Ice, ice baby…

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Mornin’ all.

I am slowly choking down turbo-charged coffee. I made this batch strong intentionally, so I was ready for the punch to the gullet. I need to be high octane this morning because boy, do I have a lot to do. Today is cake delivery day. *bum bum BUUUUMMM*

…after I finish it, that is.

I’ve made a lot of cakes in my day. I went to pastry school (yes that’s a real thing…a very expensive real thing with student loans that’ll never, ever end…) for a year, and then used the skills at home. This will be the fifth wedding cake I’ve made, so I’m not exactly new. However, this sucker is big.

BIG.

It’s certainly the biggest cake I’ve ever made. It’s got to feed 150 people.

“That means nothing to me, Bethie, since I’ve got no frame of reference.”

Good point. Hm…okay. Here’s how I can explain…

IT’S A LOT OF FRICKEN CAKE! Especially considering I’m working out of my tiny-ass kitchen in my tiny-ass house. Oh I know it’s my own fault. I could have said no. But at the time I said I’d do it, I thought, “Okay, I’ve done a cake for 80 before, no problem. I’ll just double that…” While that’s technically what I did, I do not have a commercial mixer, or a walk in cooler, or a ten foot long work bench…

At one point, before the layers were filled and stacked, they were everywhere. As they were done baking, more would join and the cake infection spread like wildfire. It took over the table. It took over the counters and still it could not be stopped! It took over the stove and we all ran screaming, telling the neighbors to save themselves. It was like some bad sci-fi.

It Came From the Oven

Or a horror movie…

Bakenstein’s Monster

Tasty, tasty horror.

I’ve got the finishing work to do today. It’s a summer wedding, so temperature and humidity come into play. I don’t have a walk in cooler, and the couple did not want fondant. Butter cream. Had to be butter cream. You see, when you’ve got fondant, it acts like a sealant, with the added benefit of helping to maintain a firm structure even under the intensity of a summer day. Butter cream, however, is made with such a high fat to solids ratio that…

…are….are you actually snoring right now?

Fine. We’ll skip the details. But, if you ever DO want to talk shop, I’ve got a great formula for…

*hands up* OKAY. I get it. NO more shop talk. Sheesh. Tough crowd this morning!

My eight-year old came running into the dining room yesterday (he made it past the cake infection without getting bitten and turning into a Night Of the Leavened Bread zombie) to tell me about a fantastic product he saw on tv. Ah, the lure of the infomercial.

It’s a cat arch…um…thing that has wire bristles. The base is filled with catnip, so it lures kitty in, and then as she brushes against the bristles in a nip-induced euphoria, the bristles comb the cat. I told him that it sounded like a good product, but we didn’t have $20 to spend on something we didn’t need. This is what he said.

“But Mum, if we act now we can get two for the price of one! All we have to do is pay for the extra shipping. And when you think about all the time we spend grooming Zelda, it’ll be like saving money. So only twenty bucks for all that seems like a really good deal. We have to call now. I’ll grab you the phone.”

Bet those people with the cat arch thingie would be happy to hear that their ad resonates with someone. I doubt 8 is the target demographic, though.

My eldest used to watch the infomercials and beg for everything he saw, too. They come by it genetically. My dad once gave me a food chopper and a food slicer. He said, “These showed up at my house. I got two sets each, meaning I ordered two and got the ‘free’ one, so now I have four of each.” I asked why he did that, and he said, “I have absolutely no memory of ordering them, but I’m pretty sure it happened after that party we had…”

The slicer’s good. The chopper is more trouble than it’s worth. The image of my dad drunk dialing after watching an infomercial…priceless.

I wonder how many of these deals are sold to drunk people late at night? Especially food products. Drunk or not, no party animal is going to order a work out DVD. But something that’ll help make snacks, well that’s just planning ahead for next time.

When you think of it like that, late night food infomercials are brilliant.

As you can tell by now, I want to write today. I’m revising a book and there were a few sticking points, a couple plot issues I couldn’t figure out how to fix. And then as I was slathering on the 50th lb of butter cream, it came to me. I like when that happens.

…and, I don’t.

See, my “process” (don’t WE sound pretentious this morning?) is utterly random and usually happens at the wrong moment. That’s when I get “inspired”. That’s when ideas come to me. I think that’s because I have the attention span of a tse-tse fly. I just get bored and my mind looks for other things to do. That’s great when I’m in a position where I can put what I’m doing down and focus on writing. Not so great when I’ve got other things that responsibility and personal pride insist I finish. And especially not great at all when it happens in the middle of a conversation with someone else.

Tomorrow. Tomorrow I can devote to fixing the plot holes I created. I’ve got to get this book off to my editor. I had hoped to get it up by the end of May. *sheepish shrug*

“Bethie, stop procrastinating.”

You’re right. At this point, I’m just babbling, aren’t I? I’m just nervous as hell. What if this cake turns out not to be what they wanted? What if it doesn’t travel well and I get to the other end and it’s a crumpled heap of sugary disappointment in the bottom of the box? What if the bride looks at it and cries?

WHAT IF I MAKE A BRIDE CRY??

*sigh* “My, Bethie, you need a lot of hand holding this morning.”

*sniff* Maybe.

“Buck up! You’ve made cakes before! You’re almost done, for god’s sake. You’ve got the easy, fun part today!”

…you have a point.

“And you’re doing all the work for free! They already told you they just want a tasty cake. You sure sampled enough of the scrap to know you’ve me the criteria.”

Yeah. …wait…was that a compliment or not? I can’t tell. I didn’t eat THAT much of the scrap…

“Now you stop wasting time and you get in there and you show ’em!”

Okay. *deep breath* This is working. This is calming me down and making me focused. For good or bad, by 4:30 this afternoon, this epic cake commitment will be over. I just have to stick to it and get through it. Totally doable. Right?

I’m not a sporty person, but right now I could use a locker room huddle to pep me up. Who’s in?

*hands in the middle*

One…two…three…BUTTER CREAM!

Thus concludes a rambling Muse for Saturday, July 12, 2014. Can’t wait to drop this behemoth off and be done with it. I don’t know if I’ve ever looked forward to peeling out of an Elks lodge parking lot before.

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