When a food critic turns the poison pen on herself

Lina & Jens’ wedding cake October 24, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — crummb @ 11:44 pm

Call me ambitious. But two months into this wedding cake business, and I was expecting myself to nail every detail and squash every glitch by now. But nay. I still have much to learn.

Like how I must always remind every client to bring their own cake knives. And that I must always attach fabric ribbons as late as possible or it will absorb moisture from the fondant and cause ugly patches. And that a certain brand of fondant that is used by all the celebrity pastry chefs in America, which recently reached our shores and is sold at very reasonable prices, isn’t what it cracked up (pun intended) to be. Oh Massa Ticino, how could I have cheated on you? I will never wander again. Till death do us part!

But out of this quagmire is one rather pleasant thing that I’ve learnt: two-tier cakes can look good. In the past, I’d always considered two-tier cakes the descendents of Jabba the Hutt. You know, fat, shapeless, like a melting Slurpee. It wasn’t until I made Lina and Jens’ cake last weekend that I realised it can look pretty darn gorgeous — as long as the upper tier is shorter (3 inches) than the lower one (4 inches), and as long as you prop it up on a cakestand, the taller the better.

Oh, 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 bit of leaf green, and voila! A muted, delicate shade of green.


Kids Cakes October 13, 2010

Filed under: Birthday cakes — crummb @ 2:05 pm
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If you ever want to make me nervous, just ask me to make a kid’s birthday cake. But if you want me to really tremble in my housewife’s slippers, tell me it is for a boy.

You see, I don’t have a son. I have no idea what makes them tick (or tear down the house). I think Thomas & Friends is the nuttiest TV show on earth. I mean, talking trains? What’s so fun about that? Or dinosaurs? Or cars? Or anything that moves fast and puffs smoke? They’re┬ánoisy and they smell.

So thankfully, when M asked me to make a cake for her son Ollie’s 3rd birthday, she had only one criterion. Ollie loves gummies and so she wanted them on a cake. Okay, this I can do. I’ll put them on bamboo skewers and stick them into a little balloon cart, my tribute to the animation movie Up (if you haven’t seen it, the 4-minute montage of a lifelong marriage is worth an Oscar by itself).

But man, it was hard work. It took hours to cut, texture and stick together the cart. The little helium canister threatened to drop off, the cart started falling apart, the wheels couldn’t support the weight, the gummy sticks kept tilting downwards. By the time M came to pick up the cake, I looked like I’d just walked through a car wash.

Cakes for little girls, on the other hand, are a complete breeze. You just make cute little strawberries, cut out little flowers and leaves, stick them on the cake and that is it. After S came to pick up this 3-tier cake for her daughter Jayna, I could actually go out to attend a wedding like a normal person and even emitted no foul odours.

I know I’m probably scaring off all my friends who have sons. But don’t worry (especially Clara, Yee Hwa, Jo and Hun Ching!), I will always make your boys’ birthday cakes if you want.

There are always sedatives (for me, not your sons).