Friday, January 9, 2009

Make your cake and eat it too

When I was 14, I learned to bake a fancy European layered torte. The cake was made of eggs and sugar and grated nuts, and had coffee and chocolate icing. It was exquisite. Thus I became the family baker at a young age. I just didn’t know how to decorate my cakes to make them look as
fancy as they tasted.

Last month at a local Jo-Ann store, I signed up for a Wilton cake-decorating class. But why stop there? I signed up Alexandra and Larissa as well. They needn’t wait until they’re middle-aged to decorate a cake; they could start out baking cakes and decorating them at the same time! They already bake fancy cookies – why not fancy cakes? So off we went to class last month, not realizing just how much we’d learn in three short sessions.

The best part? The classes were during the day, so we were the only three students in the class! Four is the minimum number of students for a class to run, but the fourth class member got pneumonia and couldn’t make it. But the teacher ran the class anyway. It was like a private, intimate tutoring session for just us three!

I must admit that baking three cakes each week so we’d each have a cake to decorate became rather insane. The kitchen showed the remnants of our splattered struggles to bake and mix. We had to make enough icing for three cakes plus extra for practice, and that is a LOT of icing! Spatulas and cake platters, parchment triangles and decorating tips, and pounds and pounds of icing sugar bedecked the kitchen counters. We even sent out Dad for late-night icing sugar runs. I had no idea how much sugar went into this type of icing!

Then we had to schlep our cakes and containers of icing, color gels and toothpicks, aprons and sponges, books and spatulas, decorating tips and bags… And after class – what do you do with three cakes? We’d eat one and give the other two away to neighbors and friends!


a kelly said...

Years ago I made a similar torte and lost the you know an online source that has this type with eggs,sugar and nuts? I just remember there being no flour which is perfect now that I am gluten free.
Your cakes are beautiful. What a fun experience for you and the girls!

Faith said...

I don't know an online version. I have this one memorized. The proportions are for every egg, there is one heaping tablespoon of powdered sugar and one heaping tablespoon of ground nuts (walnuts, pecans, almonds or hazelnuts). Separate the egg whites from the yolks, beat the egg white until peaks form, then set aside. Next, beat together the yolks, sugar, and nuts. Fold in the egg whites, then pour the mixture into a greased and floured cake pan. For an 8-inch round pan, I use 6 eggs. It takes two such layers to make a torte, and I cut each of the two layers in half and spread with icing between each of the layers.

Hope this helps.

Faith said...

Oops, I realize I said "floured" cake pan. My mother used to use breadcrumbs instead of flour. Use anything that's gluten-free!

Molytail said...

what a fun class, and how awesome that it was small and just you guys! I don't know if I'd have the patience to do the fancy decorating!

The Reluctant Homeschooler said...

It's not hard. Really. And it's a lot of fun. Sure looks hard, though, until someone actually shows you how.

Dana said...

What beautiful cakes! I'm sure your neighbors were thrilled to be the lucky recipients. I look forward to doing this when my daughter is older.

Dana @ oursunnyside

gina said...

How fabulous! Kind of makes me wish I lived on your street.

Here via the carnival, glad I fund you- I'm adding you to my blog list!!

The Reluctant Homeschooler said...

Thanks, Gina! I wish I had another homeschooling family on the street. Your girls would be a lot of fun!

Diamond to Be said...

Here from the Carnival, also. These cakes are beautiful! What a fun class. Maybe this caterer's tip (no, not me) won't apply to cakes that are going to be frosted, but you can use sugar instead of flour to "flour" your pans. It does away with the powdery look and adds richness. I have done this with a sugar/cinnamon mixture also with great results.

What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us; what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal.”
— Albert Pike, Scottish Rite Freemason (1809-1891)