I have a friend from high school, Lynne, who has been making cakes and cupcakes on the side lately. Cupcakes that look like Elmo and Thomas the Train cakes and cakes using marshmallow fondant. My mom used to make and decorate cakes a lot a long time ago. The fancy cakes with frosting roses and basket weave patterns, etc. She still does them, just not as frequently. So one day my mom offered to show Lynne her skills and Lynne offered to show my mom her tricks with the fondant and all that stuff. So what does this have to do with me? Well, I have a unique set of culinary skills sought by many in the baking world. I am an expert in the art of cakeball making. And because of this, my presence was requested at this cake convention.
(I’m really not an expert on cakeballs, it’s just that out of the group, that’s the only unique skill I could bring to the table.)
It was Lynne, her 4 year old daughter Paige, Ellie, my mom, and me. And a lot of cupcakes, frosting, and cakeballs. What a party!
The afternoon offered much more than I ever could have expected and I learned a lot.
For one, I now know how to make marshmallow fondant. I didn’t realize fondant was such a hated material in the cake world. Just mention of the word can bring up such strong emotions from some people. But with the invention of marshmallow fondant, it seems fondant haters now have a tasty, easier-to-work-with alternative. It’s pretty easy too.
Microwave a bag of marshmallows with 2 teaspoons of oil for approximately 2 minutes. Mix together and add some powdered sugar. Grease your hands up with Crisco and then gradually mix in the whole bag of powdered sugar. Keep mixing in until you have a consistent smooth texture. Place in the fridge for awhile before rolling out and using it. You can add color to it, or draw on it with food markers. Pretty need stuff, and it tastes like marshmallows.
I also learned a term for applying frosting to cupcakes; “pipe it.” I haven’t confirmed if this is just for cupcakes, or cakes in general because it took me awhile to figure out what was being discussed. Lynne kept saying, “and then you pipe it.” What!? We weren’t plumbers installing a kitchen sink, we were frosting cupcakes. Pipe it? You pipe it!
It turns out my “piping” skills are much to be desired. Lynne was a pro though. My first piped cupcake was a bit wonky, but by the third or fourth I had improved. I think piping cakes might be my next culinary challenge.
And even though I’m a pro at cakeballs, I realized a few things at this convention. Cakeballs are better with chocolate cake. We used yellow cake and white frosting for this batch and in my opinion, they didn’t taste as good. We made them exactly the same as the chocolate ones I’ve done in the past. But where the chocolate ones almost have a chocolate truffle texture, the yellow cake ones felt kind of like a soggy cake. (That didn’t stop me from eating them, I’m just sayin’)
The last thing I really took away from the cake convention was that I think I’m done with cakeballs. I came, I struggled, I conquered (mostly), and I ate. And now after passing on my knowledge, I think I’m done with them.
I know my knowledge of cakeballs is just at an entry level and there are books dedicated to the art of cakeball making with all kinds complicated things to learn. But I think I’ve mastered as much as I want to. I think my next cookery frontier will be “piping” on cupcakes, or piping to enhance the look of my sugar cookies at the holidays. Good bye cakeballs, we’ve had a good run.
All-in-all, it was a great afternoon! We all learned some things, and I was able to eat three cupcakes without Lynne noticing. My mom on the other hand, you can’t sneak anything past her. 😉