Adventures of a Fledgling Baker – Part 1

Never one to shy away from adding a crazy project that I have no idea how to execute to the top of my To Do list in the middle of crunch back-to-school and launch-my-speaker-series season, I have volunteered to bake my brother’s wedding cake!

I am not a baker.  Not even cookies.  Not even Tollhouse cookies.   My annual contribution to Thanksgiving carbs has been lovingly coined “discuits” for their, um, notable lack of volume.  Puff pastry completely baffles me.  Even my beloved holiday popovers are often more like egg muffins (hey they taste good right?)

So of course it is a no-brainer that I should undertake a three tiered baked perfection (one gluten free of course), each with a unique flavor and coordinating filling, all mouthwateringly fluffy and perfectly stacked, frosted and piped into a glistening Mont Blanc of flawless beauty.   All irony aside, it is hands down the project I have been most looking forward to this fall…  And luckily my brother and his fiancé are pretty laid back so if it is more like the leaning tower of Pisa, they will hopefully chalk it up to a stab at creativity, no?

By the way – if you are ever insane enough to undertake a hairbrained project like this, I highly recommend stopping into Cake Art Supplies in San Rafael.  They know absolutely everything and will spend patient ages with you answering all sorts of naïve and uninformed questions, and providing every imaginable tool you will need to get the job done.

So here’s the play by play.  Actually – way too boring.  Baking cakes is not that interesting.   Here’s what I ended up with:

White cake on the bottom with fresh strawberries blended into white buttercream.   I probably should have added more powdered sugar to offset the strawberry juices, but since it was already on the cake when I realized this, I tossed it into the freezer and will hope for the best.

Gluten free chocolate cake: I emailed every cook I know, called some gluten free friends, spent about an hour in the bakery aisle (I bought: amaranth flour, xanthan gum, white rice flour, brown rice flour, potato starch, almond flour (whoops my brother is allergic to nuts – scratch that idea), sorghum flour and coconut oil), and meticulously whipped up a CERTIFIABLY gluten free creation.  It tasted a lot like grass with the texture of fine sand and a delicate soupcon of that stuff I add to my smoothies because I heard it fights cancer.

Then I went back to the store and got the King Arthur Flour’s gluten free chocolate cake mix which takes about 7 minutes to mix up, and it came out great.  Who will know?  (Well you will of course, but you most likely won’t be at the wedding and if you are, I’m assuming you have better manners than to mention it…)

Top layer is a tiny lemon cake (same as white cake but with lemon zest) filled with lemon curd (no I did NOT make it myself – the spendy store version is sooo good and now I have that extra jar for my high tea, ducky…).

I know you’re dying to know what happened next, but you’ll have to Stay Tuned: Cakes are wedged into my freezer between the perogies and the Vietnamese coffee nervously awaiting whatever decorative torture I have in store for them this weekend…

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1 Response to Adventures of a Fledgling Baker – Part 1

  1. Judy Ahles says:

    Tracy – It was absolutely awesome. Who would ever know you’ve never done this before.
    Thnks for making our daughters and Wyatt day extra special. tom & Judy

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