Friday, May 29, 2009

Go Colts!

Ok, so not really. I don't really watch much football, or have a favorite team. Occasionally college football, if Wyoming is playing and I'm in the mood. But really, since I married into a Boston family, I don't dare say I cheer for anyone but New England in the pros. That's liable to get me disowned. Or something like that. (We'll keep the fact that I don't really cheer at all to ourselves, won't we? Shhhhhh....)

Anyway, two weeks ago, I was commissioned by one of my co-workers to make a cake for her boyfriend's birthday. Unfortunately, she wanted the cake for one week later. That didn't really leave a whole lot of time for planning, but thankfully I did not have the same issue with her as I had with the Luau Cake. She knew almost exactly what she wanted, but still managed to give me a bit of creative license with the job. And what she wanted was a Colts cake. With a football on it. She also had the idea of a field, though I'm not sure she expected I'd really take it this far. But believe me, I had aspirations of taking things much farther. Unfortunately, a truncated timetable has the ability to wipe out such lofty aspirations. Or fortunately, I suppose, since I'm sure it was ultimately much better for me. But I digress. Here are the pictures of the final result:

I have major issues with the football, but I'll get to that. The cake was a half sheet cake in strawberry filled with strawberry whipped cream with fresh strawberries folded in. The football is made of rice krispies treats (rkt) covered in fondant. The lettering and small footballs are all fondant. Everything else is strawberry butter cream icing. Before any of you get too excited, I did not hand draw the lettering to match that of the Colts. I'm not that talented, and I have no intention of setting myself up as such! Imagine the cakes I'd be commissioned to make then! I'm giving myself heartburn just thinking about it! No, what I did instead is do a Google search for the Colts logo in order to make the horseshoe properly. When I searched, I stumbled across an entire alphabet (plus "Indianapolis Colts" spelled out) done in the same lettering. I simply printed the alphabet out, cut out the letters I would need, and used them as a template for the fondant. Worked wonders. Oh, and as an explanation, there is a #18 on the ball because that is Peyton Manning's number, and he is the birthday boy's favorite player.

As I said, the large football was made of rkt, which was a great idea in theory, but I felt lacking in execution. The reasons for that will be included below, in the things I learned list. But as a blanket statement, I don't like the football, and for me it ruined the rest of the cake. However, my co-worker was very pleased with the cake, and reported to me earlier this week that her boyfriend loved it as well (except, of course, for the fondant being "too sweet". Men!) And really, isn't that what really matters? Well, it's supposed to be, but I just don't know...

This cake was planned and executed so quickly, I don't have a lot to say about what I learned, but here's what I've got:

1. Apparently there is some secret trick for sculpting with rkt that only the truly talented or ultra privileged are privy to. Finding one of these people and using water torture on them until they spill the secret is on my to-do list.

2. When using rkt to sculpt, it is very important to work quickly. Working slowly will result in either burning your hands on the heat of the rkt, or the rkt cooling down too quickly to properly proportion the krispies through the sculpted piece, causing malformed sculptures, and rough or pitted surface areas. Both consequences are highly likely to occur.

3. One of two things must occur for the proper covering of sculpted rkt with fondant: either the surface of the rkt must be incredibly smooth, or the fondant must be rolled out thick enough to cover a rough rkt surface.

4. Rolled out fondant thick enough to cover a rough rkt surface does not exist in nature. Or in my kitchen. It's a figment of my imagination. Or a term of art. Or a legal fiction? I dunno, I just know it isn't out there.

5. While rkt seems like a good idea for a sculpted football, given a real football's rough and bumpy surface, failure to apply #2 above will result in larger bumps than necessary and produce something akin to your child's first clay project made for you in art class.

6. Small footballs made of fondant and iced with royal icing will require more than 24 hours to completely dry. Using footballs that have not fully dried will result in fondant footballs with fingerprints and indents on their sides.

7. Small fondant footballs are as heavy as fondant tires when attached to the side of a cake iced in butter cream frosting. The rediscovery of gravity with such footballs as your experiment paraphernalia will result in much swearing at, and throwing of, inanimate objects.

8. Toothpicks work just as well for keeping fondant footballs from sliding down the side of a cake as they do for fondant tires. Simply apply two, rather than one. Side note: application of only one toothpick will inevitably cause said footballs to rotate to either the right or the left prior to sliding down the side of the cake.

9. Brand new sheet cake pans with absolutely straight sides do not produce sheet cakes with straight sides. Discovery of such an anomaly will surely produce an enigma to perplex scientists throughout the world. For you, however, it will simply mean that the yard lines on your football field cake will not all be evenly spaced or necessarily perfectly straight.

10. White royal icing piped from a #1 or #2 tip onto green butter cream icing, in the process of drying, will be thin enough to absorb some of the green food coloring and therefore become green-tinged royal icing. Such phenomenon may not be noticeable to your client, but you will not be able to take your eyes off it.

In assistance with the problem created with #10, I find it best just to consider one of my many mantras: there's nothing I can do about it, so best not worry about it. A.k.a. - it doesn't matter, I don't care!


Anonymous said...

Your blog keeps getting better and better! Your older articles are not as good as newer ones you have a lot more creativity and originality now keep it up!

Iguana Montana said...

What a sweet looking cake!

Anonymous said...

Hey - I am really delighted to discover this. great job!