I want to tell you about this Pickle Cake. My friend ordered a cake for her husband, whatever I wanted to do (YAY!). He sells pickles, a true pickle diller. Check him out on Facebook (Popkens Pickles). I made cookies for his birthday last year and I knew I wanted to make him a pickle cake this year, because it’s weird and that’s what I do. So I had this grand scheme to make this cake as a character standing on legs with a crown and a sign; The Pickle King Cake. I know the sketch is some major artwork. Stay with me here.
It would be my first gravity defying cake. I was super excited–too excited. I started looking into it and asked 3 of my very good cake friends about the structure needed and such. I had the whole thing laid out. All I needed was…my husband (super smart gizmo guy). Well I showed my husband and apparently all we needed was power tools and money to buy those tools. So I scraped that and went with it sitting instead of standing.
I got to work.
I made the cake out of my friends pickle brine as he had told me a while back he would like to have pickle cupcakes sometime. I spent 6 plus hours decorating this cake. I lost track after some point. The first time it looked like a big watermelon. Whomp whomp; scrapped it. The 2nd time I tried texturing it and shaping it and I ended up with a large green weird shaped thing. I hated it. I really did. It didn’t look like a pickle. It didn’t look like anything but some green monster. It was 1 AM and I was exhausted mentally and physically. I went to bed and hoped it would look better in the morning but to be honest I didn’t sleep at all that night. I didn’t even take a picture of it. No progress shots.
Sunrise came, toddler alarm went off, husband hit the snooze for me but came back shortly to let me know the cake had broken overnight. The fondant was too heavy, the cake too light and moist (had to use the word, cringe it’s okay) . I peeled the fondant off and moved the cake aside.
It was time for plan C. Feeling like I was on a Food Network Challenge I jumped to it, the cake was due in 4 hours. I baked off a vanilla sheet cake and put it in the freezer. I carved it to the shape I wanted. I used cake clay to give it some rounded height. I sent my husband (can we give this guy some props) to go and get me MORE fondant because I had exhausted my supply the night before. I didn’t want to scrap the pickle cake as that was the big surprise from me so I made cake balls and then I remembered how much my friend liked to say “Secure the Bag” and knew I could make little money bags out of these guys. They ended up with way more cake than they asked for but the end project was better than what I had the night before and looked closer to what I sketched. They super happy, I was happy. My job was done and it was done well.
When I first started doing cakes I would let any little slip up stop me. I would quit before I even saw the finish line. The first sign of discouragement was my chosen end sign. Somewhere along the way I let my passion out and it lit my determination. Please know if you are starting out every experience is a learning experience. Failure is your first step to awesome. Whatever your goals may be don’t give up and remember if plan A doesn’t work there are 25 other letters in the alphabet and an infinite amount of numbers. Keep going.
Okay I’m gonna be honest. Since the day after Christmas I have lived in pants that had elastic bands, fuzzy socks and baggy shirts. There have been naps. I’m as close as I can get to hibernating.
It’s been Ah-Mazing.
Yet….I always make it a goal to start the New Year with New Year Cookies. I couldn’t make one set this year so I made 3. One as a gift, one to sale, and one batch of singles to give out as well. So much for taking it easy.
I am trying to record more, especially if I think it could be helpful to anyone starting out. Tips and tricks to make things easier. I hope you enjoy this short video. Please feel free to leave comments, questions or even pictures of your cookies below.
Have a safe and happy New Year. Thank you for being here.
If you made the Gingerbread dough from my previous post you are ready to roll, bake and decorate. I made this video with killer allergies so please forgive the sniffling. I also made them with the viewer in mind that has no cookie cutters and wants to feel a little festive.
Well put on your Christmas music, it’s time to get Jolly.
The first segment is rolling out the cookies. I use a DoughEZ mat and a Joseph Joseph rolling pin (not needed with the mat, I just like mine). You can use a regular rolling pin and plastic wrap on top and bottom. It keeps things cleans and keeps you from over working your dough.
What? My dough can be overworked?
Sure can. Especially if you keep dusting your surface with flour, you’re gonna end up with dry hard cookies. It’s a sad thing. 😢
Roll it. Cut it with whatever you got. You have no cutters? Use a glass, mason jar, lid, knife absolutely whatever. Have FUN!
After baking, let them cool 2 hours. Figure out what kind of icing you want to use and go for it.
Things that will make decorating fun for beginners :
I totally just used my mason jars to make basic circles. Keeping it simple for the people who don’t have a bazillion cutters at home (like me who doesn’t have a problem), but you can use whatever you want.
I will post some decorating videos to go with it this weekend but thought you might want to get a start on the dough.
1211 Gingerbread Cut-Out Cookie Recipe
• Prep time – 4 hours
• Cook time – 12-17 minutes
The batch size is totally dependent on size of cutters and thickness of dough, for example: ¼” thickness, using 3” cutters makes around 20-24 cookies. With a thickness of 3/8”, using 3” cutters, you can get about 10-15 cookies.
• 1 C Butter
• 1 ½ C Dark Brown Sugar
• ½ C Sugar
• 2 Eggs
• 1/3 C Molasses
• 1 Tbsp Cinnamon
• 2 tsp Ginger Juice or 1 tsp Ground Ginger
• ½ tsp Cloves
• 1 Tsp Nutmeg
• ½ Tsp Allspice
• ½ Tsp Pepper
• ½ Tsp Salt
• 1 Tbsp Vanilla Bean Paste or 1 Tbsp Vanilla Extract
• 2 Tsp Orange Zest
• 3-4 C All-purpose Flour
Preheat oven to 350°F. To save time you may add everything from the cinnamon to the salt together in a small bowl. Cream the butter and both sugars until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time until fully incorporated. Add the molasses and once it’s combined add the spices. Add the vanilla and orange zest. Add flour one cup at a time. When the dough starts to pull towards the paddle and is not sticky to the touch, it is ready. Halve the dough into disk shapes and wrap in plastic wrap. Gingerbread will enhance in flavor as it sits so I recommend letting it refrigerate overnight before baking, but if you just can’t wait at least give it two hours. You can do this. I have great faith in you.
Roll out dough to desired thickness (thickness will determine bake time) and bake at 350°F for the following times: ¼” thickness, 12 minutes; 3/8” thickness, 17 minutes. Look for a golden brown color on the edge of the cookies.
You may frost it with Buttercream (Or be naughty and go Cream Cheese Frosting!), Royal Icing or Glaze Icing.