Tuesday, August 26, 2008


My sisters Marie and Ellen and I took a cake decorating class at Michael's recently. Now, if you have had any experience cooking, baking, or decorating near me, you may know that I am a mess and I enjoy making a mess. When Matthew and I first started dating, we tried cooking together and it freaked both of us out. I couldn't believe that he thought there really was a "right way" to stir cake batter (I think it is clockwise, according to him) and he couldn't believe that I could get flour and sugar over the entire surface of the counter without even trying. I have a hard time doing things precisely or carefully. It is really strange. My mind kind of fights it. I prefer chaos, I guess.

So, me and my sisters took this royal icing decorating class. It was so fun to hang out with my sisters for three hours a week and just kind of goof off a little and learn something new. The sole reason I took the class was to hang out with Marie and Ellen; I could care less about cake decorating. It was fun, though, to learn a new skill. I don't do a lot of decorating of cakes or anything else and don't really plan to in the future, but my skills will come in handy for the annual gingerbread house making, I hope! I suppose when I have some kids I could decorate some things to amuse them.

Ellen and Marie are both very good in the kitchen and extremely crafty with decorating and the like. In the class, I was usually covered in frosting and behind. Marie and Ellen were generally the shining stars. Ellen is very generous and took care of us. She made sure we were signed up for the class and made frosting and bought me tips for my birthday. She was my little cake mom.

For the final project we had to make a cake, frost it, and then decorate it with all the frosting flowers we had been making in the class so far. We also had to pipe a basket weave design all over the cake. Yeah, basket weave. That killed me the most. It was so hideous! At least mine was! I don't know enough about cake decorating to know what decade the basket weave may have been popular in, but I suspect it was not this one (nor the last). The decorating of the cake went okay. I made my basket weave decently and the flowers and birds I created over the previous weeks looked okay. I loaded them onto the cake as I felt inspired and it turned out worse than I pictured it would- but a lot like the cake on the front of the brochure to the manual for the class. That comforted me a little.

My biggest problem came when I tried to get the little masterpiece home. My sister, Ellen, took off right after class with her cute little cake. Marie and I got to talking and couldn't really talk outside because it was raining, so I put my cake in my hot, humid car, sitting on my passenger seat on a precarious slant. What could go wrong? I then got into Marie's air conditioned car where her Martha Stewart Perfect, well preserved cake was sitting quite stable in the back of the car. I thought we'd talk for a minute or two, but after an hour or so, our husbands started calling wondering where we were and we eventually said good bye and left. When I got to my car, my cake had morphed into a wrecked building. No matter. I would fix it when I got home. I got home and showed Matthew my beautiful cake. I think his reply was that cake decorating has to be the lowest art form. Then he corrected himself to say that, no, Broadway was the lowest art form- an idea he has held to for years now. Then, he thought for another minute, took another look at my cake, and deliberated that, yes, cake decorating is the lowest art form. I could tell he loved it! (thanks for the reminder, Ann)

Now, as an aside, I love food blogs. They are usually so pretty and make you want to be more creative with food. I love cooking and finding new recipes. I also love the presentation of food. It is a great way to express yourself. My absolute favorite food blogs are Tastespotting , Orangette and Not Eating Out in NY . My sisters in law, Ann and Elizabeth, have a pie blog that is fun to read. They are always sure to document every pie with pretty, pretty pictures. As soon as I got home, I pushed my cake up as upright as I could make it go and then began the show. I wanted to make sure and take some pictures to show my beautiful cake for all to see. This is for you, Marie, Ellen, Ann, and Elizabeth.

And yes, those are tri- colored pansies! Eat that Ace of Cakes!!

An artistic angle, no?

During class on the last day, I misplaced a tip so I had to go out into the store and buy one. I saw a tasty bag of peanut M&M's to eat with my sisters. Somehow the icing bird got a hold of an M&M and put it on my cake. Genius, I think.

Ah! The beautiful first couple of bites! Exquisite!

Let me know who needs the recipe.


Matthew said...

I can eat cakes.

ferskner said...


Oh my gosh, I have so many comments on this. First, thanks for the shout-out and the link. Second, I think the basket weave is fun. And I love that saucy bird! Third, I believe that Pat has said that Broadway is the lowest art form, so he needs to clear up which is in fact the lowest. I personally think it's Broadway - I have WAY more respect for cake decorators than I do for anyone on Broadway (yes Matthew Broderick, this includes you).

Finally, will you be my little cake mom now?

Control said...

(This is Ann's awesome roommate. She loves your blog so much she wanted to share it.)

The best part about cake is that even when they get a little smashed/droopy/lopsided it STILL tastes good. And your cake looks tasty.

I Am An Automaton said...

It is funny you said that, Ann, because last night after Matthew read my post, he reminded me that he actually said that Broadway was the lowest art form at first and that I had to fix it in the post and I was too tired to do it last night! You know Matthew too well!

Jeffrey Benson said...

Great post, and the cake turned out worlds better than anything I could attempt...
Broadway, while very low on the list, I still think it's a few steps ahead of stand up comedy!

Hale Yes!! said...

Thanks for the nice comments!! I actually would have to say that I think your cake looks pretty dang good and the story was awesome. You had a great build up and an intense ending, I did not even see it coming!!

Merrill Family & KSP Spices said...

I love the cake story. I love the cake. I love Matthews comments. You are a great writer, you pulled me into the story! We need to get together! I'll be there on Friday and Saturday!
Call me!