Friday, November 19, 2010

One Month To Go...

...until Operation Birthday Cake is finished. Oh dear god, I'm soooo damn tired already-why do I do this? I swear, I'm not some sort of martyr. A store bought cake is a thing of beauty, it really is. Someone really needs to open a nut-free bakery in Nebraska. Not me. I'm not opening a nut-free bakery-I can barely manage what I need to do.

All right, complaining out of the way, here's what I have in mind-the siege of Troy. In cake. The horse will be the easy part, but getting a walled city constructed with decorated cookies might be trickier. Fortunately, the templates, and cookies can be made well ahead (those royal icing cookies never go stale) and I can mess around with applying frosting to cake a few days before. In the past, I've had good luck with the golden butter cake recipe in the 1950 edition of the Betty Crocker Picture Cookbook. When chilled, the cake cuts and slices so neatly, that there aren't any crumbs or uneven surfaces to deal with. That was the cake I used for the HMS Victory, and for the spaceship in The Day The Earth Stood Still. I plan to use if for the horse. I'm envisioning something boxy-looking that can be held together in pieces with skewers, then frosted over. I can get a wood-paneled look with decorated graham crackers (provided I bake them small enough), but all-over frosting might be better. Gee whiz, I don't know.

The bigger problem will be getting my hands on an affordable copy of Chapman's Homer*. I know, I know, but the kid is hung-up on Elizabethans, and he really wants it. I'm not kidding, I caught him flipping through Spenser, and I asked if he knew what he was reading and the reply I got was, "Several hundred pages of sucking-up to the monarch." No child of mine will be going without his Elizabethan translation of Homer, if I can help it. I feel like I'm supposed to say something like, "At least he isn't into Pokeman." I don't know anything at all about Pokeman, but what I know about Elizabethan verse, makes me wonder if Pokeman might be, if not inherently more interesting, easier to read aloud. At least no one can accuse me of forcing my interests on the child, because if I were, I'd just show him old episodes of Soupy Sales, and call it, Humanities class.

Anyone out there have experience with large scale, epic cake? How about a used set of Chapman's Homer? I'd gladly swap for a nice food basket of jams, Christmas cake, bread-whatever. I'm flexible, and I can take (bake) requests-but I need it soon. I can go about twenty bucks, max for both.

* It isn't that we lack usable translations of Homer. I have many from which the child may choose. Just for funsies, he can flip back and forth between translations, but for classwork, I'm not using Chapman.

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