Saturday, March 21, 2009

Good Grief, Isn't It Spring Yet???

I want Spring.

I want Spring NOW.


Seriously, I've been looking forward to Spring since last October when that very first New England winter chill roared down from Canada and chilled me to the bone. Lucky for me, my hot flashes have kept me pretty balanced out throughout the winter, otherwise you would have certainly found me out on a ledge by now.

I think it's accurate for me to say that the older I get....the more I despise the cold weather. I know that technically I should "keep" better in the cold, but every year I truly hate it more. Really I do. In fact, I stand and face South most of the winter. I think my fellow New Englander's will agree that the winters here can be brutally long. In my opinion, this explains why the Pilgrims only lived until age 35. They were trapped here! They didn't have the convenience of hopping on a plane and heading south for the winter...and since there were no moving vans back then, they HAD to stay here year after year.......... DEATH WAS WAS THEIR ONLY WAY OUT!!

Fortunately, we have a choice. Thank you Jet Blue :)

Anyway, since my overwhelming desire for Spring coincided with my friend Carolyn's birthday, I decided to infuse her life with a little Spring as well. Flipping through the April 2009 Martha Stewart Living magazine, I came across an ad for Martha's Spring baking collection at Macys. The cake on display in the ad was gorgeous. It represented Spring and the promise of new life, a new season......(Wow, where the heck did that come from?) Seriously......I needed to shed my winter coat and I just loved the idea of making something fun and Spring-like, so I used it as my inspiration. Isn't it pretty??

I started by making enough Chocolate Espresso cake batter to fill two 8" round cake lined cake pans. I had some batter leftover, so I made a few cupcakes too. Instead of using the obvious candy eggs, I wanted to try to make egg shapes from cake balls to represent the "robin's eggs" on the top and sides of the cake. I shaped the "eggs" by making a ball then tapering and elongating one end slightly. (Yuck, this can be SO messy!)

After freezing the "eggs" for a few hours, they were ready to be dipped. Since I couldn't get that perfect "robin's egg" blue color I needed for the eggs, I made it by melting and mixing white, light green and a few navy blue candy wafers. After dipping them, I set them on wax paper to dry. (The eggs look more green in this photo, but they are most definitely blue!)

Next, I had to create the chocolate "nest" for the eggs. It was a toss up between melting chocolate and creating scrolls for a nest or using Chow Mein noodles coating with chocolate. The Chow Mein Noodles won. I thought that they might look a little more like a nest than the shaved chocolate scrolls. I used a 12 oz. bag of Ghiradelli Milk Chocolate Chips, 3 tablespoons of Canola Oil, melted it over a double boiler then slowly added a 5 oz. can of Chow Mein Noodles. (For the record, next time I would use about 7 oz. of the noodles) They have to be folded in carefully or they will snap like twigs (pardon the pun). When all the Chow Mein Noodles were covered, I took them out in small bunches and carefully used my hands to "mold" them into a nest-like shape to hold the cakeball eggs. Then I put them in the fridge to chill.

Sorry that I didn't take pictures of the Chow Mein "Dip". My hands were kind of messy and "Emily" hasn't learned how to operate the camera yet. Next time, I promise!

After crumbcoating the cake, I gave it a finish coat of chocolate icing and set the nest and the eggs on top. I opted for a thick buttercream rather than the dark chocolate ganache that was used in the Macy's photo. I finished it off with a birthday script in blue buttercream and smaller eggs tucked into the icing around the base.

Many thanks to Macy's and Martha for the inspiration! Carolyn loved her birthday cake and for the first time in almost six months I can finally see the light at the end of that long winter tunnel. Although the way my luck runs, it's probably just the headlight of another snowplow.


Minka said...

There is definitely spring on your blog...

Anonymous said...

Beautiful! I was just thinking about what to do with that beautiful robin's egg blue too. It just screams spring. I love the look against the chocolate too. Great job!

Aunt Grace said...

You my dear are so talented. It looks good enough to eat. If I were with you, you woulden't have enough of that frosting to put on the cake. You can always travel to S.C you know, your room is ready.

Lisa said...


Today is Kathryn's birthday.....I made the cake on the back of the Hershey Box. It looks nothing like yours.......I think I need help!


I Know where Spring is.

It is in Simpsonville SC ..........waiting for you!

EDNurseasauras said...

I made a special Easter cake once. I used a lamb mold, then some sort of medieval cake decorator thingy to fill in with frosting curly lamb hair.

My kids wondered why I made a poodle cake for Easter.
I was scarred for life.

Tricia said...

Hi Anne! Fun to hear about your baking adventures today. SO creative! Walker would love one of your cakes! I will be mulling some ideas around to inspire you later this spring! Best, Tricia

Aunt Grace said...

You want WHAT???? You a yankee wants my Carolina picnic cake recipe??? I think not, why woul I give the North this weapon. So you could hit mail boxes?? NO, I need something big from the capachino choclate cake with the fudge frosting....but even then Carolina picnic is MINE ALL beg me! And check my spelling!

Lisa said...

Oh! Boy!

I knew she would be trouble!

I will have Mary Elizabeth distract your Aunt Grace.......Yeah! I tell Liz to ask Nana to take her to the zoo without me..........and I will find the recipe....UNLESS.......there was fudge on the "IT" and my mother ate it........mmmmmmmm that's a possibility......I'll try anyway.

This could get dangourouse.........Wish me luck!

Joycee said...

Other posts I was thinking you are a baking genius, now I am thinking you are evil!