Friday, December 4, 2009

Thanksgiving Madness...I Survived!

I managed to make it through my last week of manic baking without my husband divorcing me. He once again informed me that I am way to nice and can’t tell people no. I pointed out that it is hard to say no to people when you are the one offering things instead of people asking for them. He does have a point, as usual. I tend to overdo everything and then I’m in a pickle. I always come through in the end, but I’m not always a happy camper.

Thanksgiving week would be one of those times when I bit off almost more than I could chew and very little of what I made was even requested. I just like bringing yummy food and while my husband now states that the mere thought of cake makes him want to vomit, his family is very happy when I arrive with my latest creation. He seems to be the only person who views my cakery (his term, not mine) in a negative light. I simply remind him that he should be happy that at least with this hobby the items I make leave the house and never come back!

This year we planned to attend Thanksgiving dinners for both of our families on the same day. My mom requested some cranberry orange cupcakes in honor of her mother, who used to LOVE orange flavored stuff. My niece requested a chocolate cake, and I had promised my dad that I would try making some angel food cupcakes. In the past I have almost always showed up empty handed to dinners with my husband’s family, and I always feed bad about it. I decided that this year I was going to bring LOTS of yummy stuff. So, I decided to do a small two-tier chocolate cake for each dinner. As luck would have it, I could get two cakes out of one cake mix which was really nice. I also wanted to make a strawberry cake with cotton candy butter cream icing.

So, I sat down and finished writing out all the information on my nifty little cake planner sheets and mapped out when I would bake or decorate what. I had an excellent, if over busy, schedule and if I kept to it everything would be fine. I did a respectable job of following the schedule and managed to get everything done.

The chocolate cakes were not quite as pretty as I had hoped they would be, but I decided that they were good enough. Besides, I knew that they would taste great and convinced myself that the flaws would make it easier for people to cut into them. Many people seem to suffer from “Pretty Cake Syndrome.” This is when someone won’t cut a cake because they think it is too pretty to eat. Aaaanyway, I used a tripe fudge chocolate cake mix and mixed mint oreo crumbles into the chocolate buttercream icing.



The cranberry orange cupcakes turned out very nice as well, although, I should have added more cranberries since quite a few cupcakes were lacking in the cranberry area. I didn’t take pictures of these cupcakes because I didn’t decorate them up special or anything, just a quick swirl on the top with orange flavored buttercream icing.

I was very excited about the strawberry cake with cotton candy buttercream icing. I had made the icing before and paired it with another type of cake. Those were really good, but I thought that a strawberry cake (the last ones were blue raspberry) would be much better. While I liked this pairing, I think that the strawberry cake overpowered the flavor of the icing. This cake was an experiment in smooth icing with buttercream. And what were the results, you might ask! Well, less than I had hoped for but better than I expected…

Also, you may notice that I tried my hand at drop strings on this cake. My lesson learned with this one is plan the design first, then measure and mark so that everything is even.


And lastly there were the angel food cupcakes. I didn't expect much from these really, and the end product was only slightly better than the expectation. I have no pictures of these because they were the last thing I made, and I was very, very tired when they were done. And they weren't very pretty at all. I did three sizes: mini, regular, and king sized cupcakes. The mini cupcakes were a disaster. Let's just say that when I shook the pan it sounded like I had rocks in the cups instead of cupcakes. The regular size cupcakes shrunk into ovals when I took them out of the pan but tasted okay. The king size cupcakes turned out the best. They kept their shape and were pretty soft, however, none of them held up very well over time. They got too hard and dry. I don't think I'll be making angel food cupcakes again in the near future.

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