Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Deep Dish Pizza Cake

My daughter had a birthday a few weeks ago. This being her first birthday away from home, I was determined that she have some kind of birthday cake.

While she attended a private school from kindergarten through fifth grade, for her birthday party, I used to get pizza for her classmates for lunch. So, after trying to figure out what kind of cake I could make and send to her, I came up with the idea of the deep dish pizza.

I wanted to have the crust higher on the side with a space in the middle for the ingredients. I could have carved out the middle, but wait! After looking through my baking pans, I found the flan pan! So, I baked one layer in the flan pan, the second layer in a 10 inch round pan, as that is the size of my flan pan.
I iced the round layer with buttercream, placed the flan piece on top. I placed it in the freezer for easier carving.  The next day, I took it out of the freezer, and carved the flan edges to make them rounder.
 After the carving, I covered the cake in a buttercream crumb coat.

Since the cake was going to be mailed, I had to make it as indestructable as possible. I chose to cover the outside of the cake with white fondant. I painted the fondant using gel colors. I used a brown and yellow gel colors, as that is all I had.  I covered the middle of the cake with a red buttercream for the sauce. Since my daughter's favorite pizza is black olive and cheese, I needed to find a way to make the black olives.  I rolled out black fondant, and used the end of my decorating tips to cut out the olives.  I let them dry before placing on the cake.
For the cheese, I grated white fondant using a cheese grater.  I needed the fondant first, found that if the pieces were cooler, they grated better.  I assembled the ingredients on the top as you would for a pizza.
Here is my finished product. Not bad for the first time!  I then wrapped the cake in plastic wrap.  To mail it, I cut cardboard to fit around the edges. I also put multiple layers of cardboard on the top and bottom, as the cake turned out very heavy.  I had used a pound cake recipe, so the cake would be sturdy enough for the trip.  The cake fit in a large flat rate priority box, which saved on postage.

The cake made the trip intact!  In fact, the cake ended up traveling back and forth multiple times!  My daughter new I would be missing her on her first birthday away from home, so her boyfriend picked her up from school, and brought her home.  The cake came with her.  Since there was still plenty left by the time she needed to go back to school, I had her take the cake back with her.

Moral of the story- you can send a cake through the mail, it can make it in one piece and on time!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Websites I like

The past ten days have been a real whirlwind, hopefully now the fall will calm down, so I can get back to baking.

This past weekend was parents weekend at my daughter's school. Both of us love books, it just so happens there is a Half-Price bookstore about six blocks from her school.
Such Fun! I enjoy buying used books, such a way to use recycling to the max! One of my best finds was:

CookWise: The Hows & Whys of Successful Cooki… (Hardcover)
by Shirley O. Corriher

I found the book to be very informative. One of the recipes int he book is for microwave caramel.

The other great thing we did, was go to the Whole Foods Market. I am astonished by the amount of food they can fit in a small store. Some of the best buys were the organic navel oranges and the organic wine grapes. The grapes have an intense flavor, not usually found in standard green or red grapes.

In the book cookwise, she has a recipe for navel oranges that are sliced and topped with the microwaved caramel to which thin orange strips are added. Tomorrow I am going to try to make that dessert.

One of my favorite websites for baking is http://joepastry.com/index.php?cat=14

It is called Joe Pastry. He has wonderful explanations of ingredients, and how the recipes work. Great pictures also!

As you can tell, I am trying to learn the whys of my baking and cooking, instead of just following the recipes. I enjoy watching the cooking shows, have always wondered how they come up with all the recipes. Now I am learning myself!