Monday, 14 January 2013

The curse of number 13 & a fantastic 90th birthday cake!

13.1.13 - So it's just another ordinary Sunday to the non superstitious people, like myself...

To prove a point I've broken mirrors, walked under ladders, trodden on cracks, seen singular magpies & not saluted them etc, etc!

I wake up, make a coffee, feed the kids, tidy the kitchen & set about getting everything ready for the cake I'm about to assemble n decorate... Everything is going to plan, or so I think!

The fact is though, after I post a status on my cakey Facebook page this is where either a) I'm cursed or b) the day was cursed!!!

At 9:43 am I set my pages status as: it's time to fill, crumb coat, regal ice & decorate the 90th birthday cake with lots of prettification now! Hehe

So I open a new cake drum, add a little buttercream frosting to it & put the bottom layer down... Brilliant all going well, pause to put kids bowls in dishwasher while the strawberry jam is heating gently in the microwave.

My dad calls by unexpected, the microwave pings & I remove the jam n stir, setting this to one side while we chat cake, family, life & I make a coffee for him, then carry on with putting the buttercream frosting in the middle of the cake to fill - I then say goodbye to my dad.

Next I put the top layer on the bottom & chill the whole cake in the fridge to set the buttercream frosting before I crumb coat (oblivious to my error at this point) I'm happily singing along to Olly Murrs, chatting with my lil princess Anneliese totally unaware.

The cake is removed from the fridge & I'm crumb coating it with buttercream frosting, I just finish levelling it all perfectly when lil miss pipes up "is it time for the jam to go on now mommy?!"

Oh my freaking days!!!! I'm mortified, I see the cooled jam sat there in the prep dish just waiting - so I'm looking at the perfectly crumb coated cake, thinking what am I gonna do now (it's 11:30)...

Ok, don't panic Lynda I say to myself... So I think maybe if I'm extra careful I can just separate the layers & put the jam in, then tidy up the crumb coat again - this should work right?!

Wrong..... As I delicately start to ease the top layer off the bottom it starts ripping - Eeeeeek!!! Not wanting to give up I carry on with a few explicit words firing out my mouth (Gordon Ramsey has nothing on me) ooops.

The top is off (minus a few mm from the base) & I start to level the buttercream frosting on the bottom layer to add the jam but it is full of crumbs where the bottom of the top separated off, I add the jam all the same but my stress levels had gone beyond breaking point for the week (it has,been a week n a half for me & this is where it gets messy) - the top layer is back on but then... I loose it as I know it is not perfect, I have OCD & I'm not happy, what would the recipient think???

Still cursing for England (poor hubby is washing the girls hair) I start screaming how the cake is ruined (not the word I used, but I'm censoring this blog) that nobody cares, I'm a failure etc, etc, etc - I then ask if anyone wants the stupid cake, screaming I'm gonna have to start again but I have just 5 hours to do it all.

Now this next point will sound hilarious but believe me, it was lucky I was the only living thing in the kitchen at the time... I grabbed the bread knife from the drawer & physically took it out on the innocent cake - I think I should've been sat in the corner rocking or carted off to a mental asylum!

Lookie what happened to it!!! I was completely mentally unstable, after screeching at my hubby to hold me & tell me it'll be alright, he helped me set about from scratch it was midday - I don't think I've ever knocked a Victoria sponge out so quick & I didn't even use my trusty bible (my guru's book) for back up confidence... He weighed as I shouted out ingredients & quantities, I mixed, it worked quite well having an extra pair of hands!

It was quite tense in the kitchen though. I quickly vented my frustrations to some very good cakey friends but in the brief format (bet you're all reading this now eh?!) & put a new status on my page: time for a new cakey blog after this creation is finished me thinks! Lol x

Once the cake was safely in the oven hubby went off to sort sons hair out with the clippers, while I whipped up another batch of vanilla buttercream frosting.

I then set about making a fondant open rose, 5 rose buds, 6 leaves & a butterfly, during the process of this I had to pause to get the cake out the oven, restart whole it cooled in the tins for 5 mins, turn the cake onto cooling racks to finish cooling completely & continue to work with the fondant!

It was 1.50 by the time I'd finished all this, yes I was panicking as I needed to be finished by 5pm latest... The cake was being collected at 5.30 & I was due out at 5.50 for a belated Christmas party!!!

I have a clear up from my modelling with fondant & pit all the ingredients away, wash up the cake pans & pieces from my Kitchenaid, then recreate my assembling workspace. The new cake is thoroughly cooled (so glad it's winter, aids the cooling process) & start again where I had started over 4 hours ago.

De ja vous: cake board, frosting, bottom layer, frosting...

Yay I remembered the jam!!! Top layer, crumb coat & set in fridge while I roll regal icing (fondant) out to cover it. This took two attempts as the regal ice was a little bit dry & cracked the first time, soon sorted that out with a bit of Trex though!

Covered the cake with ease, smoothed, polished & trimmed the excess off... I had my blank canvas finally to add the magic.

Phew it looked like the curse had lifted or so I thought, had it?!

I got my pink royal icing ready gave it a refreshing beating, had my icing tips already layed out, my bag was waiting with a coupler in, had my trust highball glass to hold my icing bag, I placed the cake on my turntable & put the first tip on to pipe the edges.....

On with the filling, I wondered if my royal icing was a bit too thin? So tested a rosette on a lid, it seemed ok (I think I looked away too quick as was stressing about the time), so I went about piping the first row around the base of the cake - insert sinister music here, da da da daaaah! Disaster strikes again, by the time I'd got half way round the original starting point had lost its form like a melting snowman!

I could cry again, yes I physically was like Niagara Falls when I had my mental breakdown after cake one! But no, I can do this... So I carefully scrape off the fallen royal icing, very carefully clean the cake drum with some kitchen towel & baked water, then empty my piping bag back to a bowl & add some more icing sugar to stiffen it to a more piping consistency - great!!!

FFS, I made it too thick & it was hell to pipe... After the initial base piping I change tips & add a smaller rosette above the random shellish pattern, it looks ok, I change the tip again & add a ruffle type edge to the top - fantastic it's starting to look good.

I then start gluing on the rose, rose buds, leaves & butterfly, it's a delicate job & you can't rush it. I then put my writing tip on the coupler to add the wording - grrrr, grrrrr, grrrrrrrrrrr the royal icing is now too thick for my writing tip!

Good job I always test on a lid before cake else it could've killed it completely again beyond fixing at this point - so quickly I emptied the bag back into the bowl, added some lemon juice & thinned it out, while hubby had to wash the tip out for me... It was 4.30, the kitchen looked like a bomb site for me!

I refilled the bag, piped the wording & then set about  adding the ribbons, I royal iced the first in place, then the second & then royal iced a bow together & royal iced that on to the front... Finally the cake was finished it was 4.40!!!

But the story doesn't end there, oh no......

The box that I had out ready for the cake was too shallow with the rose decoration on top, if I hadn't noticed I could've killed it again! I folded that box back up & got a taller box, I then proceeded to take photos quickly before boxing it up (also got a couple of it in the box). I could now almost finally breathe easy, but urgh the kitchen was a freaking mess!

Now I can't stand leaving my kitchen in disarray, hubby offered to do it but I just had to pitch in & get it just right. I dived in the shower at 5.05 (remember out by 5.50, cake collected 5.30), I literally had got out, dried & thrown my dressing gown on, when I heard the knock on the door - good job I knew the lady eh?! Hubby sorted Lisa out with the cake for her nan, I said a quick "Hi" & ran upstairs to get dressed & dry my hair.

I actually just managed to pull this one off in the nic of time, it just goes to show what pressures us home cakers go through... After all we are human & not robot or machine as per your average shop brought mass produced £10 cake.

Hope you like the end result, I think it turned out incredibly well... How about you???

Happy caking y'all x

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