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A Post From Dan – The Mystery of Fondant

22 Apr

The Mystery of Fondant

I don’t really have much to write about recently, Terry still makes sugar and cake messes for me to clean.  I think she may have even upped the ante a bit, because she thinks bigger messes equal more blog posts by Dan  (not the case).  But, I’ve recently put my finger on something that’s been tickling the back of my brain and troubling me a little, not about her but about fondant.  Rolled fondant, as I’m sure most of you know, is used to cover many cakes and provides that smooth finish that you can’t accomplish with icing.  To cover a cake in fondant you roll the fondant out until it is relatively thin, throw it over the cake and smooth it down.  But here is the problem, to cover a cake with a 10 inch diameter that is say 4 inches tall, you have to roll out a ‘circle’ of fondant that is at least 18 inches in diameter.

The circumference of the top and bottom of the cake is, of course, the same, 31.4 inches ( 2πr ).  But the circumference of the rolled out ‘circle’ of fondant that has an 18” diameter is 56.52 inches.  So, when you throw the fondant on top of the cake, you somehow have to squeeze 56 inches of fondant into the 31 inches of available space at the bottom of the cake without the fondant bunching or overlapping.  How does that happen?  Think of a tablecloth going on a table, the cloth bunches on the sides forming a ‘skirt,’ well cake and fondant shouldn’t be much different.  I’ve seen Terry make that fondant ‘skirt’ disappear by smoothing it down (it doesn’t look easy and often involves a lot of swearing and banging on things), but it doesn’t make any sense to me.  Does the fondant somehow thicken during the smoothing process and “draw up” the excess length of the fondant?  Even if that’s happening to some degree could it really account for 25 extra inches of fondant?  I remain baffled.  If none of this makes any sense to you or if you just couldn’t care less, sorry for wasting your time.


Sugar Surprise – A Post From Dan

25 Feb

Sugar Surprise

Click on it to see the sugar

THIS is what I’m dealing with!  I hope it shows up in the picture, but if not those spots in the book are clumps of powdered sugar.  Let me explain.  Christmas, two years ago, we made a boatload of cookies and mailed them to family.  All told, this ended up being at least as expensive as buying gifts online and taking advantage of free shipping, and it was an incredible headache and mess to make upwards of 500 cookies.  So I learned my lesson with baking (I thought Terry had learned hers too, but…well… I guess not).  As far as I know this book (“The Great American Cookie Book”, American?) hasn’t been opened in the intervening two years, but we decided to make some oatmeal cookies and since the generic brand of oatmeal we buy has no cookie recipe on the side (what the hell are they thinking?) we had to crack open the cookie book.  And there it was, the mark of my woman… powdered sugar.  Now, I know it had to be her that left the powdered sugar in the book for future generations to find, because anytime I am about to leave a mess I hear my mother’s voice in my head saying, “DANNY, GET YOUR DEAD ASS IN HERE AND CLEAN UP THIS <insert expletive> MESS!” (Coincidently, anytime I am about to do something stupid I hear my father’s voice, “Son, I don’t think that’s gonna work out the way you think it’s gonna work out.”)  Had I done something like this as a child, my mother would likely have used the book as an instructional tool to re-teach me the lesson “Why we don’t leave messes for others to clean up.”  I honestly wouldn’t put it past her to have a “Come to Jesus Meetin’” about it even now that I’m a grown man.

I had thought that Terry’s uncontrollable need to plaster everything in the house with a decorative coating of sugar was a recent development, but apparently, she has been hiding this compulsion for over two years.  Maybe if I had known then, I could have gotten her some help before I had to become this proverbial Oompa Loompa running around trying to clean up after Willy Wonka on crack.

Death by Chocolate…Cake – A Post From Dan

12 Feb

Death by Chocolate… Cake

So, Terry is forcing me, on pain of death (or constant nagging), to write another blog post.  She actually said to me, “Each week, your blog posts will be due on Thursday… blah blah blah, me me me, mine mine mine,” I could be misquoting that last bit.  But she is excited about trying to start her own business, and I am excited for her.  So, I don’t know about every Thursday, but I will try to regularly make fun of her on here; I’m not really sure why this is what she wants, but…let’s get to it.

She is trying to kill me, slowly and, some might argue, legally.  I feel like a goose being primed for Foie Gras, but instead of corn and a metal tube, she disguises her ‘fattening method’ as cake or pie (or on a good day, both).  One might say, “she’s not force-feeding you, Dan,” but if you know me, you know I have no self-control as it pertains to things delectable.  If a pie with a chocolate chip cookie crust, peanut butter and cream cheese filling, and a chocolate ganache topping is sitting in the fridge all alone, I’m gonna go keep it company, cause that’s just the kind of selfless guy I am.  Terry knows this and is exploiting this weakness to hasten my downfall, I fear.  These days, she’s not even disguising her intentions very well with this whole “Fat Friday” scheme (who do you think eats all those goodies?)  But why is she trying to fatten me is the real question.  I don’t think it’s making me more attractive, so I’m very suspicious.  If I ever disappear and you notice she is suddenly eating a lot of Pâté, beware… her next “Taste Tester” could be you!

Image from

Dishwashing- A Post From Dan

15 Jan

Dishwashing – The Hobby I Never Wanted

I wish I could just shut-up and accept my fate about my new hobby, but not complaining about something work-like just isn’t… me.  Let me give you some background, so you can see how all this started.  Terry and I agreed a couple of years ago that she would do the laundry if I would keep the kitchen clean.  Though keeping the kitchen clean is a 7-day a week job and laundry is a one, maybe two day a week job, I thought our arrangement was quite fair.  For me, folding clothes is like having someone pull your beard out one hair at a time (it took a long time for me to convince Terry that pulling my beard out is NOT a cute couple-thing).  Besides, if you clean as you go, the kitchen is pretty easy to keep. And Terry hates doing dishes, so things were going relatively smoothly.  I say “relatively” because I always kind of felt like Terry was taking advantage of the situation just a little bit.  Sometimes it was small things like lobbing her breakfast dishes in the sink, so I come home to a plate covered in dried egg yolk, which, as I’m sure you know, you need sandpaper and a blowtorch to get off.  Sometimes it was bigger things, I doubt most of you have ever seen her cook, but if you have you know it’s like the Tasmanian Devil prepared your dinner.  I have no complaints about the food, she can cook, but she uses every pot, pan and frappin’ kitchen utensil possible (some you didn’t even know you had) and then either leaves them on the counter or piles so much in the sink you can’t possible wash anything (or sometimes both).  So it was in this culture of culinary excess with no thought for the domestic consequences that she began her cake “hobby” (saying Terry has a hobby is like saying Dr. Frankenstein had a pet project).

The post-cake apocalypse is like a game of chicken, she makes this incredible mess (like a powdered-sugar grenade blew up a butter-cream family) and then leaves it, thinking Dan will clean it (because that’s his job).  But I ask you, why is it my job to clean up after her hobby, and on top of that it’s usually for a cake I’m not even going to eat?  So I wait thinking, she’ll start cleaning any minute.  It gets to be like 9 o’clock, my fingers start tapping, and my leg starts shaking, because I know the kitchen is going to take at least an hour to clean and I’m ready for bed.  In the meantime, Terry is taking her 87th picture of the cake, playing with the lighting and god knows what all and is seemingly wholly unconcerned that our kitchen looks like Al Pacino’s desk in Scarface.  So to avoid the metaphorical head-on collision, I swerve and clean so we don’t wake up to ants sledding and throwing powdered-sugar “snowballs” at each other.  And through this vicious cycle, I have begun my new hobby.

Had I just stood my ground that first time and not reinforced this behavior, maybe I wouldn’t be Igor to her Dr. Frankenstein, tottering around, all hunched over from washing to many dishes, saying things like “Master do you really need to use an ENTIRE bag of sugar to roll out that fondant?”

“OF COURSE I DO, FOOL!  MUAHAHAHAHAHA!” she has an especially depraved evil-laugh, by the way.

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