Friday, January 29, 2010

Countdown to Kelly Ripa, day 11: Cakes by Craig

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With 11 days to go before I decorate cakes with Kelly Ripa on behalf of the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund, one thing is certain: My friends are pretty sick of hearing me talk about cake. It's a good thing Foodbuzz and Electrolux are dealing with the details of the food blogger competition, because I'm focused only on cakes.

I discovered recently that my high school friend Craig has been expressing himself in fondant, gum paste and frosting over the past few years. If you had asked me in high school which of the boys I knew might end up in the kitchen, Craig would not have been on the list. However, grown-up Craig, now an ad man in New York (his latest project:, is also daddy Craig, and little boys - including his - love cake. This is one dad who goes to great lengths to make his kid happy - and that, by the way, is definitely something I could have predicted from the Craig I knew in high school. Despite the fact that he spent most of three years of Latin class poking me.

I thought I'd showcase a few of his masterpieces and let him tell you about them.

Says Craig: "The first one is Lightning McQueen, which looks a little like he was in an acid storm. Things learned: Crumb coating is not to be underestimated. Can't have too much icing. Writing on fondant with food markers makes things much easier. Four-year-olds have lower standards than I do, so it did not disappoint, although for adults it's best to look at it from a distance. With your eyes squinting. Through translucent glass."


Craig again: "These are Halloween of 2009. I wanted to make a cake for PS 42's cake walk, a school tradition where people bake cakes and other people pay $5 to get a random cake. Things learned: Gum paste is super fun and easier to work with than fondant (made lots of little spider legs and then shined them up with a shot glass full of vodka and few drops of black gel paste. Then just stuck the little legs into the frosting. It was my first experience with gum paste and I was very happy with the result especially as I designed the spiders myself). I also made a cupcake just for my little man."
Still Craig: "This is Trace's fifth birthday. He lives for Mario Bros. This cake shown is actually the fourth cake, as the third cake (which was composed of approximately 6 sheet and 2 semi-sphere cakes) did not work out. Originally I was going to make a vertical bust of Mario. I made the shoulders out of a two-layer sheet cake and then did all the fondant work (red shirt, overall straps, gold buttons) and then I attempted to put a sphere of cake comprised of the two semi-spheres on top of it. Despite 6 dowels and wishful thinking, the cake began to crush, implode, disintegrate before my dreams of putting the cake hat on top of that could even gel. That was two days of work done. Then I made the cake you see, cut out of a traditional sheet cake and decorated with caucasian flesh-colored icing (i.e. light orange) made from food dye with vanilla frosting and decorated with fondant that I bought in pre-colored little blocks from Broadway Panhandler.

"Things I learned: Cake is heavy. Fondant can cover everything despite not tasting so good. Kids don't realize fondant doesn't taste so good. You need a lot of food dye (should have used food gel) to get red frosting. Mine came out pink so I colored on top of it with red sugar as I used all my red fondant on the previous disaster."

Thanks for sharing, Craig!

1 comment:

Hilary Cable said...

Good job Craig! The Halloween theme is awesome!

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