Wednesday, August 20, 2008

I made a cake!

It's my dad's birthday today, so I baked him a cake. This one is different than the cakes I usually make, though. This time I wanted to break out the bucketloads of food coloring and attempt a rainbow cake.

I made the cake batter itself from a boxed mix. It was lemon cake mix because lemon is my favorite kind of cake. (Dad probably would have preferred chocolate, but it's hard to dye a chocolate cake and make the color show up.) I knew I'd be working against the yellow of the original cake batter going in, but boy howdy! Betty Crocker uses some heavy duty damn food coloring in her cakes! She does NOT want you screwing around with the colors!

I did anyway. I also made a huge mess doing it. It was fun.

I told wurwolf about it and she told me to take pics, so now you get to see me frosting this cake.

Yeah, I'm frosting these on the washing machine. Behold its ancientness. The kitchen is pretty small and kind of a mess and there wasn't room.

That cake on the right looks pretty scary, I know. Some colors weren't meant to be golden, brown, and delicious. Green is one of them.

Eww. And so is purple. The cake is fine, though! It's just the food coloring! There is no mold present in this cake! I just baked it today!

The other layer looks much better as it is where I stored my warm colors. The greenish bluish purplish layer goes on the bottom.

Though the cake came from a boxed mix, the frosting was made from scratch. I don't cotton to canned icing. This stuff is just butter, a LOT of powdered sugar, a little vanilla, lemon zest, and enough lemon juice to make it spreadable. It's good stuff. I considered making the frosting some unholy color, but I figured there were sufficient weird colors involved already.

Middle part frosted!

Top layer is on! I know that you're supposed to put the top layer on upside-down to make the top flatter. Hell with that. It's too easy to tear up the top of the cake that way. Besides, the colors would show up in the wrong order if I did it that way. (Assuming they show up at all... I won't know if this worked until the cake is cut. This is scary.)

The idea is you put a TON of frosting on top, and then push it over the sides to frost them.

I'm not left handed. I was only holding the spatula in my left hand so I could take the pic with my right. I knew you were wondering.

Over the side it goes! Now to smoosh it around there!

ALWAYS remember to dip your mp3 player in your frosting! THIS IS A VERY IMPORTANT STEP, PEOPLE!!

The cake is pretty well frosted, but I still have a lot of icing left. On it goes.

(I learned long ago that "Holy shit that's a lot of icing!" is way better than "Dammit, I ran out of icing and now I have to make more!" The icing recipe I've always used never makes quite enough to frost a whole cake. Doubling it yields way too much. It's better than trying to figure out the numbers for one-and-a-halfing it, though.)

Mmm. More for the cook. (And you guys can totally have some, too. Totally.)

Pull the parchment out of the bottom and I'm done! Hooray!

As important as the cake itself is the Cake Barricade. This is a vital ingredient that keeps your cake from being devoured by roaming packs of wild dogs (or one determined poodle). I'd say we lose at least one cake a year to poor guarding and bad dogs.

So... You want to see this thing cut open?

Me too!

But it's pretty rude to cut up a birthday cake when the birthday person isn't present and ready to eat, even if you did make the cake yourself. You'll have to wait. It is only at the moment that I slice this thing that I will discover if my experiment worked.

I can hardly wait!


It's a few hours later now, and we've cut the cake. Let's see what we've got!

This is a special cake cutter dealie some lady gave me. It's not really worth it most of the time, but it does help me with those First Slice Jitters. That first slice always comes out crappy!

Ok, we've got a few pieces out of there and check it out! Looks good, especially when you think about how scary it looked without the icing and all. That's not icing dribbling down the middle. Well, it is icing, but it's not dribbling down. There's a crack in the cake and it's just in there. Whoever gets the piece with the icing trench is the winner of the cake!

I pretty much got the effect I was hoping for. The six colors go down in layers in the proper order from red to purple. I could have swirled them together, but I wanted to see how it would turn out this way. I'd have liked the layers to be a bit flatter and more even, but I'm cool with the wavy effect, too. I'm just glad the colors didn't bleed together!

So there you have it! I'm going to consider this cake a success. By the way, wurwolf and I were talking about whether my Dad would appreciate all the extra effort that went into the colors and stuff. I can tell you that, as expected, Dad's reaction to this cake was the same as Dad's reaction to every other cake I've made him, whether it was good or disasterous:

Hey! Cake!

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