14th 2010
Up to my neck in work, buttercream ruffles

Posted under: art, childhood, fluff, local news, women's history

Reader and commenter Susan sent this photo (via Cakewrecks)–and that about sums it up for me today.  I’m up to my neck in unmarked papers, unreviewed manuscripts, and unblurbed books, all of which need my attention immediatement, but I’m trying to achieve a barbie-like smiling serenity about it all.

I was a big fan of doll cakes as a little girl–I think I had at least a few when I was growing up.  My mother was a big Wilton cake method devotee–her favorite tube was the star, and she’d spend hours painstakingly baking and decorating my brother’s and my birthday fantasies to order with thousands of tiny, squeezed on stars.  This made for a busy, hand-exhausting week for her at the end of every summer, since our birthdays were only one week apart.  I remember a clown, a teddy bear, doll cakes, and once a cake sliced and decorated to look like a rainbow emerging from the clouds.  I think my brother ordered a lot of baseball cakes. 

But, I never learned the skillz–I’m a much more effective cake purchaser than a cake baker or decorator.  I bought one of those castle-shaped bundt pans a few years ago, and both times I used it half the cake stuck in the pan.  I Pammed the hell out of it before pouring in the batter, but it still stuck.  Aside from a few different kinds of Christmas cookies, that’s about the extent of my baking attempts in the past decade.


10 Responses to “Up to my neck in work, buttercream ruffles”

  1. GayProf on 14 Oct 2010 at 10:37 am #

    I like the baking. The doll cakes, though, always kinda creeped me out b/c they seem cannibalistic. It’s like the Tom Petty video where ends up eating Alice.

  2. Historiann on 14 Oct 2010 at 10:39 am #

    Dude–you’re a Nuevo Mexicano Irish Catholic and graduate of the World’s Greatest Catholic University who’s uncomfortable with cannibalism?

    How long’s it been since you went to Mass, anyway?

  3. Perpetua on 14 Oct 2010 at 11:13 am #

    LOL on the cannibalism, H’ann!

    My mom went to the same school of cake decorating. On my first birthday she made me an angel food cake shaped and decorated like an angel. But more impressively for one of my brother’s b’days she made an elephant cake that actually sat up (I mean, it was sitting up, rather than an elephant drawn on a flat horizontal cake). I love to bake myself, but not to decorate. I love the idea of my pastry bag, but am not deft with it.

    That cake really creeps me out though, I guess because it’s only her head-upper chest and the bottom of a dress. Where’s the rest of her? Also way too much icing.

  4. Grad Student on 14 Oct 2010 at 11:36 am #

    Cake decorating never struck my fancy. Give me a sugar cookie and some royal icing and I will rock your world though.

  5. GayProf on 14 Oct 2010 at 12:15 pm #

    To be fair, the “Body of Christ” thing always struck me as a bit wrong. His blood, though, was delightful.

  6. Matt L on 14 Oct 2010 at 12:31 pm #

    Re: Bundt cake pans…

    Historiann, you gotta use real butter and flour (You can use cocoa for chocolate bundt cakes). Pam on its own will never give you a good release.

  7. Historiann on 14 Oct 2010 at 12:54 pm #

    Ugh. What a pain in the a$$, with all the crenellation and the brickwork. Time to find a garage sale and slip it into the pile of kitchenware!

  8. Susan on 14 Oct 2010 at 7:48 pm #

    We have a favorite family recipe from the Betty Crocker Children’s cookbook for a castle cake — but you just take a sheet cake and cut it into sections. Our family replaced pink pillow mints (ugh) with M&Ms for the crenellations.

  9. KC on 14 Oct 2010 at 8:04 pm #

    It’s like the Tom Petty video where ends up eating Alice.

    Best video of all time.

  10. ntbw on 15 Oct 2010 at 7:02 pm #

    Cake Wrecks is my fave! When I discovered it, I spent about 4 hours at the computer, screaming with laughter. My grandparents had a catering business, so I spent a lot of time around some quite lovely (and also some really ugly, “customer is always right so give the rednecks what they want” road kill possum type) cakes as a kid.

    My mom too did amazing, homemade, delicious and gorgeous cakes for my brother and me. And also themed parties. In fifth grade I had a Mexican fiesta with authentic food. We checked out cookbooks from the library (a researched birthday party–any wonder I’m an academic!). And, she sewed Halloween costumes for us. I had a custom made princess outfit when I was 6. A Native American warrior outfit when I was 8. Clearly I had some gender identity issues between 6 and 8!

    Me, I can barely sew on a button. Thank goodness for the internet, where one can find whatever costume one’s children might want (Nascar pit crew member for a toddler, anyone? Don’t even ask why.) And my kids’ cakes come from the bakery at Publix. My mom is no doubt horrified!

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