Simple Simon Sundays

Do you remember that nursery rhyme:

Simple Simon met a pieman
Going to the fair;
Says Simple Simon to the pieman,
Let me taste your ware.

Says the pieman to Simple Simon,
Show me first your penny;
Says Simple Simon to the pieman,
Indeed I have not any.

Source: Extraordinary Nursery Rhymes and Tales: New Yet Old (1876)

My topic for today made me think about that nursery rhyme. I think there are a lot of  “rules” out there in the health and fitness industry regarding desserts, sweets, and snacks in general. I’ve mentioned before two things that are pertinent to this conversation and are my guiding principles for sharing this “feature” on Sundays in the near future.

The first is that I love to bake! You can see my cakes here and know that this post will contain another. I love to bake brownies and cookies and pies and I’ve even talked about a few of the recipes I’ve been trying out regarding desserts from time to time. I love to read food bloggers who take a little bit healthier spin on things and those who tell you it’s okay to indulge. To me, healthier means using real food and real ingredients. This is the main drive behind my shameless indulgence.

Second is that I don’t feel guilty when I eat these things because I use the principles of Mindful Eating that I learned during my internship at Green Mountain at Fox Run. I encourage you to pop over to their blog to learn more.

My only rules regarding sweets are as follows:
1. Eat only what you really want.
2. Enjoy (experience it with all senses) what you’re eating.
3. Don’t judge yourself for eating it.
4. Stop when you’re full.
5. Try to keep it real (real ingredients that you know what they are and where they come from).

Thursday I mentioned that I was working on a 4-day cake for my niece and yesterday was the big reveal day. She loved it! Here are some pics regarding the cake:

This was the inspiration for her cake….and if you thought it was the cake I made, you were wrong, because I’m just not at that level yet….

Main reason this wasn’t the cake – I don’t work with fondant….or rather, I hadn’t yet.

This is the version we got. So, how did we get through 4 days of cake making?

Day One: Color Flow
First I made leaves and the duck commander symbol out of color flow icing. It needs 2-3 days to dry really well, so Wednesday afternoon it was made so that it could go on to the cake on Friday night or Saturday morning (depending on my schedule).

The duck broke and originally looked EXACTLY like the image above, so that was disappointing. Color flow icing can be very difficult to work with if you’re not careful as it is VERY fragile…even when dry.

Day Two: Fondant
The bow is made of fondant that I bought at Hobby Lobby. Normally I do not buy pieces of the cakes I make, unless necessary, but I haven’t made my own fondant and needed it to work. I rolled it out on Thursday and cut it into strips. Then, I folded the strips into loops and pinched the ends together. I set them on their sides to dry as they take 1-2 days to harden.

Day Three: Baking and Icing
I took some left over color flow icing and tinted it pink and put the ribbon together following these instructions. I intended to let it dry overnight as I attempted to make the rest of the cake.

I made Betty Crocker’s Silver White Cake recipe with a few tweaks (3 batches of it to make 10″ and 2-8″ cakes). I sub unsweetened applesauce for the shortening and often use vanilla almond milk for regular. This time I was out of almond milk and used whole milk and the cakes came out way too dense and a little rubbery. This could also be a result of the dark colored pans I baked them in. I need to invest in some real cake pans instead of using my spring form pans for rounds. Things just don’t rise as well in them.

The icing was Betty Crocker’s Vanilla Buttercream recipe again using usually almond milk. This time doubled the recipe then split it in half again to tint different colors. I did the bottom half in a khaki green made with the brown Wilton tint and kelly green Wilton tint. You can’t tint frosting properly with food coloring. Just an FYI. The bottom was then covered with crushed Oreos and then the leaves. I stacked the top layer on and originally planned to frost and then sprinkle with pink sugar crystals, but decided instead to mix them in….big mistake! I mean HUGE MISTAKE!

This made the icing way too thin for some reason and it started to “fall off” the cake to the bottom layer. This made me very nervous and I kept “pushing it back up” until it dried enough to stick. I should have stopped there for the night, but wanted to push on so that I could enjoy Saturday instead of working on the cake more before the party. Instead I grabbed the duck and it started breaking into a million pieces. I eventually got it “stuck on” to the best of my ability, but had ruined the most perfect piece of the whole cake.

I took the last of my pink icing and my tinted color flow icing and mixed them together to make rosettes, but my heart was sad and my body tired, so they are not the best ones I’ve ever done. Finally, in desperation to see the final product, I picked up the mostly dried bow and slapped it on the top. Surprisingly enough, I felt a little better at that point.

Day Four: Delivery
This day was supposed to be both assembly and delivery, but hey, just getting this heavy cake across town on one of the hottest days of OCTOBER with my husband driving was feat enough for one day. The cake was not as light and airy as it usually is, but everything tasted good and the niece was happy. So, overall a win in my book.

This week we will be attempting some fall cookies to send to the in-laws while I travel to Boston. Check back in next Sunday to see if we score another win.

What is your favorite thing to bake? What was the hardest thing for you to bake? Do you have any rules about eating sweets?

3 thoughts on “Simple Simon Sundays

  1. Oh, this sounds like so many of my days in the past! I feel your pain. I got away from using any form of powdered-sugar-butter type icings because if I ever had any icing fall off the cake or air pocket blow-outs, it was from that kind of frosting. I switched to an italian meringue buttercream, (google for recipe–you may never go back!). Lots of chilling in the fridge helped, too, but oh my gosh, sometimes cakes just refuse to cooperate! You can email me anytime if you are having fits with cakes– I've probably lived through every disaster you can imagine.,,You did good saving it, though! And I love the 'keep it real' idea. That's been my new diet style, and I'm liking it so far: Just real food or one-step from being 'whole' (like cheese…I can't live without cheese).


  2. Definitely try it– it tastes like heaven and is a dream to work with, and it feels 'real'– just real butter, eggs, sugar, and vanilla. gouda and broccoli…oh girl. shhhh


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