The Lousy Cook Makes Three Anniversary Cakes

Fantasy
Reality

The Man I Married and I met on a street corner in Waikiki 30 years ago and married 51 weeks later. Although I have another year of practice for our 30th wedding anniversary cake, this seemed a good opportunity for a trial run of my cake baking and decorating skills. Visions of sugar roses danced in my head.Read More »

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The Lousy Cook Decorates a Cake–Redux!

Practicing rosettes
Practicing rosettes, stars, beads, and what my classmates called “poops”

Six months after my cake decorating fiasco and with cupcake-decorating and cookie-decorating classes under my belt, I was ready to try again: this time with adult supervision. I signed up for a two-part, six-hour cake decorating class. I’m not sure why I ever thought I could casually decorate a fabulous anniversary cake. Like brain surgeons who decide they’ll write a novel “when they retire,” my goal was a bit of an insult to pastry chefs.

There are only four great arts: music, painting, sculpture, and ornamental pastry. –Julia ChildRead More »

The Lousy Cook Makes a Fruitcake

img_4743
My brown Caribbean Black Cake (if I’d burned the sugar as the recipe required, I would have burned the house down, so I substituted dark molasses)

The first time I used my new KitchenAid mixer(s), I might have gone overboard. I threw out my hip while making a fruitcake.

The day started out by finally making The Fruitcake. To be specific, this was a Caribbean Black Cake six months in the making. I’d read about it in Laurie Colwin’s Home Cooking the previous summer, the same week I watched the Great British Baking Show and decided it wouldn’t be too difficult to make my own 30th anniversary cake. Colwin’s Caribbean Black Cake recipe stresses that the cake must be extravagantly decorated (“colored icing, flowers, swags, and garlands”), as it is typically for weddings. Also, the cake recipe includes two bottles of booze. Sounded like a good starter cake for me: a cake Colwin confessed that she herself had not attempted to make.Read More »

The Lousy Cook Decorates a Cake

wedding-cupcakewedding-cake-cutting

I want a beautiful wedding cake. A gorgeous, opulent, over-the-top, Princess Diana wedding cake.

That I’ve been married for 28.25 years is beside the point.

We had a wedding cake in 1988, a small, heart-shaped carrot cake with real flowers: a lovely cake in keeping with a small budget and a small wedding on a small boat. If memory serves correctly, which it probably doesn’t, the cake was from Safeway. I no longer even recognize the groom I married in this picture, much less the cake.

I have no idea who that young man is, but he sure looks happy.
I have no idea who that young man is, but he sure looks happy.

It appears that the cake was really more of a cupcake on steroids. The Man I Married’s hand and the cake server are almost as large as the cake. Who cared? There was more than enough bubbly, courtesy of my parents, and that’s all that mattered. We had our priorities straight, as far as I’m concerned.

But, along with the size of my derriere, the wedding cake I desire has grown.Read More »