Saturday, January 19, 2013

How I discovered fondant...but didn't patent it, A Baking Tale!

I am not usually one for the long and wordy titles to a blog post. But, well sometimes, the event just calls for it.

I was thinking about my true enjoyment of cooking and baking and eating delicious and decadent food.
And it drew me to the fact that this blog was named to represent 4 aspects; 4 areas that are repeated again and again my life, a.k.a 4 things that bring me vast enjoyment.

So, I want to spend more time writing about cooking. I would say that most of my posts are about learning and teaching. Some about reading, but not many about cooking. I want to remedy that.

Flash back to my 13th birthday. It was the night before my birthday party. A fun gathering of family, church friends and school friends. While I don't remember much about the actual celebration, this I do remember....I created fondant on that night! If you are a baker, then you know what fondant is (sheets of moldable icing). It's used often to make cakes have that crisp and sharp look that is so hard to achieve with regular frosting. Many of the oh so popular sculpted cakes, are covered in fondant. So, you are probably wondering how in the world could I claim I invented it. I'll share my story.

One of the things I wanted for my 13th birthday was to bake my own cake. My savings minded mama was thrilled. I planned out my design, thought about my flavors, and purchased all the supplies I would need. This cake was going to be phenomenal! The night before my party I was in absolute chill mode as I measured, mixed, and created the from-scratch cake that I knew would astound  my family and friends. Of course I also swiped a few tastes of cake batter for quality control.

As the cake baked, I got ready for step two. Create my own icing and then color it. I was aiming for white icing and then a rainbow, and some type of Happy Birthday Sabrina logo. So, again I start mixing and reading directions and measuring. Then I keep mixing and mixing, because my should be beautiful icing is stiff. And I am getting an arm workout with the spoon. It never occurred to me that the icing was ruined, it was just different. I scooped it into various bowls and added food coloring. Bam! I had what looked like play-doh. There was NO way this solid stuff was going into my beautiful pastry bags, to be piped into a rainbow.

Like I have mentioned before, I am not perfect in the kitchen, but I am smart. I had to quickly re-evaluate my design plan. What could I do to save my cake? I remember my grandma was in town and she was giving me a look like, "Brina, what ARE you doing?" My mama, daddy, and Melanie had steered clear, probably afraid my volatile teenage temper would land on them. I started thinking and then got this beauty of an idea. I took the "solid frosting aka fondant" and started rolling it into different sized balls. Soon I had a cake decorated with snowmen. Bright, rainbow colored snowmen! Snowmen to decorate a cake for an April birthday! I laugh now as I think back on it:) It looked like a disaster, but I proudly called the whole family in and showed them my work. They were kind to my face....I'll never know what they were thinking.

I served my cake the next day and it was delicious! A tad dry, but the love that went into making it, overcame any and all flaws in my estimation.

And there you have it. If I had just rolled out that "solid frosting" into flat sheets....I could have started the fondant craze;) Instead I shifted from cake making for a little while. And on my next birthday, and every birthday since then....we just decided it might be best, to go ahead and order a cake:)

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