Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Capture The Moment - Maid of the Mist

I was asked to substitute in my daughter's 2nd grade class while her teacher went to Florida to celebrate her 5th anniversary.  I spent two days with the students and was asked to model some writing for a "Slice of Life" assignment where the students were asked to bring in a picture from an event in their life, then capture the essence of the experience in their writing. 

I chose a picture from our summer vacation when we went on the Maid of the Mist boat at Niagara Falls.  I had forgotten how much fun writing like this could be, and decided I would make myself write one capture the moment experience every month from the photos I have on my computer.  Here is my first installment, written in front of 2nd graders.

Me on the Maid of the Mist - Niagara Falls
It was a warm day as I waited in line to get onto the Maid of the Mist.  I was very excited to see the Horseshoe Falls up close.  When the man working at the front of the line told us we could get on, I rushed up the stairs to the top level of the boat.  I wanted to have a good spot to see the waterfall. 

I heard lots of giggles and nervous chatter as we waited for the boat to move.  Across the river happy, wet people waved at us as they came back form their trip to the Falls. 

The boat moved forward and I saw the Bridal Veil Falls and the hundreds (maybe thousands) of seagulls.  We got to the Horseshoe Falls and the boat swayed drunkenly in the churning river.  I couldn't hear my husband talking over the crashing water.  By the time we turned to go back, I was soaked!

What a ride!

Friday, March 02, 2012

Baby Cake

My husband's cousin Katie was hosting a baby shower  a few weekends ago and asked me if I would make cake for the shower.  She had a picture and wondered if I could make a similar cake.  I looked at the picture and said I would (and could) do it.

I love making new cakes and challenging myself with how I can make it.  For this cake, Katie wanted a pregnant belly (and breasts) in a fancy dress.  Oh yes, she wanted a little foot kicking the inside of the belly.

Pregnant Belly Baby Shower Cake
 I looked at what I had to work with and decided on baking the cake in my largest Pyrex bowl for the rounded belly and my smallest Pyrex bowl for the breasts.  Then I made two layers of a 9-inch round cake and one layer of a 5-inch round cake to go underneath the belly and breasts.  I ended up having to carve off the edges of the large bowl cake as they were a little too big for the 9-inch cake base, and were a little dry and hard because they cooked faster than the middle of the bowl part of the cake.  I then frosted and stacked all the layers and placed them on a cake board in the correct shape.

Close-up of the little baby foot
 The next step was to make a little marshmallow fondant foot and place it on the belly after I frosted, but before I covered the cake in more mmf.  This part went well until I covered the whole thing in the fondant.  The foot part was visible, but I hadn't made the toes big enough to see through the top layer of fondant.  I picked the fondant up off the cake (yikes!) and of course it tore on both sides of the belly.  I replaced the original toes I made with round balls of fondant and replaced the fondant dress cover.  I was able to mend the tears somewhat with water and smoothing, and covering with the black zebra print fondant pieces.  I was happy with how the foot looked now, but a little bummed with the cracked fondant.  In the end it turned out beautiful, and now I know to make the toes bigger!!!