Monday, June 20, 2011
A Glass of Milk
I've achieved a certain degree of notoriety amongst Karel's friends, families, and colleagues for my calorically-accomplished baked goods. I only bake about once a month--a combination of laziness (not for the actual baking, but for the cleaning up afterwards) and apathy: I rarely get a chance to eat whatever baked good I make in the manner in which it was intended, which sort of decreases any inclination to make it. Cookies and cupcakes are more fun for me, in that respect--nobody's counting (I hope, anyway) so a few missing probably won't damage Karel's reputation. Much.
Karel's birthday bashes these past three years have been, for me, an orgy of baking. So many cakes, so little time. The trick is timing: icings can be made as early as a few days in advance, depending on which variation on the buttercream theme you're going for, but the cakes need to baked as close to the start of the party as possible. Cream puffs are a perennial favorite--the pate choux isn't very difficult to make, although it's always nerve-wracking to watch the oven as they rise--but they can only be made the day of serving, or else they'll lose that bit of crunch. (You can freeze them and "refresh" them with a brief baking, but there was no way we were getting 60-some puffballs into our freezer)
This year I elected to make cupcakes. The theory was that we'd have a ton of kids over, and cupcakes would be easier in general to handle, as you don't need a plate and a fork. However, since just about everybody canceled at the last moment, we had some 40 cupcakes and some very puzzled Dutch people eyeing them askance, (probably) wondering a) how did I get the icing so pink (food coloring), and b) what went into the icing?
Needless to say, we had leftovers. Lots of leftovers. And to compound to our death-by-excess, one of our friends brought over a far breton. So this morning, when I posted that I had about another day's left of cleaning to do, it was mostly wailing over what to do with all the food. I had to dump some of it, because it couldn't be kept, and freeze others. And then I got to the far.
Never mind that it had the texture and consistency of potting clay--a characteristic of Brittany cakes, and not an actual fault of our friend--when you've been living on snack food for two days, yet another cake becomes more liability than asset. But, well...we didn't like it that much, and it does take up one of our burners, and...At times like this, I like to imagine that even the Dutch would think twice about blurting out the truth.