cooking

Cake-Decorating Techniques I’m Glad I Learned

Image from Pixabay

I’ve been baking and cooking since I was 12. I’ve also learned to decorate cakes and other baked goods around that age. Of course, I struggled several times, especially in the early days.

However, I’ve been making a lot of my own occasion cakes in recent years, because one of my friends is allergic to peanuts. Unfortunately, many bakeries aren’t nut-free, including near where I live. In fact, although I reside outside New York City, allergy-friendly bakeries are rare.

Nevertheless, I still enjoy my homemade cakes and cupcakes. The interest worked out very, very well. So, without further ado, here are the techniques I am thankful for learning.

1: Crumb-coating

This is when you put a plain layer of buttercream all over the cake and put it in the refrigerator to cool. That way, you don’t end up with crumbs in your icing. That is when you put the next layer over it and you can be free to do what you want. This might not work for whipped cream frosting, though.

2: Whipped buttercream technique

You do the usual for making buttercream icing, but add extra milk (a little at a time), and whip with an electric mixer for as many as seven minutes or so. That way, your buttercream can turn out similarly to whipped cream icing. There are a few reasons it might work. One, colors tend to come out bolder in butter cream than whipped cream. Two, writing on a cake is easier with better with buttercream than whipped cream. Three, there is a special trick to whipped cream icing that keeps it from sinking into the cake. That is adding unflavored gelatin to hot water, letting it cool, and then incorporating it into the whipped cream. It’s fine, but a little more work, depending on your needs or desires.

3: Less can be more

Good cake designs don’t always have to have lots of decorations. In fact, a minimal amount can be just as beautiful, if not, more. That’s what happened when I prepared for my 26th birthday party in November 2019. I had a lot of cooking to do, so I just made simple flower-like borders around the cake’s exterior (not attached), wrote “Happy Birthday, Sunayna” with buttercream on a piece of white chocolate, and that was it. It still looked great.

So, there you have it. I hope this helps.

fiction

Plump and Pretty: A Flash Fiction Piece

Senior prom drew nearer. There was a boy in my class named Trevor who loved me. He always told me how beautiful I was and how much he adored me.

            I considered it a compliment as I had more weight than many of my classmates. I wore huge round glasses and curly dark hair. I have had crushes on a boy in middle school, who’d left in ninth grade. He didn’t like me. He’d thought I was too chubby.

            How could he? I loved my body. Girls needed to accept who they are and not compare themselves to the ideal skinny ladies they saw on the media. Not to mentioned how heavily photo-shopped they’d been. Many probably looked like me.

            Anyway, Trevor and I had dated for a few months now. Today was June sixth. Prom would take place tomorrow. I’d already bought my dress. It was navy with thick shear straps.

            I went on Facebook and browsed through my feed. Trevor had announced that he’d entered a relationship. Wait, what? Why hadn’t he done that earlier?

            I scrolled down and saw a picture of him with this thin, redheaded girl, Leila Cronin. I gasped. No—no! He couldn’t have. Leila had bullied me in eighth grade for my looks.

            This couldn’t have happened. Not in a billion years. Unless he’d tricked me to trust him.

            I felt tears in my eyes. I called Trevor and continued to breathed through a narrowed throat.

            Trevor answered.

            “Trevor, what is wrong with you?”

            “I’m sorry, Chloe. But I just take you to prom.”

            “Why? Because I’m not—”

            “I just like Leila more.”

            “She’s a jerk!”

            “Don’t talk about my girlfriend like that!”

            “Girlfriend?”

            Trevor hung up.

            I burst into tears and threw myself onto my bed. I couldn’t go to prom anymore—not even with a group of friends. They all had dates. And who would I go with? No one.

            There was a knock on my door. “Cloe?”

            “What is it, Dad?”

            My dad entered. “Hi, honey. Are you okay?”

            “Trevor dumped me for that Leila girl!”

            “What?”

            “He likes her better!”

            “Oh, that’s not right.” My dad sat on my bed. “You know what? My friend, Horace’s son, Dexter, is also looking for someone.”

            “Is Dexter nice?”

            “Yes. I’ll take you to meet him tomorrow.”

            “But the prom’s tomorrow.”

            “We can meet him during the day. Sound good?”

            I nodded.

 

            The next day, my dad took me to see this boy, Dexter. We parked outside a diner. I figured my dad didn’t want me to go to Dexter’s house since I hadn’t met him before.

            We went inside and got seated. A man and his son joined us. The boy wore glasses, stood tall and broad. He also had some plumpness. “Hi, I’m Dexter.”

            “Chloe.” I shook his head.

            “I can’t wait to be your friend.”

            I tilted my head.

            Dexter’s father whispered, “He has autism.”

            “Oh,” I said.

            “I’m graduating high school like you, Chloe,” said Dexter. “But I don’t have anyone to go with.”

            I considered inviting him, except that I just met him.

            “You should take each other to your proms,” my dad said.

            I stared. Then I smiled. “Okay.”

            “Yay,” said Dexter. “You’re going be date. I can’t wait.”

            “Neither can I.”

            And so Dexter and I talked the whole time. I left the diner grinning. What else could ruin this day?