Saturday, July 17, 2010

Dessert Overload

Where have I been the last two days?  In the kitchen!

Every year, The Man's family gets together in Hubbard for the Hop Festival and a huuuuuge family picnic (sixty people?) at his aunt and uncle's house there.  We went up today to watch the parade in the morning and then have burgers and hot dogs for lunch. In the mid-afternoon, we had dessert until we could eat no more.  I don't even want to look at a sweet, not because of my girly figure or anything, just because I'm sweet treated out.

The main event for the family gathering is the dessert contest.  Some of you may remember that I tied for first place last year, my first entry ever in a contest.  I didn't expect to even place, and I got first!  I set out determined out out-do myself this year, not as a sort of competition to beat others, mostly as a contest to beat myself.  Because I can do better than last year's 'nilla wafer-peppermint patty-frosting-mini-burger thingy.

I planned for weeks.  I schemed and doodled and had dreams about this dessert concoction.  Since the contest is judged on looks only, I didn't have to make the treats taste good, but I still wanted them to be edible.  Pssh, it's not a dessert if you can't eat it, right?  My final design was supposed to be ice cream cones made from rice cereal treats and melty chocolates with sprinkles on top.  For the life of me, I could not scrounge up an ice cream cone shaped cookie cutter to punch the shapes out of the rice cereal treats.  Using my imagination, some extra squeezing, and a "not what I intended, but that's not bad" attitude, I used an upside-down snowman cookie cutter to make the ice cream cones.  They looked pretty good.  Not good, just pretty good.  After applying the melty chocolates, I put a few sprinkles on top.  The effect was as much as I could do for my dessert.  (Taste-wise, they were overpoweringly sweet.  Rice cereal treats are fine just the way they are--or with a smidge of peanut butter added to the recipe--yum!)

On a completely different note, I will be making my sister's wedding shower cake in a few weeks, and I needed to do a practice cake to see if I could get the hot air balloon shape the way I wanted it.  I also needed  to see how fondant works on my own cakes, so I bought some pre-made fondant and rolled it out to cover the cake.  I used a box mix confetti cake for the inside (Pillsbury is WAY better than Betty Crocker) and made my own buttercream frosting for the crumb coat.  I don't like the taste of fondant, so I made sure to make a thick layer of buttercream on top (normal thickness for a cake, just a super thick crumb coat for you baker types).  The fondant was an interesting experience.  Honestly, it feels like cheating to decorate with fondant.  It's way too easy to slap some fondant on a cake and make it pretty.  Piping takes skill and time to do well.  Fondant was ho-hum by comparison.

So I had all of my ice cream cone treats and a whole cake in our apartment, two huge desserts we didn't need to eat.  I opted to take them both up to the picnic, one to enter in the contest and one to simply have people eat.  When we got all settled, however, The Man's aunt told me to just put The Man's name on the hot air balloon cake and say that he entered it.  I put my name on the ice cream treats.

And you know what?  "His" cake took first place.  The Man won a prize.  His father took second place with a berry cobbler.  A super cute "piggy" cake took third.  My ice cream treats didn't even place!

That brings a whole new meaning to the phrase, "losing is such sweet sorrow."


Skunk said...

With all due respect, who judges a dessert contest by LOOKS, and not TASTE? :D

Jaggy said...

The problem was judges having to taste 20 desserts and wanting to hurl afterward. By making it about looks, the judges didn't get sick.

But I agree: dessert should taste good too.

Jules said...

I totally would have voted for the "ice cream cones" over the cobbler!

Skunk said...

Yeah, seriously. How can a cobbler look prettier than those gorgeous ice cream cones!?! :)