Hi Everyone! Guess who is back from a much needed vacation out by the lake?
I’m about five pounds heavier, but that’s okay because I’m also four shades tanner. I may have thought that all my swimming would negate all my eating. Oops. 😡 I decided on the way home that I’d take a stab at a Mediterranean diet for the rest of the summer just to see if I can bounce back to where I was. I’ll just have to pretend that my cakes and other baked goods are part of the diet, of course. 😛
I’m sure reading about someone’s vacation is just as exciting as viewing photos of it (in other words, not very) so I’ll keep it very brief: I stayed at a lake house in the beautiful state of Virginia and the weather and company were absolutely perfect. I swam, ate, took part in a group art project, took a few boat rides, ate some more, caught up with family, sunbathed, played board games, ate even more, picked some wildflowers, watched a few sunsets, and…ate some more.
The lake has no mosquitoes. It’s so bizarre. I’ve been going there for years and I can’t recall a single time I was ever bitten by one. How is that even possible?! Paradise, I tell you. I am very lucky to be part of a family that makes this vacation possible.
Speaking of, this was the first time anyone in my family tried one of my cakes. I’m not even going to lie—I was so nervous. I had like 20 people to try and impress. I originally wanted to make a cake that screamed “VIRGINIA!” similar to the way my Ode to Maine cake was all about Maine. Unfortunately, I couldn’t think of anything to put on it that wasn’t tobacco, an eagle, or a confederate flag. So I opted instead to make it bright and fun, bursting with summer colors and flavors.
Did I mention there were a lot of people at this family reunion? So many that the house next door had to be rented. I decided to make the owners of that house a smaller version of my cake as a thank you. May I present to you the rainbow twins!
I thought about making a tutorial for these, but it’s really just the same technique that I used in my Ode to Maine cake linked above. The only difference is that I used way more colors: yellow, violet, blue, green, and pink. The crystal things sticking out of the top is rock candy that I brought from home. I was very surprised to see that it didn’t break!
Speaking of bringing stuff from home, to pull this cake off I brought the essentials: My cake pans, a couple spatulas, cake boards, gel food coloring, a couple piping bags and tips, and a bench scraper. Two things I didn’t bring were my scale (which made trying to make ganache a fun guessing game) and my turntable (wicky wicky wahhh…that’s my turntable noise). Not having a turntable is TORTURE. How’d I ever smooth cakes without it?
I’ll tell you: VERY SLOWLY AND ANNOYINGLY. But I got through it. The most difficult part of decorating this cake is that after I globbed on all my colors I’d basically scrape them all off again when I’d use my bench scraper. I had to continuously reapply the icing—I probably did it like ten times. At one point I actually thought the cakes were too bright (like, “whoa, get out of my eyes” bright) so I used my finger to apply a thin coat of white over some of the colors to mute them.
Aren’t the drips just beautiful though? As for the little Sixlets, I found them at the local grocery store and had to have them. They couldn’t be more perfect for the top of the cake.
I should probably apologize for the blurry photos in this post. Guess who brought her camera but forgot the charger?
I’m also dying to show you the top. The flowers are all native to the area. Those funky looking purple flowers are thistle. I loveeeeeee them! They look straight off of a Sesame Street character’s head. I’d totally try to grow it here if I wanted 4 foot high weeds in my backyard. The white and yellow flower ball looking thing grows right on the lake’s shoreline—the solid green ball is another version of it at a different stage of growth. The rest of the little flowers were just picked off of little bushes here and there. So pretty!
But did I mention that I summoned the Gods? I mean, the lack of mosquitoes already proved they were in the area, so perhaps I’m exaggerating a bit. Maybe I merely got their attention with a loud “AHEM! LOOK OVER HERE!”
That’s a rainbow, my friends. A rainbow that was no doubt inspired by my cake and decided to pour its lovely colors into our horizon. I wish I could say that I was serving the rainbow cake at that exact moment but…well, sure, let’s just pretend I was doing that. The end of the rainbow actually reached the front of the house. No pot of gold though, I checked. 🙁
Now that vacation is over, I hope to get caught up with all of these damn cake posts that I’ve been putting off, as well as some non-cake baking ideas. I don’t want this blog to be all about cakes, but I do make quite a few. Also, since this is Amanda Learns to Bake I’d like to start mentioning what it is that I learned with each post. So here we go:
What I Learned:
- Turntables are so essential to cake smoothing. Get one! Or use a lazy susan. Or if you’re really daring, balance a plate on top of a bowl.
- Globing multiple colors of frosting on a cake makes the surface very uneven. When you go to smooth it out you’ll notice tons of “holes” in the surface that need to be filled with more icing. Just take your time with it and eventually you’ll have a nice smooth surface.
Until next time, lovelies.