Madeleine Robins

February 17, 2016

That Which We Call a Rose

Filed under: Cooking — madeleinerobins @ 11:25 PM

I was paging through the Sunday Sweets on Cakewrecks, looking at many cakes which are technically gorgeous but rarely raise my creative pulse. I can’t draw, so hand painting a cake to look like a Wedgwood canister is right out. I get a little twee-d out at too much pink (especially at this time of year). There are creations so enormous and ambitious that I think the initial idea (cake!) has been forgotten. And so many of these cakes employ fondant, which usually tastes like sugary cardboard (home-made fondant is better… but making fondant is usually a step farther than I feel like going on a normal day).

And then I saw this:


It’s a cake. And I immediately wanted to make it. 

I mean, look at this:

cut rose

And the miracle of it is… with sufficient practice, I think I could. Here’s the video tutorial, from Cake Style.

The beauty part? There’s no fondant, just buttercream frosting and colored molding chocolate. I’ve never tried making, let alone working with, molding chocolate. And I am suddenly overwhelmed with a desire (not yet a burning desire, but a fairly distracting one) to make molding chocolate, make this four-layered cake, frost it with buttercream (not pink), and make this rose happen.

It’s the process. I have said before that I get captivated by process; I don’t necessarily want to do something more than once, once I get it down. Of course I felt that way about sugar-molding too, when I saw some of that on display. Thank God I lacked a culinary blowtorch, or they’d likely be unsticking me from the kitchen ceiling even now.

If I succumb to the allure of this cake I will document it, and return with notes. I’m kind of hoping I don’t, because once a cake is made it must be eaten, and I’m trying to not eat cake for a little while. But if anyone out there needs a rose cake and is willing to take this one off my hands…


July 15, 2015

Everything That Rises Must Converge

Filed under: Cooking,Making — madeleinerobins @ 12:07 PM
Tags: , ,

SourdoughJuneJob-hunting takes time. So does writing. But you cannot write, or job-hunt, all the time. And I’ve been experiencing a real need to create tangible things. Beaded jewelry. Knitted things. But what I’ve really been doing a lot of is playing with yeast.

When I was a teenager I baked a lot. It was a form of rebellion (my mother was a fabulous cook, but did not care for baking) and I made croissants and herb bread and sourdough and rolls and pies–and one summer my summer job was to bake things and sell them. Since then, I’ve done some bread-making, but not as much as in those halcyon summer days when I rose at 5 am to make sure the first batch of bread was rising by 6.

So why this sudden investment in yeast-based amusement? It started with a slow-rise-no-knead bread recipe I got from…somewhere? (these things seem to find their way to me and attach themselves, limpet like). And then my daughter said “let’s take some cooking classes together!” and the first one we signed up for was a sourdough starter class. We came home with our own pots of wild-yeast starter from a decades-old pot named Dulce. I named my starter Magda. My daughter named hers Trust-Fund Baby. And with starter in the house, I started to bake bread again. (more…)

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