Embracing the crazy
“We’re all crazy we have to be to want to this, think about it” Chef Harvey
I didn’t really understand what Chef Harvey was talking about for a while. I didn’t understand most of what she said for the first few weeks of class, but I think that was due to her wicked thick Boston accent. Living in RI I’m used to people dropping their R’s and throwing them in words where they don’t belong, but Chef H brought it to the next level, it was almost an art form. It wasn’t really until this past February (or Febuary depending on where you are in New England) that I understood what she was talking about. I had been asked to do a few cakes for two different fundraising events. (Okay one of the events was put together by my sister but I’m counting it) And that’s when I realized I’m crazy.
My sister’s husband races at Seekonk Speedway and from what I understand he’s pretty dam good. From what I’ve witnessed he goes left really fast (like REALLY fast)… That being said, it’s his passion and my sister’s as well, but it’s an expensive calling to have so once a year they throw a little party and have raffles and games all to make money for the team (Team V, check out their FB page!) to help alleviate some of the out-of-pocket costs.
The other event was for the Providence Police Pipes and Drums fundraiser. They’re an amazing group of people that play funeral and memorial services for those who have served and sacrificed within the police force community. Seriously a great group of guys and I was flattered that they had thought of me to provide some Nom’s for the night. The design and flavor were completely up to me whatever I wanted to do, my favorite guidelines (FREEDOOOOOM!).
With the Pipes and Drums fundraiser at the beginning of the month and Team V’s fundraiser at the end I was pumped to get a little more creative with what I was going to be contributing. I started imagining a four tier cake with sparklers and a motorized bagpipe playing doll that shoots out of the top tier and does a lord of the dance jig… Just a little over the top (where was I even going to find a doll that step dances) I started to gather my ingredients and get ready to bake what I had decided would be a monster of a cake but no fire or dancing dolls, for the Pipes and Drums band when I got a call saying that they may have to postpone the fundraiser because of Nemo. No not the fish, the snow storm. The storm that knocked out power, closed roads and cleared shelves from Narragansett to Fall River of bread and milk. The storm that brought out my crazy…
They rescheduled the Pipes and Drums event for the 19th of February and Team V’s was scheduled for the 18th. No problem right. I figured I could finish all the baking by Thursday night and put together the tarts and pies for Team V’s event Friday right when I got home from work before heading over.
Amazingly there was no traffic and thanks to some aggressiveness (an aggressive driver in RI? It’s like the 8th wonder of the world!) on my part I made it home in record time. Since I had baked off the tart shells the night before and made pastry cream and the lemon pie filling that morning all I had left to do was put everything together. It was close but I finished everything in time. The plan was simple. Go to the fundraiser and watch my nephew for a few hours while my sister ran everything then I would come home make a quick batch of butter cream go to bed and get an early start on the pipes and drums cake. Things were going smoothly or so I thought you see my nephew was only two at the time and having no children myself I tend to forget how quickly they move (especially him, he’s like a raccoon on Red bull...). It turned into a four hour slight cardio workout, mostly making sure he stayed away from stairs and didn’t steal food off our great grandfather’s plate. All in all it was a successful event, the pie and two tarts actually had tickets in them and none of them ended up going to family members, I got some Q/T with my nephew and I realized that it was way too late and I was way too tired to attempt to make anything when I got home. I decided to hit the hay and set the alarm extra early.
5am has never come so quickly. I started blowing through things making butter cream and getting the cakes crumb coated, coloring fondant and buttercream. Then, as I was shaping the bagpipe cake it dawned on me that I had an extra cake. This isn’t unusual for me… I’m paranoid about not having enough cake especially when I have to cut into a cake to shape it and since I do everything from scratch and it’s just me there is usually extra cake in my house when friends come over and I’ve had an order the day before... I decided I would shape it into one of the funny little hats the pipe and drummers wear while they perform (this is the crazy starting to rear its googley-eyed head)… It was only 9 am how much time could final coating the cakes, covering them in fondant, and making them look like a drum (with the Providence Police emblem piped on it in more butter cream) and bagpipe and now a hat take? For the record it takes 6 and half hours. That’s after the first 4 it took to get to the hat idea (although in all fairness the first hour was me just drinking coffee while listening to Gagnum Style pumping myself up).
Everything went pretty smoothly, it was time consuming but worth it. Then as I was lifting the bagpipe to place it on the board, the fondant cracked and the cake began to fall apart. The world went into slow motion, I’m pretty sure at this point my soul lifted out of my body and I could see everything happening. My husband’s eye’s bugged out of his head and braced himself for what I’m sure he thought was going to be some kind of flashback of boot camp. Our newly adopted dog’s ears went back and his eyes got wide having no idea what was going on. Our 10 year old pug never budged from his spot on the couch (he is truly the snortely little rock in my river of crazy)… Not even an eye flicker. Slowly I floated back in into my body and everything that Chef. H had said clicked. I could feel the crazy pulsing through my veins, along with adrenalin, horror and regret. Why? Why had I said I could do this? Why had that storm hit? Why didn’t I just go with a dam sheet cake? WHYYYYYYY!!!!!
I embraced the crazy and fixed the cake. I would give you more details about it but to be honest it was like triage with frosting and it all happened so quickly that I don’t remember much.
Everything was fixed and finished with an hour to spare, which was a relief because I was a mess. I took extra precautions when loading what was in fact a monster of a cake into the jeep. Naturally as we started heading to Providence for the fundraiser it started to snow again (eye twitch).
Date Added: 12.13.13