Ace of Make

Everyday when Birdie goes down for his nap, it becomes Smootch's special time to have my full attention (something rare around Birdie, who is doing his best to live every stereotype about two year olds). Usually we make a craft or do some art, and have a chance to read some chapter books. Whatever we do, it's Smootch's choice.

I must have been looking especially tired the other day because Smootch looked at me, coming out of the bedroom where I just laid Birdie down to sleep, and said, 'Come here, mom, and sit with me on the couch. Maybe today we can just watch Ace of Cakes and relax.'

This girl, she's a good one.

I've been slowly working my way through all the seasons of Ace of Cakes, and Smootch, though she normally disdains live action anything, seems to have taken a special interest in the show. Besides being creative, and even more important, about the process of taking creative ideas and translating them into some real and functional, it has some great portraits of people, good examples of problem solving and is presented as a series of stories. All stuff Smootch likes: people, drama, creativity, and cake. It doesn't hurt that Chief Duff is a wee bit juvenile at times. The only downside is having to put up with Smootch saying everything is, 'like, awesome!' for the rest of the day. If you have never watched the show, you can check out a few episodes through Surf the Channel. I highly recommend it.

Watching the show, it didn't take long for Smootch's inspiration to kick into high gear and relax time for me was over. After a single episode, Smootch decided we HAD to make cake. But, like Ace of Cakes, the work was to be divided up amongst us and we each work on our own projects. My job was to make a cake and Smootch's job, actually jobs because she was the boss and had so much to do, was to decorate a cake and to taste the cake I make (just to make sure it meets standards).

Birdie, the intern, was assigned dishes. Smootch is generous, though, and decided it could wait until after he woke from his nap.

I did make a cake - the Old Country Carrot from How it all Vegan - and Smootch declared it, 'acceptable'. It's my favorite cake to make, very moist and light, and, if I use whole wheat flour, feels almost healthy.

Smootch's decorated cake turned out pretty well too, I thought:


The cake construction and design was entirely Smootch's idea. If you would like to make it yourself, here is how she did it, Ace of Cakes style:

The base of the cake is solid tin can, filched from the recycle bin, sturdy enough to hold up the second tier.


Don't forget to keep things professional, a la Chief Duff.


Next, apply the fondant. Tracing the cans onto white paper and attaching with glue stick worked quite well.


Once the fondant is on, the fiddly bits begins. It's good sometimes to sit with the cake and plan out the design.


And to giggle at bog paper looking-ness of it all.


Then pipe.


And pipe some more.  (Note the skateboard decoration on top - can you guess which episode we watched?)


Before the cake can be finished, the cake needs to be transported to the customer. Delivery is always tricky with tiered cakes. Once in place, though, the cake can be assembled and finishing touches applied.


Smootch saw, she decorated, she delivered.

(Birdie did not, after all, do the dishes.)