Monday, December 19, 2011

Fish Cake

I was running a little late for my class this week.  Our assignment was to make a cake and bring it to class.  There we would level it, torte it, frost it and decorate.  As I walked through the door, lugging my two bags and my cake carrier, a strange site met my eyes.  One of the women in my class was standing there scraping her blackened cake.

So she had decided to make an angel food cake for class.  Not the best kind of cake for decorating with frosting.  Her cake didn't rise and it burned pretty nicely.  I fear that if she ever does make wedding cakes for her franchise, she is destined to end up on Cake Wrecks.  (If you don't know what that is, click here  And say goodbye to about an hour of your time).

At the other end of the table was the culinary arts student.  She had brought one of those tutti frutti cakes which turned out fine.  The problem was that it was tiny!  At most it was 5", smaller than the design we were supposed to put on it.

I fear that I am in danger of becoming the teacher's pet.  We didn't even have to level my cake - due to my use of the ever helpful baking strips (thank you Bethany!!!).

When Bethany told me about the baking strips, I still didn't really believe they would work.
Look how almost completely flat that is!

Since I was the only one who remembered to bring my filling, we torted my cake.  Torting a cake basically means you cut it in half and add the filling.  Of course you have to make your dam to ensure that the filling doesn't leak out and ruin the look of your frosted cake.  I steered away from my usually chocolate or raspberry filling and used an apricot filling instead, just to vary it up a little.  (Side note - never use pie filling in a cake.  Pie filling has extra water that is meant to cook off so it will make your cake super soggy.  My favorite filling is raspberry jam mixed with whipped cream with a few fresh raspberries scattered about.)

Then we frosted the cake.  I had worked really hard to make my frosting the correct consistency and it turned out great.  I also discovered that I LOVE my turntable.

I had never used one before.  I always move myself around the table instead of moving the cake.  This usually ends up creating a huge mess and I take over the entire kitchen.  The turntable simply turns the cake where you want it (and it's easy to wash!).  I know that this seems obvious - but it really is going to make my life soooooooo much easier.  At least cakewise.

Then we learned how to transfer a design onto your cake using piping gel.  My friend Kiri had used this technique, but I had never done it before.  I had only used rice paper for designs.  It turns out this is fairly simple too.  I chose the fish design.  We also learned how to smooth out your frosted cake.  This has frustrated me numerous times.  My buttercream never ever looks smooth.  I was completely baffled as to how other people could make it look so lovely.  The secret?  Parchment paper and your hands.  Seriously.  The warmth of your hands smooths it out as you gently rub it under the parchment paper.  Genius.

I mean look at how smooth that looks!
(Just click on any of the pictures if you want a closer look)
Later at home I added the dots.  We worked on those in class - mine usually end up looking like Hershey's kisses.  But I'm improving.  Dots are a lot harder than they look.

By the time I added the dots on the border, my frosting had been melting and it was the wrong consistency. But I wanted to finish the cake, so I piped them anyway.

Here's the Wilton example:
They call it the Undersea Adventure.  I just called it the fish cake.
And yes, I know the fish is facing the other way.

Taste Verdict: Better than expected.  
          The frosting isn't as good as the recipe with butter in it, but it wasn't that bad.  I liked the apricot
          filling, but I still prefer the raspberry.  Most of the family enjoyed it.

Next Lesson: Cupcakes.

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