Today is my sweet SIL's birthday and I was flattered when her equally sweet SOP asked me to make her cake. It was fun to plan a cake for a grown-up, I hope she likes it. He (SOP) asked for a chocolate cake but I forgot to ask what kind of filling so I tried Chocolate Ganache. The leftovers were yummy so I think it will be tasty with the cake. As a member of the Church of Chocolate, I firmly believe there is no such thing as too much chocolate; lets hope they are also Believers.
I've read a few posts lately on other blogs in which people discussed "Why I blog" and it got me thinking about 'Why I blog'. Not just to trick you into thinking that I'm ever-so clever and so you must buy stuff from my Etsy shop (in the event that I ever open it), that is one reason, but I think the biggest reason is to share knowledge. I love it when I stumble across a trick or crafty goody that makes me go 'Ooooh, what an excellent idea'. So in that spirit I offer the things I learned on this cake:
I tried the flower nail method when baking the cake. That is, I put a flower nail in the center of the cake pans and poured the batter around it before putting them in the oven. This is supposed to help the inside bake at the same rate as the outer part nearest the pan edge. There was a small dome to cut off but I don't think quite as much as if I'd left them out. Probably Bake-Even strips are still the way to go.
I also learned that it is a pain in the keister to pipe chocolate ganache in a chilly house. I knew I wanted the color scheme to be white, pink and brown, but when I tried tinting the white frosting with brown gel food coloring it just looked like... well, poop (literally, even Mr. SimpleHeart saw it lurking in a bowl and said "what the *@#^ is that"). So I had the bright idea I would use the leftover ganache, but it kept hardening in the tip so that I had to hold it over simmering water for a minute to soften it enough to pipe. The first try looked so awful I put the cake in the fridge to cool the chocolate enough that I could pick it off with a toothpick. Then out came an off-set spatula and a cup of hot water so I could give the cake a shave and start over. grrr. Probably a technique best saved for milder weather.
Speaking of ganache, I didn't have cream on hand so I made it with evaporated milk. I used about 1 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips and 1/4 cup milk and that worked great!
This was my first try doing corelli lace and it wasn't as hard as I thought it would be. I've tried it before on a practice board and it looked, um, wrong. Then I read somewhere that its like drawing a bunch of cursive r's and s's together and I said "ah-hah". It totally helped to envision that while I was squiggling.
I made sweet SIL an apron for her birthday. I cruised the Anthro site for ideas and made her a knock-off of a cute one I saw. I took a pic of me wearing it but... bleh. We'll have to see if she'll send us some cute shots of her wearing it so I can show you.