Sunday, June 22, 2008

I cheated... But Just a little!

I started out my day plotting how to avoid tomorrow's final for my cake decorating class... The thought first occurred to me this morning after I discovered the roses I put into the refrigerator to dry yesterday looked less like roses than they do flat, swirly smudges blobbed out onto parchment paper. WTH?

Disastrous roses aside, the thought of ditching class crossed my mind again while I was lounging in the pool because since it was over 80-degrees and the last thing on my mind was going into the house to bake cakes. So I spent the better part of the morning fretting about how I could NOT go to class... I even thought about making a call to ask how failing this class might affect my so-far-perfect 4.0 GPA at Forsyth Tech. Is it even a grade class? I wondered... Ugh!

Why all the fuss? Because in class last week the instructor passed out photographs of beautifully decorated cakes - they were copied right out of the Wilton master decorating book no less, because we're all masters after only four classes... (this is me rolling my eyes!) So, when everyone in class had a photo, the instructor said we are to duplicate the cake for our final project. Worse, the photo she handed me features roses, a decoration I couldn't seem to get the hang of, no matter how much I practiced... Then it hit me! I jumped out of the pool and went to the grocery store to BUY my cake - maybe even one loaded with roses! At first I thought I'd just buy a cake or two, since I needed a double-layer, rectangular cake and scrape off all the icing, re-ice it and call it my own. Brilliant! After all, I'm taking a cake decorating class, not a cake baking class!

Turns out I wouldn't have to undress cakes at all because when I explained to the bakery lady at Harris Teeter what I was trying to do she said she'd happily sell me two of the single layer sheet cakes they use as the base for all their decorated cakes. I could even choose from white, chocolate or marble cake - Yea! And, in case you're wondering...the price is the same whether the cake is iced or not! $10.99 each - But so worth not having to bake my own! Looking back, I could have asked her to cover the layers with some of that icing I paid for - However, since I didn't want to do anything to make me look ungrateful for the extra pool time she was selling, I took the naked cakes and ran. Also, after I shared with the bakery lady my story about the rose-blobs, mainly hoping she'd offer to bang out 20 roses for me for a fee (I mean I was wearing my best, name your price face!), she said that my results were typical of the type of icing my instructor is having us work with, then she suggested making my own buttercream. And, what do you know? It worked! I don't stink at making roses after all... Well, let's just say I don't stink as much as I thought I did.

My two Harris Cheater (HA!) cakes stacked up to form one double-layer cake:
Buttercream roses on the Left - Yesterday's effort on the right
Click to enlarge for detail to fully appreciate rose blobs
Much Better! Tomorrow all I have to do is apply my roses and
complete the other decorating elements of my assigned cake
Another slow-cooker Success! I put a Boston Butt into
my slow cooker on Saturday - poured maple syrup over it
and topped it with brown sugar and apples - Cooked for
8 hours on high. Before I went to bed last night I pulled all
the meat off the bone and separated it from the fat and put it
into the refrigerator. This morning I shredded the meat and
returned it to the slow cooker to cook on Low in a honey BBQ
sauce. I served it on fresh sesame buns with German potato
salad. Yum... And, best of all... No cheating required!

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