a similar fate.
I find cake decorating frustrating. I know about crumb-coats and all that, but I just am not good at dolloping and smoothing. i end up with mounds of crumb and cream which, in frustration gets showered with coloured sprinkly bits.
I know it's a matter of patience and practice (both qualities of which I'm in short supply) so generally the only time I attempt frosted frippery is when there's a reason: a birthday, an anniversary or, well, I get inspired.
I'm always in awe of the talents some people have when it comes to edible artwork. They don't have to be as ornate as the ones Duff Goldman of Charm City Cakes makes, they can just be very simply frosted.
So...when it came time for the exbf's birthday a few weeks ago, trepidation trotted across my toes. His first request was a shoo-fly pie...which I had to veto (things that sweet will set off a migraine)...then was the request for a Cadbury Creme Egg cake (no, not a cake decorated with creme eggs, but the a large mound of fondant enrobed in couverature), which I talked him out of. He finally settled on Dorie Greenspan's White-Out Cake--yes, the one that's on the cover of her Baking tome.
The cake itself was no problem whatsoever: slabs of chocolate chocolate chunk devil's food cake. YUM. It was the frosting that cowed me. I've never made a boiled icing before. I had visions of getting distracted and instead of white, marshmallowy goodness magically appearing, a hardened lump of carbon would be formed at the bottom of the bowl. I am very happy to say that the frosting came out beautifully and reminded me of big white fluffy clouds, all satin-sheened, luminous and (well) gorgeous...if I do say so myself...
Unfortunately, those billowy soft mounds eventually fell prey to my inability to assemble anything close to an elegant cake. All I have to say is thank goodness the recommended decoration was cake crumbs.
tags: Cakes Dorie Dreenspan
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