First of all, I hope all of you had an absolutely wonderful Christmas! We certainly did! And now that we are all in Christmas Recovery, (good times can be exhausting!) but before the new year begins, I thought perhaps I would catch up on the last few Christmassy stories.
Today's will be about the cakes. I don't believe I told you about the cakes.
Do you remember way back in the summer when Tim surprised me with a mini-bundt pan? It's the cutest dang thing. Looks like this:
Wow that is way too close up, sorry. But you get the idea. I was very excited about this new toy and set to work straight away trying it out. With each attempt I learned more about how to adapt my existing recipes to this new pan. I learned, I fiddled and adjusted and eventually I developed enough confidence in myself and my new pan that I decided I wanted to make baby bundt cakes for all my local people for Christmas!
Please bear in mind here that I came to this decision during the summer. Which is a very long time before Christmas. What was I thinking? I was thinking how dang cute those baby bundts would be and I could not wait to get started. While I waited, I planned. I decided which cakes to make: chocolate, gingerbread, blueberry, pumpkin, banana nut and buttermilk if you care to know. I found the perfect little pans with clear covers (at the dollar store no less!) to use as my gift box and in the clearance bin at Micheal's I found very pretty Christmassy looking ribbons to wrap around each box.
There was one bug that had not yet been resolved though. The cake release. In regular cake pans, regardless of the shape or size, the surface is fairly smooth, so coating the pans with shortening and then flour and then using waxed paper or parchment to ensure that the cake can be easily removed from the pan fully whole and undamaged is no big deal. With this new pan is was a much bigger issue.
Parchment or waxed paper simply could not be used because of the designs built into the pan. All of those very snazzy grooves and swirls also made it very complicated to even get shortening and flour into every crevice. And it really needs to be thoroughly coated. I cannot stress that enough. If there is even one tiny itty bitty little spot that is not sufficiently protected, the cake will stick in that spot and instead of the cake releasing perfectly, it will come out in pieces. Not ideal.
Then, too, the clean up is a major pain in the arse. No matter how many times I washed and re washed and re-re-washed I would always find some little spot that I missed. ARGH! I was beginning to rethink my entire plan until I remembered that the nice people at the company that created PAM also created one specifically for baking. "Perfect Release" it says right on the can. Okay, I decided, Let's give this a whirl. Huzzah Huzzah~ It worked ! Not only did the cakes come out quickly, easily and perfectly, but - bonus - clean up was ever so much easier! YAYAYAY!
So, come holiday time, after making Thanksgiving pies, the Christmas cookie bakathon, and brownies for a party, it was time to make the bundt cakes. I did all of the baking, all six kinds of cakes on a Thursday. I was so pleased at how they turned out that I was literally dancing around the kitchen. Each one came out of the pan perfectly. Well the blueberry cakes maybe not so perfectly but blueberries are oddly shaped so they can be forgiven. Especially since they taste so great.
The next day, Friday, I decorated. Coming up with six different decorations was something else I had to work out but I did and on the fly too. In fact, I learned how to candy pecans while decorating so that the candied pecans could be part of the one cake decoration! I had So Much Fun!
By the time I was done and had begun delivering cakes, the kitchen was a wreck and the clean up took awhile. But it was great fun, the cakes turned out pretty well, people seemed to like them and, well, probably next year I will do it again.
Hopefully I will have learned a few more tricks by then and they will turn out even better!
I've always been told that home made gifts are the best kinds of gifts. But I cannot sew or paint or craft or build a bird house or any of the other wonderful things that people create. But I can bake. And so I did.
Yup, this is me. Some people said, "Sam, you should write a Blog". "Well, there's a thought", I thought to myself. And so here it is.