So, the first week of the Spring term is over, and with it my deadlines and exam. The last month seems to have passed in a blur of revision, essay-writing, mild panic and general stress in academic terms at least, but now that everything immediate is over, I can begin to hope that it was worth my time and effort. Having said that, my dissertation still needs writing, but with two weeks before I start lectures again, there is plenty of time and no hurry…time to catch up with my blogging, I think! (Whenever I become busy, blogging is always the first thing to be neglected, shamefully. I am trying to break this pattern, but currently with little success.)
As you might know, I am an aspiring cake-decorator. Now that’s all well and good, but it occurred to me that while I had the ambition, until recently, I didn’t actually have any experience in decorating cakes and didn’t know whether or not I had the creativity for it. (Of course, simply being an avid fan of Food Network’s Ace of Cakes is sadly no qualification for actually being a cake-decorator…!) Luckily, my dad’s upcoming birthday provided me with the perfect excuse to try my hand at the art, whilst also baking and crafting him a nice little lemon-poppyseed cake as an early birthday present. (As I might have mentioned before, I’m terrible at present-giving; I would much rather cook or bake for someone than buy them a book or a DVD-boxset. At least with food, I can be fairly certain that it will go down well!)
This was the finished result; a light, citrus-scented and poppyseed studded sponge cake, filled and iced with lemon curd buttercream, covered with fondant and decorated in a Pink Floyd/Dark Side of the Moon theme.
The most difficult part of the cake was actually rolling out and covering the cake in the black fondant; having never worked with fondant before, it was a bit of a risk, but one that I feel paid off in the end product. I actually had to roll out the fondant three times before I could make it large enough to cover the cake (but that might be more due to the fact that I almost underestimated the amount needed and only just had enough), and also had problems with it sticking to the table due to my not dusting the surface with enough icing sugar. However, with perseverance, I made it in the end, and even managed to smooth down the surface to give a cleaner finish! The rest of the detail was done by cutting out the right shapes from the fondant, colouring the white fondant for the rainbow strip with gel food colours and then gluing it onto the covered cake with a little water.
All in all, not a bad first attempt! And what’s more, this has definitely whetted my appetite for this vocation; it really is what I want to do and these efforts only serve to confirm my passion for all things food, baking and cake-related.
(Cake recipe is my standard go-to sponge cake, taken from the book Best-Ever Cake Decorating by Angela Nilsen & Sarah Maxwell. I added lemon zest and poppy seeds.)