Monday, May 11, 2015

Two out of three ain't bad

Friday was a glorious success.  The tea towels worked just like I hoped.  The only tricky part was tracing the recipe onto the towels.  When I placed the tea towel over the recipe, it was too opaque to see the text.

Original & Reproduction
I went back and read the pinterest post and they suggested taping the recipe and towel to a window.  The light shining through will create a tracing board so to speak.  Pinterest for the win!  It completely worked and I couldn't be happier with the results.

Next on the docket was the gluten free cookies.  The box showed a picture of chocolate chip cookies. So I went on the assumption that chocolate chips were provided.  Bzzzzz!  Wrong Answer!

Lies! No Chips Included.
Brad was nice enough to run out to the store and buy some.  Pure Chocolate chips are gluten free.

The mix was a little questionable.  In reading the instructions, it indicated that the "Mix will appear Dry".  MMMMMMMMMMMM.  Just like any delicious cookie dough I've ever tried.

Here is the weird thing, it only looked dry. When you tried to scoop it up to make cookie blobs on the baking sheet, it was sticky and almost has the consistency of crystallized honey.

Needless to say I didn't have high expectations.  But, I was pleasantly surprised.  The cookies turned out amazing!  Logan and Zach tried then and gave two big thumbs up!

Saturday morning Jill and I went to the Oakwood cafe for breakfast.  it was nice to sit and chat for awhile. Jill loved the tea towel and cookies, they made her smile which was my whole goal.  Mother's Day weekend is a tough go for her.  I think we all sometimes forget that while Mother's Day should be celebrated, we need to be sensitive to those for whom this day is exceedingly difficult.

Jill and I get each other, and sometimes it's nice to spend time with someone and you don't have to hide your crazy.  They know who you are and love you all the same. It's freeing for both of us..

After breakfast, it was full on cake prep.  First I made the cherry cake. Confession time, I used a mix.  I couldn't find a cherry cake recipe that I liked, so I just bought a mix.  Go ahead. Judge away.

I was chatting with Brad while I was mixing up the cake and I didn't pay close attention to what I was doing.  After I popped them in the oven and sat down for a minute, I realized that I had messed up. The recipe called for a cup of water, which I had forgotten.  Drat.

I let the cakes finish baking, more so for morbid curiosity than anything else.  The strange part it they rose just fine.  I had used apple sauce instead of the oil that the mix called for and I think that might have saved them.

Still, I was out for perfection, so I chucked the cakes and started over with Vanilla.  Made both of the Vanilla cakes without incident.  Then re-made the cherry cakes.  The cherry cake was actually a cherry chip cake, which is a vanilla base. I wanted the cake to be pink, so I added some gel coloring.

I was so gung ho at making this cake, that after the vanilla cakes were cool, I stacked and iced them.  Sigh.   I completely forgot that I was making a checkerboard cake.  To make the checkerboard cake, you take the two vanilla and two cherry and cut out concentric rings in each cake and make bullseyes.

Crud. I had two vanilla cake stacked and iced.  I had two choices. 1) Give up my plans for the checkerboard cake and just stack the two cherry on top or 2) Attempt to unstack the cakes.  In what I am going to call the TSN turning point of the afternoon, I attempted to unstack the cakes.

What I have learned is that cakes do not unstack well. I cut the cakes into concentric rings and the outer rings broke into two letter C's.  I figured I would just schmuck it back together with icing and I would be fine.  Bzzz! Wrong Answer!  That didn't work.  The cake needed the outer rings intact to hold it all together.

With it's structural integrity compromised,  the outer later fell off as I was trying to ice it.  Undeterred, I figured I would remove the outer ring and just ice the inner two rings, which were (at the time) still holding together.  Below is a picture of the carnage from removing the outer rings.

The inner cake didn't have that harder outer baked crust and was less than responsive to being iced.  It would just crumble and rip off more cake as I tried to smooth the icing across.

That meant that my plans of the fancy scalloped icing went directly in the sh*tter because for that technique, you had to employ a fair amount of smoothing.

So I decided to opt for Ombre Dots.  This is the other fail.  I had selected a pink rose gel color, which sounded lovely.  It's not.  It's pepto bismal pink.  I was able to make the ombre colors, but it was a pepto ombre  and not as lovely as I had originally envisioned.

However, I soldiered on and started with the dots.   I had made my own buttercream and made it slightly thicker so that it would hold up better to the icing technique.  Plus, I had selected a too small icing bag tip, which meant that you really had to squeeze to get it out of the piping bags. By the time the cake was iced, my forearms felt like popeye's.

The cake was a glorious tower of hideousness.  Brad tried to say it was fine, but really it wasn't.  It was so ugly and for some reason it reminded me of a sea anemone.  Behold the awesomeness.

Note the charming lean to the right.  Precious.  I had loads of icing left, so I decided to add some iced flowers on top.  I mean, I couldn't mess it up anymore right?  Bzzzz! Wrong Answer!

The iced flowers ended up looking like brain folds which did nothing to improve it's overall look.

But it was done.  Who cares.  It was at this point my cake started to take on a life of it's own.

Do you recall that crumbly cake that wouldn't hold the icing?  Well I suppose the cake had just about enough of this icing nonsense and decided it was time to let go.

It initially started with a slight gape in the icing on one side.
Beginning of the End

See what I mean?  Plus this picture gives you a good up close picture of the disturbing icing technique.  I can't explain why, but it just makes me uncomfortable.  Almost has a tripe like look.

Self Destruct Sequence Commenced
About this time, all h*ll broke loose and my cake started to move on it's own.  First, an entire section fell off.

Brad and I were sitting on the couch just staring at this thing, wondering what it would do next.

We figured when the one section of icing fell off, that would be it as it would have released the pressure on the cake.  How wrong we were.  It was almost as if the cake was self destructing.  Within 30 minutes of my icing the cake, it now looked like this:
Destruct Sequence Finished.

Perfection.  Thankfully, my children are non discriminatory in their love of cake, so they happily gobbled up the crumbled ruins of cake and icing.

Once the one side of cake rubble was removed, there was a clear view of the inside of the cake.

That my friends is an almost checkerboard.  At the very least, it's worth a honorable mention.
Sort of Checkerboard Right?

The cake was supposed to be for Mother's Day, but since it was such a spectacular fail, we decided to have it Saturday night instead.

Once I recovered from the ego shattering baking fail of the day before, it was Mothers Day.  We keep Mother's Day low key.  Brad made me a counter to go over my washer/dryer.  I prefer to think of it as a Loss Prevention measure.  There is about a foot gap between the washer/dryer and the wall.  We have only been in the house 7 months, but we have lost many a good sock due to that gap, so the counter will come in quite handy.

My Mother's Day present from the boys was a pair of earrings and an offer to clean the house.  I made a gargantuan list of all of the cleaning chores that I do and they took it on. Zach was more receptive than Logan.  Logan lamented the sheer volume of chores, but to his credit, he did it.

We then went and had a nice visit with GG.  The boys made her cards and we brought her some flowers.  She and I spent the time chatting about HRH Princess Charlotte.  A true Brit, GG was very excited about the new baby girl.

Sunday night consisted of Logan and I curling up on the couch and watching The Three Stooges.  Logan loves it and laughs his head off at the sound effects.  Personally, I can't stand it, but it didn't matter.  I enjoyed the snuggles and sticky kisses.

It was great weekend, cake wreck and all.


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