Part 1: In which I begin to conquer my fear of cake decorating....
Cake making intimidates me.
Not cake making, exactly. Cake batters and fillings are a walk in the park. I have no fear of buttercream. (Remind me to tell you about the time when I was making a 10-pound batch of Italian meringue buttercream and added the butter to the hot meringue too soon. Long story short . . . it turned out just fine.) So what's the problem then?
It's frou-frou that gives me the sweats. The necessary perfectness of smooth surfaces, the decorating in painstaking detail and making of figures that are recognizable to people who are not you. There is an incredibly weighty responsibility attached to making a cake that has the sole power to make or break someone's entire marriage celebration. (Well, not really, but you'd think so, given the pressure involved.)
Lately, I've started to feel a little embarrassed about this. What kind of pastry chef avoids cake decorating? And do I want to be that kind? Ick. Maybe I'll never be the Frank Lloyd Wright of cake architecture, but so what? There's only one Frank Lloyd Wright and that didn't stop other people from designing buildings. I can decorate a cake if I decide I want to. And lately, I've decided that I want to. It's only cake, not brain surgery.
So I'm building my stock of decorating tips and gel food colors. I've picked up a few good books on technique. And I've decided to make cakes for every conceivable occasion between now and whenever I master the art of cake decorating. Practice makes perfect, right?
Stay tuned for Part 2, in which you'll meet my first cake featuring modeled figures: my emo zombie cake, "Not Even Death" . . . .