Monday, June 30, 2008

Finished Product!!!

Here's a quick (albeit blurry) picture of the finished cake!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Let Them Eat Cake!!

The wedding cake. Angel wanted it to be huge. It didn't necessarily have to taste good, but it had to LOOK good. It was a challenge that suited my perfectionist disorder perfectly. So, in the past few months I have made a couple "practice cakes" and worked out some of the particulars of the whole procedure. The first issue was that she wanted it all covered in fondant. This isn't a problem except that once you cover a cake with fondant it can't be refrigerated. If you DO refrigerate it, when you take it out, condensation will mess of up fondant because the cake is cold and the air would be warm. SO, that meant that I had to use buttercream frosting, which is SUPER sweet. Then I thought that maybe I could use some sort of jam-type filling because that would make the cake more yummy - but it turned out to be too "squishy" and when the cakes were stacked, it mushed out of the middle and made a little bubble all the way around the middle of the cake. These are the types of things that you don't learn if you don't do a trial run...and luckily, there were lots of people willing to eat the test cakes.
I took two vacation days to make this cake. The wedding is on Saturday. Yesterday afternoon (Wednesday) I left work a little bit early and finished up the shopping so that I had all the supplies on hand before I got started. I had 21 cake mixes (a couple extra, guess I couldn't count!), 5 lbs. of butter, a huge tub of shortening, 20 lbs of powdered sugar, 6 dozen eggs and a giant bottle of vanilla, lots of oil. In addition I had wooden dowels, pillars, cake plates in 5 different sizes, a cake leveler (looks like a hacksaw), 7.5 lbs of fondant, and some gumpaste for the flowers. we go.

I started baking cakes on Wednesday night and got 6 of the 10 done, saving the largest 4 for the morning. Each layer needed to be baked separately because the pans wouldn't fit in the oven otherwise. While those were baking, I made about 300 light purple royal icing flower and let them dry overnight.

This morning I got up and baked the last 4 layers and let them cool. While those were going I was making batch after batch of frosting - starting with the smaller layers. Each had to be leveled with the cake leveler, covered in frosting, then the fondant needed to be rolled out and put on each cake. Sounds much easier than it is actually.Here are some more pictures of the progress...The layers are:8" - red velvet cake, 10" - yellow cake, 12" - white cake, 14" - chocolate cake, and 16" - strawberry cake.

And here are the finished cakes. I have to make little green leaves tonight so that they can dry overnight. Tomororw, Angel and I are going to get the ribbon that goes around the bottom of each layer. Then I will "glue" the little purple flowers and leaves on with icing, and arrange the flowers that go in between each layer in the center of the cake. On Saturday morning I am taking the disassembled cake to the hall to "build" it there. OH BOY! I'll take some more pictures at later stages. I should have a rather entertaining blog post after the wedding Saturday!


Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Dear Jackass,

Dear Jackass (aka, ex-husband),

I got your voicemail this morning informing me that I could "just go ahead and keep the girls overnight on Saturday night instead of worrying about bringing them back." While I completely understand that the response you want is a "thank you - I appreciate it" - unfortunately (for you) my response is "the girls will be dropped off at your house around 9 and your sorry ass better be there."

Let me refresh your memory of the last few weeks and our discussions regarding my brother's wedding, that you have known about for over a year. The original plan was for me to pick up the girls (since it turns out that this weekend they happen to be with you) on Friday night before bed. I offered you "replacement time" which you said you didn't want. Okay. Two weeks ago when it was your week to have the girls, you called me and asked me to keep them overnight on one of my visitation days (instead of you picking them up at 8pm) and I said that I couldn't drop them off at daycare the following morning, but that you could pick them up in the morning. You called me every name you could think of and hung up on my numerous times. My simple issue was that I needed to be to work earlier than I could have dropped them off at daycare. Your argument was that you had worked on a case for a long time and needed to be at the police station when everything came to an end that particular night. I have no problem with this - but your "needs" are not more important to me than my needs...and the "needs" of the police department is your problem. Let me repeat - YOUR PROBLEM. I was more than willing to work with you on the schedule issue - but instead, you just said "fine, then you can't pick up the girls until right before the wedding and you have to drop them off right after." At this point, I expect you to throw tantrums like a 4 year old when you don't get exactly what you want - I expect that you are unable to compromise in any way to make things easier for the kids...becasue, as you said yourself, "it isn't about what they need, it's about what *you* want."

So, in response to your little hissy-fit, I cancelled the babysitter I had lined up for Saturday night and I re-arranged stuff that I had to do, which is not by any means minimal. Then, this past weekend you call me to tell me that I can once again pick up the girls on Friday night. Well, I can't do that now. I have made arrangements already according to your last tantrum. I will, however, make arrangements to pick up the girls from you early on Saturday morning so that you don't have to get a babysitter. I did this to try to C-O-M-P-R-O-M-I-S-E (look it up).

This morning's voicemail is really the final blow. I cannot keep changing my plans around your mood-swings. Now, all of the sudden, you have to work Saturday night - and I'm supposed to view that as *MY* problem? No, I think not. I realize that you think I'm just being a mega-bitch about all of this - but what you don't seem to understand is that there is a LOT of planning going on here and your bullshit affects more than just me. Everyone has had enough. I offered to attempt to find another babysitter for Saturday night but you were too upset at my "this is your problem, not mine" reaction to even bother listening to what I was saying. So - my response is this "screw you - the girls will be dropped off around 9pm at your house - your happy ass had better be there to greet them."

Once again, thank you for reminding me why I divorced you.


Monday, June 23, 2008

Lazy Blogger

I'm afraid that it's time I admit to what you have been thinking. I'm an INCREDIBLY lazy blogger. I'd love to blame it on the up-coming wedding, and the preparations that go along with that...or on the kids that seem to somehow make time disappear almost instantly...or on my job that has become a mad rush to finish up experiments to get this damn paper finished...but that wouldn't be fair. After all, they could be worthy blog fodder. Instead, I am forced to just say, HELLO, MY NAME IS GRETCHEN, AND I'M A LAZY BLOGGER." I will try to do better.