So a couple of weeks ago Clay and I had our first weekend getaway since Evelyne’s been born. (almost 3 years!) My parents flew up here from TN and stayed with the kids, and we went a few hours north to Victoria, British Columbia. (I’ll put-up another post with pictures because it was truly beautiful) So, one afternoon while we were sitting on “The Veranda”, an outdoor restaurant on the front porch of our beautiful hotel, watching people and the harbor and having drinks, we had a good conversation about our relationship. A sort of “State of the Relationship Address” as we like to refer to them. We agreed that we have been awesome partners in parenting, we almost always work together and agree on things in raising the kids, and we’re a great team. But, as expected, something has been slowly lost over the years as most of our focus has been on parenting and less on being husband and wife. So we tried to think of something we can purposefully do to spend time together that has nothing to do with parenting. (other than sit next to each other on the couch watching the same tv show) Clay suggested we start cooking together (like I’ve said before, we’ve been watching a lot of Food Network!), and that led to the decision that we’re going to…..drumroll…..learn how to bake and decorate cakes together! Isn’t that great?! Ha! Of course Clay is an optimist and thinks that in a few years we’re going to be so good that we’ll be making the kind of creations that we see on tv, but right now our immediate goals are to bake approximately one cake a week together and to make cakes for Evelyne and Harris’ birthdays (in December and January) that are decent.
I’ve never made a cake that’s not out of a box, so simply making one from scratch is my goal and something I want to learn. Clay mostly wants to focus on the decorating since he’s a really detail-oriented kind of guy who will probably be awesome at that sort of thing once he learns. Now if you remember The Birthday Cake Debacle of 2008, you’ll probably understand how much of a non-expert I am in this area and am looking to redeem myself in the decorating area as well.
So last weekend we made our first cake. I just picked a random yellow cake recipe and buttercream icing from Allrecipes.com and we got going. (I did substitute butter for the shortening in both recipes) The cake came-out looking golden and smelling wonderful, and since it was so late at night, we covered it and left it in the pans all night long. (I don’t know if this was a good idea or not) The next night after Evelyne went to bed we started trying to get them out of the pans….ehhh, that didn’t go well. First I noticed that the middles of the cakes had totally sunken down. I had buttered and floured the pans, but they were stuck on the edges. We butchered it as we tried to get it out, and once we got it out, it looked like this:
(you’re going to have to excuse our gross cabinets and countertops….we’re renting, and I don’t think this house has been updated in the past forty years)
We iced the middle and stacked them, and it just looked ridiculous.
Then I released Clay to the carving. (He had been itching to get his hands on a knife and start shaving-off the sides to make it more even.)
It did look a lot better after he did that, although he had to remove the entire top layer and it was still really uneven. We did a crumb coat of icing, and then the next night finished it with a top layer of icing. I hadn’t been able to find an offset spatula yet, andI just had to ice it with a knife, so even though I tried to get it as smooth as I could, it still wasn’t that great. (and notice the lean to the left!)
And then we started piping. Oh yes, we piped. It wasn’t very good, but we did it.
We didn’t really know what to do after this, and by this point it was 10:30 p.m. and we were both tired, so we just put a big number 1 in the middle to signify that it’s our first cake. Apparently I put it off-center (I’m like the anti-perfectionist, so I don’t really notice or care about those things, but it seemed to bother Clay), so he made me put an exclamation point after it to center it. (which I thought was silly, but whatever)
So there we go. Our first cake. It tasted pretty good…. the actual cake was pretty thick, tasted more like a pound cake than the light and fluffy cake mix cakes I’m used to, but it was good. The icing was really, really sweet. It was good, but very rich, and we’re going to definitely try another recipe next time. Maybe we should’ve used shortening? So, that was our first cake adventure, and we’re planning to make another one today. I’m hoping to turn this into a blogging project to keep us accountable to doing it, so get excited that you’ll get to see all of our creations! (don’t you just wish you could taste them?!) We’re going to try to give away as much as possible since it would be DANGEROUS to constantly have cake in the house, we’ve already eaten way too much of this one. If anyone has any favorite cake websites, please let me know. I think today we’re going to use the Wilton recipes for yellow cake and buttercream icing, so we’ll see if those turn-out better. Yay for cakes!