Friday, January 8, 2016

The Cake...dun dun dun!

It's that time again, the one day of the year when I show off to the world that no, I do not have the Martha Stewart, Pinterest approved decorating skills. Cakes and the art of making them pretty is something I have never and will never be able to accomplish. I should have my piping bag (which I never use) locked up (way ahead of you), and have the rank of lady stripped from my name because I cannot frost a cake.

But I still try for my husband because he's always celebrated with a banana cake for his birthday and I guess I love him and stuff. Shut up!

This being the internet and all, you can laugh at my failure along with me. This is the 2016 birthday cake.
I've never had a proper arch-nemesis before but this cake was pushing close to that title. I don't know what it was that I did to anger the baking gods, but I cursed a storm at the batter that splattered all over the place and the baked cakes that decided they rather enjoyed being in the pan and had no intention to leave.

But, after the liberal use of threats by butter knife, I finally scrapped both out and it was time for frosting.

Once again, the cake proved wilier than I anticipated. I think there's still chocolate frosting on the ceiling somewhere. After employing both spatula, spreader, and my fingers I managed to shellac the cake in a coating of chocolate cream cheese frosting. Next time I'm using a trowel and a caulk gun. It'd probably go better.

As for the decorations... We've been in a bit of a Fallout rut here lately, so I suppose this is my landscape/post apocalyptic cake.

There's a beautiful sea teaming with shark corpses:

The only bit of green laden in flattened turtle shells (good for the radioactive soil):

And in the deserts, there was a raider attack on the settlement of the gingerbread people. (Yes, that is food dye to mimic blood, I am that twisted)

Also, due to sprinkle incompetence, a shark is buried in the middle of the mountain range. Try to explain THAT science!

But, what's the fun of the cake without remembering ghosts of birthday cake past. Prepare your nostalgia goggles because here they come.

Today my husband adds another notch on that old belt of life. Which means I once again must don the mantle of butcher, baker and candlestick maker.

After the balors, vampires, and mind flayers have been butchered it's baking time.

If you missed the cakes of yester-year here's a quick reminder of why I will never replace Martha Stewart or anyone who's ever properly held a piping bag.

This madness, this odd tradition of my wallowing in incompetence began years ago with this cake:
Truly it is a modern expression in the play of black against blue then held down and forced to swallow yellow play-dough. Oh and then a few sprinkles for funsies. She is the cake we must never forget or it'll break into your house and steal your furniture.

This is such a bad cake it was put on the no fly list - twice.

The next year, despite all common sense I actually tried with piping bags and everything:
Adorable baby sea turtle sprinkles covers all shame. I wish I could explain the ectoplasm ringing the sides but I assume I had to fight a giant portrait of a member of a hair metal band that was looking for a baby and had to run.

Then I went avant garde, post-modern, and other fancy sounding terms that means I meant for it to look like that and you can't prove I didn't.
Why is the cake a teal color? Who knows. Why does it seem to be constantly oozing over the side? Because I want it to. Why does it...? That's enough questions now Mr. Nosey, nosey pants.

One year I went ambitious on the cake aspect and less so on the covering in frosting approximating something like decorations.

I broke from the typical banana cake mold (which I'd only spice up on occasion) to make one of Celebration Generation's Banana's Foster cake. I did a few things differently.

1. I added a banana back to the batter along with a bit of creme de banana for that super yellow fruit kick.

2. I completely forgot to add the pudding until I had the batter sitting in the pans waiting for the oven. This then lead to a lot of cursing, repouring into the bowl, remixing, repouring into the pans and a good 10 minutes into baking when I remembered "Oh shit, I didn't re-grease the pans."

So, naturally, the cake was less than forgiving about exiting from said pans and while one layer only had a crack here and there the other was condemned after an 8.9 earthquake crumbled its foundation.

The sides held in tact only through willpower and a heavy dose of duct tape while the middle bottomed out. Once it finished cooling over night I, with the help of an excavation team, moved that crumbling mess to the cake stand and swore it would never move again.

Then came the filling, that was done mostly the same, but due to structural problems (as in there was none) I didn't torte anything in favor of digging a bit into the cake and then dumping in all of the banana and brown sugar into the middle and sealing its banana tomb with the second cake.

Frosting, oh yes frosting. This was luckily my second attempt at making my own buttercream frosting, and despite the fact I own neither double boiler or stand mixer I manage to make some nice tasting spackle. Is it supposed to be that consistency? I have no idea but its edible and it clings to things, it's doing far better than most previous attempts.

Here she is, my husband's Birthday Banana's Foster Cake:
You'll note the dedication to piling all of the frosting on with a spoon and then swiping at it as a bear does intruding camera crews. A swipe here, a swipe there, eh I'm tired, let's go see what's at the dump.

Here are the guts of the cake, you'll note the single banana layer tucked away waiting patiently for the signal to kill.

Last year I went my version of old school, simple banana cake which I added some nutmeg, cinnamon and a whole lot of rum to.

And for the frosting even lazier, a cream cheese to which I poured in a capfull of banana liquor and then accidentally dumped a good ounce worth of rum.

But you're here for the picture.
If you're wondering why the cake is a strange green/salmoney color there's a perfectly logical explanation for that.



........Look over there!

I also didn't cover the sides because I ran out of frosting. I could have made more frosting but then it wouldn't look like a dirt clod half dug out of the grass. You know, a traditional birthday cake.

So to 2014's big banana birthday cake I decided to go old school and once again try my attempts at creating something with a theme and all.

If you thought through that whole tutorial that my largest problem is that I never tried and surely over the years I had to get better, your undiluted optimism makes me smile and shake my head sadly.

What I tried to do was create an RPG map with the green being a graveyard, the lump of frosting being mountains, and behind is some yellow sugar to mimic the desert. Because there's always a desert. (The candles are supposed to be quest markers)
 What you actually have is a cocoa cream cheese frosting I flopped onto the cake with the skill of a drunk man fighting with pudding fairies. The mountains were because I had a ton of leftover and I wasn't about to let it go to waste. Instead of pasting on another layer, I just lobbed it at the cake and called it a landscape feature.

So, as you can see, even when I try and have a theme and get fancy sprinkles, it still approaches an abomination that must be sliced up and consumed lest its evil infest the entire world!

For 2015 I actually kinda tried. Why? I dunno. I must have been bitter by a wear-Mormon Mommy Blog.
Why is it Dessert at Tiffany's Blue? Because I had a lot of blue food dye but not enough to take it to the next teeth staining level.

What's with the crystals speckled throughout like fly poop? Run with what you have, also crystal fly poop is gonna be huge!

And the spiderwebs...I dumped some black frosting into a bag, snipped the end, and had it dribble in a line. After that there was only one way to go: massive spider invasion.

Apparently I cannot use fancy piping tips, but give me a ziploc bag and I'll pipe out a decent spiderweb.

And those are all the cakes of Birthday past. Tune back in next year when the cake and I finally come to blows. In the end, only one will be left standing.

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