The Five Hour Cake

Today is my roommate's birthday. She is, if you couldn't tell, 20 years old. And since I'm a baker (and I had no other gift ideas) I decided to surprise her with a cake.

Which is a lot harder than you might think, because I didn't know her favorite flavor (my guess was red velvet or strawberry) or what colors or design to make it. So I just sorta winged it (wung it?) and came up with this idea on the spot.

It helped that Joy had plans last night so I was able to go out to the store, buy ingredients, have time to bake the cake, make a gumpaste bow and frosting, cool the cake, and ice and decorate it, all while she was out.

The bow is my first attempt ever, and Joy and Sophie thought it looked really good, but (you know what a perfectionist I am) the unevenness and powdered sugar splots really bothered me. Plus, I think using a gumpaste/fondant mix might help instead of straight up gumpaste, because when I put the little bows on the cake, some of them cracked. So I'm definitely going to practice this skill a little more.

And speaking of practicing, this is the website where I got the tutorial, so if you need some gumpaste bow practicing tips as well, here you go!

I still can't believe that I started baking at 7pm and by midnight, it was done. I know if I had more time, I could've fixed thought little tiny imperfections that bothered me, like the bow, and smoothed out the buttercream a little more. (I probably would've used a from-scratch recipe instead of a doctored box mix too.)

If you live in an apartment, or even a house, with a small number of inhabitants, say two or three, and you don't go through a gallon of milk as fast as a household of seven would, then it might because a good idea to check the expiration date of aforementioned milk, just in case it's two weeks past the date, and before you start dumping the milk into recipes. Just a thought.

And my final word of advice for anyone looking for cake decorating tips and tricks: don't burn your thumb on the lighter when lighting birthday candles. Actually, you probably shouldn't use a lighter at all when you're blood sugar is low and you're exhausted at 12am. But aside from the charred mark on my nail (what the heck?!), I survived that incident too.

Happy Birthday, Joy!