Friday, June 24, 2011

Harry Potter and the "dam" good cake

I've been busy but quiet the past few weeks since I last posted. I made the decision several months ago that I would read J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books straight through after finishing my master’s degree, and so since the end of May I’ve been initiated into and wholly absorbed by a much loved world of wizards and owls and Hogwarts and chocolate frogs and an evil villain Who Must Not Be Named. After each book, I’ve rented the corresponding Harry Potter movie on iTunes and watched it. I’m on the last book, The Deathly Hallows, now. In total, it will have taken me five weeks to read all 3,400 plus pages of the series, but it has been worth it. I’ll definitely be ready for the final movie which comes out in July 15th, whatever “ready” means. I missed Pottermania the first time around when Rowling was still releasing the books but I’m glad I decided to read the works from start to finish all in one go, especially now that Pottermore has been announced. I didn't understand the phenomenon before reading the books but I totally get now why children and adults alike are so in love with these stories and characters.

I do have a couple of bakey updates, though. I made two cakes last week. The first one was a summer inspired vanilla and raspberry cream filled cake that I made for a work function.

Summer Cake 1

Summer Cake 2

Summer Cake closeup

All of the flowers and bees are made from Wilton white fondant, which I tinted and formed myself. The silvery shimmer on the daisies and bees’ wings is Wilton’s white Pearl Dust. I love that stuff. I also love the edible ink pen that I used to doodle on the bees’ faces and stripes.

The second cake is the one that I made for my Dad for Father’s Day. It’s only a small 6-inch round vanilla cake with chocolate buttercream and it features a family of three fondant beavers relaxing outside their pretzel-covered dam and enjoying the longed-for summer weather, which we haven't had in St. John's yet this year.

Beaver Cake 1

Beaver Cake 2

Beaver Cake 3

The beavers, fish and flowers are all handmade from Wilton white fondant, which I tinted and formed into the figures. I made some dirt rubble for the river bank by whizzing toffee chips and milk chocolate chips together in my mini food processor, and the water is blue-tinted piping gel. The trees are store-bought rice krispie treats molded into cone shapes and covered in green buttercream icing. The beaver dam is a mound of chocolate buttercream mixed with cake crumbs that was molded in a plastic wrap lined small round bowl (I put it in the fridge then for a while to let it get firm enough to hold its shape), turned upside down onto the cake, and finally covered with broken pretzel “logs” to resemble a beaver dam. I used chocolate rocks to decorate around the bottom border of the cake.

I dreamt last night that I entered a Wilton contest only ten minutes before it closed. Then I was at some event or other, a conference of sorts although I can't remember what the theme was, and my mother called to tell me that I had won $25,000 from Wilton for best something-or-other. I can't remember what that something-or-other was, although I assume it was cake related. Seeing as how I’ve probably spent about $25,000 in my waking life on Wilton products since I’ve started this whole cake decorating knack I’ve been on these past few months, I figure I'm due for a bit of a payback. $25,000 is a big exaggeration, of course, but starting any new craft or hobby can be expensive when you're first buying all the new tools and decorating products. The upside is that I'll have my tools forever and can make many, many cakes long into the future with them. The downside is trying to come up with an idea that's as good as or better than my goofy beaver dam cake! But I've never shied away from a good challenge.

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