Roll (over) and dye

Sometimes, there are foodstuff so luridly coloured that you sort of decide not to eat despite its edible status. The fondant below was one of them. It had an extra-terrestrial glow to it which screamed radioactive.

I occasionally make cakes. Fondant covered cakes. I've yet to convince enough people that cakes with Italian Meringue Buttercream piped in French ruffle pattern is the way to go. I actually detest fondant. The whole process. The kneading to get it soft and pliable enough. The tinting to get the colour just right, I just end up with colour paste on my clothes, on the baby, on every single tea towel in the kitchen. Then it's the rolling out, and forever moving it so it doesn't stick to the surface. Finally it's that death defying task of getting the fondant on to the cake without it tearing or stretching. This is when I find that the wretched thing is too small in diameter to actually cover the damned cake. This is when I am painfully reminded that I am not a professional cake maker. Diddums indeed. Nevertheless, there is a certain level of therapy to the process. It is all just the process, like in a Karate Kid wax on/wax off moment (original version, circa probably before you were conceived). I find myself reflecting upon our first burglary experience. Two days ago, my daughter (the Potato Bottom one) told us that the kitchen window was wide open. Both Slaveboy and I were still in bed - my excuse is that I was breastfeeding the baby. Upon inspection, it had appeared that that the burglar had some crazy sense of humour. He took: The bottle of Drambuie (I didn't even know we had it), The almost empty bottle of Sailor Jerry Rum (original recipe, bastard burglar), Our last jar of Reese's peanut butter (I hunted high and low for this on EBay), My pink enamel pail with 16 eggs in it (I'm pretty pissed off about this), Our Fairy washing up liquid (and to show how lapsed we are with washing up, we didn't actually notice this til 24hrs later). In return, he left us a crystal vase and a bag of sprouts. I tell you, it's some crazy arse barter system. We debated (for two minutes - it's all go in the sniffsnort household) about calling the police and we did in the end. I thought nothing of it but was amazed when a police officer appeared In under an hour, and soon after, the CSI type people with the blue dusting powder. The whole process was pretty normal, the police officer found the choice of missing items curious, he lamented with me about the loss of Sailor Jerry and he complimented us for our stock of pear Koppaberg. He even didn't patronise me when I told him what main concern was the fact that my kitchen had been broken into and it's been a while since we'd oiled the wooden surfaces and mopped the floor. They took photos of our drive (thank you, nephew Chunk for having cleared and levelled our drive, boo hiss to Slaveboy for leaving that broken heater next to the wall). Then they left. I suppose I should feel violated. After all, some stranger entered our house uninvited, but there were planes to catch and bills to pay and yes, I'm definitely quoting Cats Stevens's song. So what does this have to do with that lurid fondant above? Nothing much really. I meant it for this cake here.

I intended to make the swags out of that particular colour, but in the end I decided against it. I just thought it would make it look garish and cheap. I'm still learning about this process. It's like having the words but needing to learn the most effective way of stringing them together and that's what I think cake decorating is like. I has some time today to look back at some of the cakes I have made this year, and seeing what I have achieved. I even plucked up the courage to post some photos on the British Sugarcraft Guild forum. I love the women on there, they are so encouraging. So here are some of the photos. In the process of doing all these, I've settled on the most perfect recipe for fondant covered cakes. I've learned how to crumb coat cakes and also torte them properly. There were lots of hit and misses with covering them. Mishaps with paints and lustres.

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