I Dream In Buttercream
20 June 2011
Lately I've had several orders come in for You Take The Cake! - which is GREAT except for one very big problem: It's like, 900º out there (and in here), and we currently don't have air conditioning. We have a fan. That's it. You know what doesn't like heat and humidity? Buttercream frosting. You know what cakes are made with, lotsa times? Buttercream frosting. I've had to turn down a few jobs, or at least not pursue them, but I did take on some orders this week that I thought I could fill.
This one, above, was for a gentleman who was helping plan the baby shower for his wife and their first child, a little girl. She had mentioned petits fours to him, so he wanted to get some for her. We settled on 80, for 30 guests. He mostly left the rest up to my discretion, but he mentioned that his wife liked pink and green. So here's the breakdown:
40 Vanilla cakes + 40 Chocolate cakes
Of those, 20 were pink fondant, 20 were white, 20 were green, and 20 were chocolate - 10 of each cake flavor.
Of the vanilla cakes, half were layered with rich buttercream, while the other half were layered with hazelnut chocolate creme.
Of the chocolate, a third was the buttercream, a third was the Nutella (duh), and a third was homemade key lime curd, which turned out to be outrageously delicious. (I have more of that on refrigeration and will be looking for a good usage of it soon!)
The petits fours were oodles and oodles of work. If I'd known how much, I might've charged double! I will remember that in the future. They turned out bigger than I wanted them to be, but I could've easily controlled that. I chose to go with it, and after staying up all night, what, Thursday night, baking the cakes and filling them, I froze them and then spent Friday alternating between making up and dipping them in their various fondant coatings, and working on the baby blocks cake the client also wanted for the main cake, spelling out the baby's name.
As far as the petits fours, I asked my husband over and over if they looked okay, and over and over he said they looked great, very professional, blah blah blah. This man also tells me I have a sexy body, which I clearly do not if you have ever seen me in the nekkitude, so I accepted his assertions only with serious dubiousness. I mean, really, do they look okay?!
Once those were finished, nestled on their foil-covered boards and boxed, I kept them in front of the fan so they wouldn't turn into so many goobly gobs of pink and green poo, and turned my attention to the block cake.
Oh, the block cake. It should have been SO easy. Really, blocks? What's the trouble, bubble?
That damn humidity did a serious number on my buttercream. It just would NOT set. And my cakes, apparently they didn't like the barometric pressure in the house or something, because they kept crumbling in my hands. Which necessitated using MORE buttercream-as-glue to put it back together, and Oh, My Gosh, I literally sat there and cried when I saw that it was not just going to come together.
Other than my Topsy Turvy Cake Wreck (did I ever blog about that? It was fugly, but a fun practice effort), this was the hardest confection I think I have ever tried to put together.
I frantically emailed the daddy and told him of my predicament. He told me, take your time, and let me know if there's anything I can do to help. I retorted something like, "Yeah, bring me a stiff drink," or some such unprofessional inappropriateness.
Long story short, Mr. Client arrived while I was still tearing what's left of my hair out over the blocks cake and weeping in my buttercream, toting a bottle of rum and a, well, a very sexy smile. Rob was asleep upstairs. Whatever. He could have come down at any time and joined us, and we certainly didn't try to be quiet.
We raided my shot glass collection (as he laughed at my Ocean Breeze one, but hey, if I've been there, I want it represented in an inch and a half of two-dollar painted glass), and he poured us each a shot. Woo. I haven't done shots since college, maybe? Or maybe I have, but nothing so burn-y and wow-ee. You know that kind. They were nothing to him, but to li'l ol' me, they were quite the thing.
Of course, being post-gastric bypass, one shot and I was done. Toast. Positively inebriated. So you can imagine how I felt after five. Yes, five. I'm not proud. But it was fun.
In the end, he decided he couldn't accept the blocks cake, because it just didn't work out. And I didn't blame him, because really, it just didn't work out! I'm embarrassed to show you, but of course I'm going to, because that's all you want from me right now:
No, the "N" didn't really lean over that far; it was the angle of the picture. And no, it's not gasp-worthy or anything like that. But it's really, really not terrific.
Honestly, though, I did the best I could under the circumstances. And like Mr. Daddy (that sounds dirty, hee) said, "It's just a cake." He was very chill about the whole thing. You know I was waiting for him to leave so I could pop eleventy-five anti-anxiety pills, which I did, because it was all very stressful.
So in the end, while we did those five shots, I mashed up the cake and made him set up little bitty boxes. I turned the blocks into little cake balls, using the leftover pink fondant from the petits fours, and decorated each with a little pink florette. I told him he could toss those out the window on his way home, use them at the shower, or whatever-the-hell, but just take them to make me feel better.
And so he did.
P.S. I'm making him cookies for his birthday in a couple of weeks, and you know I can kill some cookies. And he promised I haven't lost his business. So it wasn't a total cake-tastrophe. Oh. Did I really just go there? I think I did.
P.P.S. Totally forgot: He said the petits fours were a hit at the shower. So yay. I'm not a total screw-up!