Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Belated Halloween

Nothing terribly exciting/out of the ordinary happened this week. In consequence of this, you my 3 loyal readers, getting another cake post--mostly. I had leftover buttercream icing (handily already died orange) and fondant from the cake I made 3 weeks ago and I had a Halloween party to go to this past weekend (yes, that would make it November, but everyone dressed up anyway). I decided I would put together a pumpkin cake--both in flavour and in appearance. I made the cake last weekend using Fine Cooking's brown butter pumpkin spice cake (so delicious) and baked it in one of my Pyrex bowls so it would be circular. When I was finished I feared the cake would be a bit too small for a large-ish party so I baked an extra single chocolate layer as well.
The cake before I added the stem. I was really happy with the bumps and ridges I added to make it look more pumpkin-like.
I began the decoration process on Friday (I baked the cakes last weekend and put them in the freezer). I stacked the cake, 'glued' it to the plate then slathered it with buttercream. The buttercream came out of the freezer in excellent shape. I've tried to preserve buttercream before, but I didn't give it enough time to return to room temperature. If you try to re-whip buttercream that's been frozen/refrigerated and don't let it warm up enough it can turn into a curdled looking mixture. You can fix this by heating it up (the microwave will work fine) and give it a good whirl with a mixer, but the first time this happened to me I didn't know this and ended up throwing the batch out. Once the buttercream was applied I smooshed ridges into it with the sides of my hands then added the fondant. I wanted more lines on the pumpkin so I took the dull side of a knife and indented the cake further.
Stem added. I was even more happy with the cake when I added the stem.
I sculpted the stem with leftover fondant then stuck it onto the top of the cake. Just a little water and some pressure was all that was required.
The cake after I added the shading. It was dark by this time so I wasn't able to get as good a picture as the earlier ones.
We were out for pretty much all of Saturday (market, groceries, lunch, aerial practice and a bunch of other stops on the way), so I ended up spending the last hour or so after dinner and before the party applying details to the cake. I thinned brown colouring out with a splash of gin, then used a paint brush to apply it to the cake. From there I used a makeup sponge to smooth out the lines.
Jack-o-lantern face added.
I was really rushing at this point. It was probably 20 minutes before we planned to leave for the party when I cut the face out from the Jack-o-lantern. Perhaps I should have just left it, but oh well. It looked all right, and I figured that most people aren't all that great at carving real pumpkins anyway. In hindsight, I should have made a pattern out of paper to trace onto the cake to get it even--I'll remember that for the next time I do something like this.
Andrew, looking manly in his Scotsman get up.
Andrew in his costume for the party--it was medieval themed.
Me, in my 'saucy medieval gal' get up.
I didn't make this costume. I agonized over the issue of whether or not to make the costume myself for sometime, but eventually I had to acknowledge the fact that I hadn't finished a sewing project that was more extensive than hemming pants in years. I bought the outfit off of Etsy. Eventually I'll turn it into a steampunk costume once I've got the right accessories.



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