Back in the day, Saturday night meant sparkly clothes, makeup, heels, and a shiny bright attitude. These days, it’s more likely to mean rolling pins, X-acto knives, and yellow goo.
Harry wants a Handy Manny cake for his birthday party, which is one week from today. And after taking that cake-decorating class I quickly realized that my chances of wielding frosting and piping bags to make something that actually resembled Manny and his tools were, uh, well let’s just say slim to none. Naturally, I turned to an expert friend for advice. Sara Schneider, book publicist by day, baker by night & weekend, makes the most gorgeous cakes and cupcakes from gum paste. Who better to consult? She walked me through the basics and made me actually believe I could do this. I, whose artistic ability takes up about as much of my brain as does particle physics.
Last night I started practicing. Even though Sara gave me tips for gum paste about a billion times, I’d accidentally bought fondant. While similar, it’s not quite the same; fondant isn’t as elastic as gum paste, which makes it a little harder to work with. There I sat at the kitchen table, covered in corn starch and food coloring, madly rolling and x-actoing itty bitty pieces of fondant, all the while wondering why I’d signed on for this gig. And foolishly, I assumed I needed to use icing as glue to hold all those little pieces together. Should’ve consulted Sara or even Google on that, since water and a clean paint brush would’ve done the trick. But no, I didn’t check with an authority; I just plunged ahead. After rifling through the pantry, all I found was a tube of yellow gel goo, so I used that. Manny looks a little jaundiced as a result:
(Still TK: his neck & body.)
(This is Dusty. He’s a saw.)
(I made Rusty the monkey wrench first. You can see I got better at this as the evening went on.)
It took me roughly three hours to make Manny’s head, Dusty, and Rusty. I’ve still got five more tools to make, plus Manny’s body and that wooden board, which is where the Happy Birthday message will go. Given that I only have seven more evenings to work on this, I think Jaundiced Manny is going on the cake. (So much for last night being about practice.)
By the time I’m done with this, I’ll be a pro! And I can say with absolute certainty that Harry will be completely oblivious to the many, many hours I’m devoting to his birthday cake. Which is, of course, exactly as it should be. I’ve got years to build up ammunition for administering guilt; no need to start now.