I make a fabulous chocolate-chip cookie. I mean fabulous. I dare the 12-pound Kelly Ripa, the 13-pound Sarah Jessica Parker or the 14-pound Jennifer Aniston to eat only one. But despite my cookie confidence, I’ve never graduated to cake. I blame Martha Stewart. I blame Cake Boss, Cupcake Wars—anything on TV with that word in the title. A pastry bag frightens me; fondant seems intimidatingly French.
I decide to conquer my fondantophobia. It is my son’s ninth birthday, and I will forgo the cupcake store and bake him something beautiful. I have studied YouTube—the amateur videos to be found there are better than the ones put out by the cake-decorating professionals. I have culled information from friends and strangers on Facebook and Pinterest.
The theme? My son plays the piano. There are a lot of recipes for piano cakes, meaning you create the shape and ice in the keys; some recipes even include real wooden legs for garnish (he’ll get that when he plays at Carnegie Hall). I’ve picked a fairly easy two-layer number. I practice my keys and musical notes with a batch of test icing and then, heart in throat, manipulate that dreaded pastry bag.
The finished cake has a homemade, not-very-professional look, but I am hooked. And thinking of pitching a new TV show: Fondant Feud.
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