Monday, May 19, 2008


I have always loved cake. Wedding cake is my favorite. What I wouldn't do for a slice of White Wedding Cake from That Special Touch in Pearl, MS. They made my wedding cake and it was "to die for".

But, I have never been too good at decorating cakes. I figure I need to work on this before I start having kids so that I can make fantastic birthday cakes! I am sure I will never be on par with the professionals but one can always try.

I wrote about my Valentine's Day cookie cakes previously. During the NBA playoffs, when my Rockets were playing the yucky Utah Jazz, and the New Orleans Hornets were playing the yucky Dallas Mavericks, I made a cookie cake for work. We have quite the Houston/Dallas rivalry in the office, and one of our managers is from Utah. It was a fun week (Houston and New Orleans won that night, unfortunately the Rockets ultimately were knocked out, in the first round, again).

I thought I did a pretty good job on my cookie cake, but my decorating still has some work. I decided that my traditional icing, though it tastes fantastic, is just not the best for decorating. It's a little too thin.

My friends Erica and Kelly both shared this icing recipe with me so I decided to give it a try and made a cake last night. The cake was just Duncan Hines yellow cake. I baked the cake according to the package directions for two 8" round cakes. Layer cakes have never worked well for me, they always fall apart. I have always blamed the thin icing... but mmm, its so yummy.

After letting the cakes cool, I trimmed the tops to level them out. Then I applied a thin layer of icing to stack the layers and a thin layer on the whole cake to seal the crumbs. I put the cake in the fridge for 30 minutes while I cleaned the kitchen. Then I applied a second layer of white icing and got a pretty nice, even coat with very few crumbs.

I decided to be cute and do a little decoration. I have a mechanical pastry bag from Williams-Sonoma but I have not liked how it works with icing. The icing sort of seeps out inside the tube so I end up wasting a lot of good icing. I was watching Rachel Ray the other day and saw this cake baker making parchment icing bags, so I gave it a try using the tips from my mechanical pastry bag. It worked really well. Here's the finished product.

I haven't cut into it yet. I made it to bring to work but I left it on the counter. I guess Ryan and I will cut into it tonight and then I'll bring the rest to work tomorrow. The icing is not as yummy as my normal, but I think it will work. I think I'll try the Pure White Icing (stiffer consistency) next time.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Back In Aggieland!!!

I spent two (long) years in College Station, TX while getting my Master's at Texas A&M University. I say it was long because school was hard, work was hard, writing a thesis was hard, I didn't know many people. I spent lots of time on the "farm roads" between College Station and The Woodlands visiting Ryan. I was really ready to be done with school by the time I finally graduated in August 2005.

I did enjoy my time in College Station and did meet some good friends through my fellowship program through PEER and the NSF. I learned how to live on my own, pay rent, find my way around a new city, go to Division 1 sporting events, and ultimately found a great job through the A&M career center. I enjoyed the food! As you can tell from this blog, I like food, but I am not a food snob.

One of my favorite places is called Pita Pit. Its just a sandwich shop, but its great. They grill your meat (chicken, philly steak, deli meat, etc) and stuff it in a pita with whatever veggies and dressing you want. I am a big fan of the Chicken Caesar--Chicken, Bacon, Romaine, Parmesan Cheese, lots of Caesar Dressing. My other favorite was the Philly Steak. I think I ate Pita Pit at least twice a week. It was walkable from my classes/office.

Most Aggies would crave a trip to "The Chicken" (The Dixie Chicken) or Freebirds World Burrito. Both are great, but me, I crave Pita Pit and Kolache Rolf's. (I didn't get to see Rolf this trip, maybe next time.) I guess this is just another reason why I am a "two-percenter".

My job has client in College Station so I got to spend 2 days there. I'm actually writing this from College Station, with a belly full of Chicken Caesar Pita. It was as good as I remembered it.

Note: Here are some interesting articles that might help you understand what a "two-percenter" is. Essentially, you're a student at Texas A&M that isn't all wrapped up in the numerous traditions of Aggieland... like standing up for the ENTIRE football game, not taking your hat off for "yells", not GOING to football games (gasp)...
Campus Newspaper 1
Campus Newspaper 2
Aggie Terminology 1
Aggie Terms from Wiki

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