Sunday, March 26, 2017

Always no (but maybe sometimes yes)

Apparently, I'm a pushover. All it takes is the right person on the right day with the right project, and I'll take on something from the no-bake list. Examples: "I don't do cakes. Only cupcakes." "I don't do fondant." "I don't do character cakes." "I don't do sculpted cakes." And most recently; "I don't do cake pops." I retracted all of those declarations.

I've been going through that no-bake list with this in mind and, sure enough, there are (very few) exceptions to most of them. Oh, and this isn't meant to be offensive or directed at anyone. There are tons of cake decorators out there who make cakes like these but they're just not my style. The whole HofF idea of snobbery is built on the artistic freedom I maintain, allowing me to pick and choose which projects I take on. If I don't feel good about it, I turn it away. It's just me being picky. To each his own--there's a cake for everyone and a baker for every cake.

"I don't do rhinestones or quilting." Why? Quilting has been done to death. It's up there with polka dots and stripes. Rhinestones are metal and glass or acrylic. Inedible and hazardous if swallowed. Every time I ask a bride what type of cake she has in mind, I have my fingers and toes crossed that she doesn't send me a picture of one of these;

They're everywhere. They're easy. They're boring. I may have caved on a few ultra-common buttercream rosette wedding cakes, but I can't bring myself to make one of these. HOWEVER, when done right, there are quilted and bedazzled cakes I actually like; 

One of them even has both quilting and rhinestones! Shocked? So am I! And this one; 
So simple, right? Soft edges, monochromatic, same height on all the tiers. The jewels are all it needs to be breathtaking. 

"I don't do sheet cakes." Sheet cakes are cheap and easy. They're at every grocery store. Your grandma makes them. Yes, they're a breeze to serve, but there is absolutely no wow factor. 

And, while I'm at it, let's talk about that football cake in the bottom right corner. Those piped stars are like lesson 1 of the Wilton course. Tedious and unattractive. That's a double don't right there.

Thanks to Pinterest, I've found exceptions to this one too;

There just aren't words for this kind of beauty. 

"I don't do cupcake cakes." I've said no to so many of these. No no no. I just can't do it.

There are very few exceptions to this rule. You're only allowed to ask me for one of these;

"I don't do dark icing." I know it's a 40th birthday and you'd like black frosting. Those galaxy cupcakes on Pinterest are just so perfect for your tween's sleepover party. First off, most icing color tastes terrible. A drop isn't bad but a tablespoon can change the flavor entirely. Secondly, have you ever watched the kids flood out of school at the end of the day with blue faces? You automatically know there was a birthday and there were blue cupcakes. Grown ups shouldn't have blue smiles. Just saying.

Now, I have made black icing recently that was amazingly good with very little icing color. It uses an ultra-dark black cocoa buttercream base and tastes incredible. Still no dark blue though. If you want a dark blue cake, go with fondant. You can just peel it off  and keep your face clean.

"I don't do people cakes." This is the one rule I'll probably never break. Baby shower cakes, yes. Baby sized cakes, yes. Baby shaped cakes, no way. The creepy factor is off the charts here. Even if the cake looks good, it still ends up like this;

The same goes for butt cakes. I have not, do not, and will not make a butt cake. If you have to ask the question "butt, leg, or toes," you're a cannibal.

But despite all of this, and against everything I stand for, I like this cake. The baby doesn't have to be eaten and it actually looks pretty darn cute. It's the only one I've ever found that doesn't raise my blood pressure.

And belly cakes. Belly cakes, in addition to the cannibal factor, are terrifying. 

"I don't do topsy turvy cakes." I put an enormous amount of effort into keeping my cakes level so this just rubs me the wrong way. Why? Why do you want your cake to look like it froze in midair as it was falling? Or like your baker just threw it together and didn't care about precision or symmetry? I just don't get it. And look--polka dots and stripes on one, quilting and rhinestones on the other! So many violations.

The cakes on the right are both in a grey area. The naked cake is by one of my favorite designers and features fresh flowers. It's all wonky but it's still somehow elegant. The spherical cake is so incredibly unique and different, I can't help but like it despite its wonkiness. If it was perfectly aligned, it would look like a fancy snowman and that would be weird. I kind of like it.

Despite all my dislikes, I have a wishlist a mile long. Topping my list right now;

Geek wedding cakes. Not bright, cartoony things, but soft, classy cakes with a nerdy theme.

Baroque cakes and cakes with a Parisian theme. 

And black wedding cakes. Strikingly different and dramatic, they just ooze luxury.