When a food critic turns the poison pen on herself

Abstract sugarflowers April 1, 2010

Filed under: Inane stuff — crummb @ 12:23 am
Tags: ,

The last time I lost sleep over homework, Bill Clinton was still president, Jamiroquai was the It band, and I could fit into UK size 10 jeans — which is to say, it was a very long time ago.

But there I was, last Friday night, sprawled out in bed with my eyes wide open and thinking, “The teacher is gonna HATE it!” I had just put together the final project for my 5-week course in sugarflowers, and to put it delicately, it didn’t turn out the way I had envisioned it. It plain sucked.

We had to decorate a 2-tier cake any way we liked. And, with grand plans to impress, I covered not 2, but 3 tiers of styrofoam cake rounds with avocado-coloured fondant. Then, I stuck on leaves of three different shades of green in a swag formation, held up by white carnations. The bright idea was to create thick flower and leaf cut-outs so they look like felt appliques. But the cake ended up looking like a bloody Lego tower put together by a 6-year-old.

Aghast and unable to sleep, I plucked out the leaves and started scrambling for plan B. Out of sheer desperation, I took out my round cutters the next morning and created these abstract flowers in pink, the only colour that could perk up the vomitous avocado shade. They turned out surprisingly well, but with just hours to go before I was to head off to class, I only had enough flowers to form one row.

At class, the teacher was neither horrified nor impressed. “Not bad for something done out of desperation,” she said. But back home, my husband Z was a lot more blunt. Eyeing the pukey-green and uneven, embattled fondant, he said after taking these pictures: “My photos make your cake look good.” Wow, thanks.

In a moment of abject self-doubt, I asked him, Am I a better writer than a baker? Should I forget about this cake-making business and just stick with journalism?

He must have felt bad, because his turnaround was swift. He raised an arm skyward a la Hamlet. “No,” he pronounced. “The literary world has lost its brightest star, because the baking world has discovered…” and pauses for dramatic effect, “a  supernova!”

Right, thanks. Anyway I’ve kept the flowers and am thinking of how to re-use them on another cake. The puke fondant? I trashed them the second these photos were shot. Adios.


24 Responses to “Abstract sugarflowers”

  1. wey Says:

    still adorable!

    • crummb Says:

      you know what? i tried making them again using a different colour, and they didn’t turn out as well. i think the key to success with this flower is that you gotta feel panicky 😛

  2. Kat Says:

    i fink dem abstract flowers look really cute… i like em.. so dont give up on da baking world yet ma’am.. you inspires ‘ol me.. who else would i turn to for mouthwatering beauty and baking delights?? besides that.. think of da children.. they need yummy happy tasty treats… dont deprive da young uns!!!

  3. tellaure Says:

    the “abstract” flowers are amazing! the green fondant actually looks good in the first picture.

    dont’ give up! :DD

  4. zann Says:

    mousey and i have policy when choosing fabric for our clothes: nothing in sai sek (that’s “shit colour” in hokkien). no sai brown or sai green! i never knew that policy would apply to cakes too — not that i think your cakes are sai hor!

    ok, i better stop now before i put my foot further in my mouth.

  5. A Says:

    they look good, actually. I don’t think they look half as bad as how you think they do (:

    please don’t give up on the baking world, you still have to bake my wedding cake a decade on 😉

  6. Ah Pei Says:

    Oh, i actually like the flowers !! I think its artistically beautiful. Not the usual flowers we see on cakes. Art can be on cakes too right ?

  7. Trish Says:

    I love the abstract flowers!!! I wished you had time to do the full 3 tiers! I’m sure it would have been amazing! I’m also curious to see the flowers you made the first time.

  8. chris Says:

    georgia o’keefe wedding cake! I like!

  9. happygrub Says:


    Its been a long time. I have my hands full with my 7 month old girl now and you’ve reproduced! Congrats, a lil late but.. oh well. From one mom to another I’m sure you’ll forgive!

    The flowers n cakes n photography look awesome, as usual! I love it!

    hugz, farhan

    • crummb Says:

      ah, you finally emerge! gosh, has it been 7 months already?! hope everything is well. welcome back! 🙂

  10. mamalicious Says:

    gorgeous and sweet….. ur got talent, tht’s for sure. 🙂

  11. sooch Says:

    Ah, I am very late, as usual. But, just to tell you, not bad what your cake! Vomit looks much worse. Maybe Z is a top-grade photographer but really the green looks kinda pleasant? And super duper cute blooms I must say!

    • crummb Says:

      haha, yes, i must confess the camera did wonders to the colour. in real life it was just… UGH. but thanks! i like the flowers too!!

  12. clarakan Says:

    ok, so you can make wonderful abstract flowers. but that’s not what is making me green with envy. it’s the fact that you have a Shakespearean actor for a husband. Man!!! I want someone to spout me sonnet-like lines with such panache at home.

    • crummb Says:

      HAHAHAH!!! you just made me laugh real hard! unfortunately his flashes of literary brilliance are few and far between. what i do get a lot of from him is nagging – yep i am a cock-pecked wife ;P

  13. Monica H Says:

    I just found your blog and I love it! I think your husband takes a great photo and you are a wonderful baker. I’ve bookmarked a few of your recipes and I look forward to seeing more. I’ll be back!

    • crummb Says:

      hello monica, i love YOUR blog! everything looks super yummy and beautifully shot too. i’ll be back as well!

  14. Jace Says:

    Hi, wadda you know… I’m losing sleep over the exact homework prob, which is due tmrw! Except the thing that’s giving me grief is the fondant. I’ve never used it before and the evil sugar paste has got me beaten. I’m headed to class with naked styrofoam pieces, praying for divine assistance.

    P.S. I think your homework looks great and kudos to your hubby for the excellent photo and morale booster.

    • crummb Says:

      hey hey how did it go? who is your instructor? had fun? 🙂

      • Jace Says:

        My lao shi is Fadilah and she’s really fantastic. Very generous with her time and she made learning quite stress free. Who’s yours?

        I definitely had fun and I’m thinking of plodding on to complete the other 2 modules. But I need a break first so akan datang till next year. Did you continue on?

  15. […] this cake also exorcised my fear of using avocado colouring (remember this?). Even at very light doses, pale avocado looks kinda dull and morose. But pep it up with a teeny […]

  16. […] this cake also exorcised my fear of using avocado colouring (remember this?). Even at very light doses, pale avocado looks kinda dull and morose. But pep it up with a teeny […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s