Friday, 15 June 2012

I Caked It Myself: the gingerbread man


Friday. At long last.

I had to drag myself out of a warm, cosy bed this morning and haul my sorry self off to boot camp; when all I really wanted to do was fall back into a bottomless pit of unconsciousness with the cat on my head for at least another three hours.

So it's not surprising that I can't find the energy to lift fingers to keyboard today. Instead, I bring you the latest installation in I Caked It Myself: the gingerbread man.

Today's entry comes from long-time reader and loyal fan Kirsten. You'll often find Kirsten in the comments section, which I LOVE. I love her comments. Have I told you all how much I LOVE your comments? I love them. I loving LOVE them. Sorry, the Friday delirium is obviously getting to me.

Kirsten has a few tips for young players in her submission. She writes:

I was bound and determined to have the Gingerbread Man cake, after failing to win the comment competition (flickettysplits: sorry Kirsten! But look what heights of creativity it spurred you on to!). Given that I'd had my heart set on it, I decided to make it myself, with the assistance of my trusty Baker-in-Chief (4 yo daughter Laura) and Supervisor-of-All (9 mth old baby Ian). He turned out really well, and tasted fabulous to boot!

Laura and Ian - so cute!
A few comments after making it, upon things learned and observed: 
-how on earth do you get sprinkles or chocolate or coconut to stay on the sides of the cake? It looked like he was moulting. I went through an entire packet of chocolate sprinkles just trying to get decent coverage. (flickettysplits: I SO get you about this. That stuff is the bane of my cake-baking existence. I've discovered you have to do it a tiny bit at a time, and sort of pour the sprinkles down the side while mashing them in at the same time. It's a delicate process, to be sure.)

-the Book said that to make royal icing, you should beat the egg white with a wooden spoon till stiff (flickettysplits: wooden spoon? really? Did they not have electric beaters in the 80s?) , while adding the egg white. In the interest of finishing before the baby graduated from uni, I used electric beaters. I imagine that this changed the texture, but it still worked well.

- speaking of changing texture- I used up all my butter on the gingerbread and chocolate cake, and for the Chocolate Vienna Cream ended up using my Weight Watchers Canola Spread. Tasted great, but had very very odd texture. (also used Weight Watchers Apricot Fruit Spread for the jam on top of the gingerbread, which tasted fantastic.)

-one egg yolk was not nearly enough for the gingerbread. I think I may have had the wrong size eggs (failure to check with the Book!) and used two, which was perfect. (flickettysplits: I am all in favour of extra egginess. I find it gives the cake added moisture and makes it richer.)

-this meant, of course, that I had two leftover eggwhites. I managed to forget this when making the royal icing with them, and was wondering how on earth I was using up so much icing sugar and still not getting the stiff peaks. I felt like a fool when I realized, and had enough royal icing for five Gingerbread Men. 

-rather than have leftover royal icing cluttering up my fridge, I reasoned that they were merely eggwhite + sugar, and baked them as I would a meringue. Densest meringues I have ever made; you could have used them for a rockery. 

I took the completed Gingerbread Man to Mum's Group, where half of him was devoured by the ravening hordes (aka the four year olds.) The mums had some of him too. The rest was slowly eaten over the next few days. We'd started from the feet up, and he looked more and more macabre. The last bit of him was eaten after dinner, with Laura clamouring "I want the eye! I want the eye!" Gruesome child. (flickettysplits: Laura and I are kindred spirits. She will grow up to be a forensic pathologist investigating death scenes a la CSI. Or a mortician. I adore her.)

I've attached pics. Hope you enjoy them, and thanks for providing such inspiration!

I am eyeing off those little gingerbread biscuits to the left of the finished product .....

3 comments:

  1. another thing! If you need to make a piping bag, and are following The Book's directions to use greaseproof paper, DON'T USE GLAD BAKE.
    Sticky tape will NOT stick to it.

    I ended up cutting a tiny hole in a brown paper bag and using that. :)

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  2. i remember as a child making this gingerbread man for my sisters 4th birthday (I was 12 at the time and reallllly into cooking - strange for a young man)i do not remember having a good time with it. i think i ended up making it 5 different times (she is really picky) my vow was to never make it again or any cake from the book for that matter although i have picked up the book once again to make a train cake for my daughters first birthday next month... lord help me.

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  3. Hi, regarding getting sprinkles to stay on the side of the cake without creating a mound of sprinkles (etc) around the edge of the cake ... I take a handful of sprinkles and with the palm of my hand opened out flat, press them on the side from the bottom up ... for the mounds of sprinkle spillage that results I use a dry pastry brush to excavate the bottom edge of the cake and brush away the sprinkles so that the edge is a nice clean (ish) finish on the board. Works with chocolate or coconut as well.

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