I'm going to pop
[music | Combichrist - Get Your Body Beat (Amduscia Remix)]
2 sausage links
2 pancakes (where's my pertaters)
2 bread, toast
I thought I was going to die then...I wisely skipped lunch as I started baking cakes. For dinner, Mexican food. Chorizo burrito with lots of scotch-bonnet sauce because I'm an idiot and don't plan ahead.
Plan ahead for what? Oh the cake:
Here's what you do:
Box of vanilla cake mix
1 pint whipping cream
couple pints of strawberries
couple of kiwis (I wanted something other than "red", kiwis taste like strawberries anyway, and I fear wrath if I used blueberries since that would taste slightly different...)
Jar of fruit preserves (Polaner All-fruit or similar, strawberry flavored, natch)
Slice a bunch of strawberries and kiwis, put sugar on them and put them in the fridge. I'm not too picky about slicing the strawberries for the middle, just put 'em on the side and make round cuts. I generally take out the cores of any that are super white (Super Nice!). For the ones going on top, I slice them vertically so they lay down nicely. If you run out of these pieces when topping the thing, you can cheat it with the others.
As you put these in the fridge, so shall you put a large ceramic mixing bowl in the fridge along side them.
Bake the cakes according to the box. Hard, right? Here's a secret, no one makes cakes from scratch, unless they plan on charging you a fortune for them. I'm thinking in the context of wedding cakes, I'm sure the local baker is scratch baking, and they're not that expensive, support local vendors and go buy one of his cakes. But stuff like wedding cake? Bet on it being from a box.
... several hours later ...
After the cakes have cooled and the fruit has macerated, make some whipped cream. Don't hold a nozzle, whip some damn cream. It takes 3 minutes max. Use a whisk. Get your cold ass bowl, drop in a pint of whipping cream and whisk until you get stiff peaks. Sticking the bowl in the fridge for a good long while reduces heat transfer from your hands as you whisk and makes it easier to get cream whipped faster. It also doesn't risk imparting any taste to the whipped cream.
Add sugar and vanilla extract to taste. Here's the key, when you "add sugar to taste", you're going to end up adding way less sugar than the spray junk.
Take cake-bottom one, and smear Polaner All-Fruit strawberry (or similar) all over it, to within about 1.5" from the edge, not too thick. You may now glue a layer of strawberries and kiwis to the fruit spread.
Take a bit of the whipped cream and spread it on top of the fruit, going to the edge. This will glue your cake down somewhat. It works way better with buttercreme, but whatever, my wife wants whipped cream, she gets whipped cream, along with the structural integrity of whipped cream.
Slap the top cake on. This is the most important piece. Make a thin layer of whipped cream all over the cake. You're not trying to cover it, you're just gluing down any crumbs and hiding or cleaning up any fruit that's hanging out the side. Since we're cutting edge food inventorists, we'll call this the "crumb coat". Not crumb coating causes more headaches for the home baker than broken cakes, believe it.
Now load up the cake spatula and make everything as smooth as you can when you're working with whipped cream, which isn't very, but you can get things sort-of even.
Then I like to line up the vertically cut strawberry pieces around the outside with some kiwis inside. I think it would be great if these were cooked (getting to that, promise), but Natalie thinks they're better fresh(ish, they have just spent 4 hours in the fridge in a bowl with sugar on them).
If you had any illusions about writing anything on this cake, forget those right now, it's whipped cream. I had a hard enough time writing on that sham of a "lite frosting" junk back in the day, and I was a highly-trained-professional.
So what happens if you slice way too many strawberries? You make strawberry syrup of course.
Put roughly equal parts sugar and water in a saucepan (I used like maybe 1/2" of water in a medium saucepan) and put it on like medium-high heat. Let water boil off while stirring like a madman so the precious, precious sugar doesn't become a burned bitter mess. Start throwing in strawberries. Lots of them. In fact, slice more and put those in too. If you see it not getting thick enough right away, dump out a little water, put in more sugar, whatever. This isn't brain surgery here.
When you get a really rolling boil, turn the heat down to medium. I'd suggest using like a silicone spatula at this point (not with the pan too hot, Alton claims that's bad for us), just whatever you do don't let any of this shit touch your flesh. You've never been in pain like a sugar burn.
This should all eventually turn a satisfying dark red and start to really thicken up after a few minutes. If it's not thick enough, let it reduce some more.
I actually made way too much of that stuff too, and started with way too much simple syrup, so it was kind of ultra-sugary, but not bad-tasting at all. Spoon some of the syrup and some of the cooked strawberries over some vanilla and you're set. Make sure to let this stuff cool first, or not only will you burn yourself, you'll instamelt all your ice cream.
Then you can just slap some candles on there, and add some terrified b-movie victims to stand in awe of your creation. Hope not to get lead poisoning from cheap toys on your cake.