The BabyCakes cookbook writes that their (vegan) frosting is so well-loved that the bakery sells frosting shots. Some customers come to the store just for this shot of frosting. I want to stand outside this store front and gawk at the people tilting mega-size thimbles into their open mouths, crushing the paper sides together, using their thumb and finger to squeeze out the very last and finally looking happy. How is that possible? Never soul mates – frosting and I are feeling especially antagonistic toward each other at present.
I don’t like frosting — never have. Even my favorite frostings are eaten quickly while trying to keep them off my tongue in order to avoid being forced to appreciate its sweetness. I think frosting knows this. Normally we co-exist in a I won’t bother you if you don’t bother me kind of way. Sometimes we break that rule. Like when it taunts me atop free cookies at work, or at every one of the trendy cupcake stores where the cake is topped with a swirled nest or when I decide to make grande-sized petits fours believing that the food I dislike will, of course, submit to me.
Petits fours never much appealed, but several weeks ago I became captivated with the idea of making large, beautifully decorated grandes fours. I planned my entire day around making these cakes. Two cakes in two different flavors were made, three stores were shopped at, a square and round cookie cutter, food dye, icing bag and tip were all purchased.
All wasted. Such a waste. Not at first, though. It was the frosting that did it. Eye to eye we met on the hill. Defiant, frosting led the charge. Instead of achieving a pouring consistency, as my petits fours frosting recipe instructed, I achieved a hardening clump. Even with sifting the powdered sugar immediately regrouped into lots of little balls. Adding in extra hot water was a desperate and failed counter move. My troops were badly injured, but with one last forward thrust drops of food dye were added into the mess. They resulted in the ugliest teal and purple colors ever. Happiness was not being expressed at this point. The retreat was sounded.
The cakes went back in the fridge; the icing went down the sink. The next day, I remembered that everything is better covered in chocolate and set about making a ganache. My undying love of chocolate makes ganache possible probably because I don’t consider it to be frosting. However, it seems that the chocolate chips were listening in to the previous nights’ battle or maybe the powdered sugar was gossiping in the pantry — though it should really be reconsidering its behaviour of late. Whatever the motivation, the chocolate felt an allegiance and refused to ganache properly — instead of becoming an outer shell for my grandes fours it remained soft. Fortunately I also have an unconditional love for chocolate. I hold no grudge, no hard feelings. Forgiveness isn’t even a question. The situation was complicated and what I asked of that decadent melted concoction was unreasonable.
As for frosting and I — well, this particular battle might be over, but the war wasn’t. I knew we would meet again. It was just sooner than either of us expected…