Monday, April 13, 2009

The Story of the Cherry Hog





Once upon a time there were 3 sisters that grew up in the city of New Orleans with their 2 older brothers and parents. They were not exactly poor, but things were very tight, as they were living on one modest accountant's salary. Melba, the mom, knew how to make every penny stretch. She was very frugal. There were never any treats like candy, soda, chips, or cookies in the house. Those things were reserved for very special occasions.

Since vacations were out of the budget, the family would make day trips a few times a summer to a nearby state park. The kids would swim in the Bogafalaya river and play on the sandy beach. Melba would pack an ice chest and picnic basket and they would spend the day swimming, eating, and relaxing.

On one particular trip to the river, Melba really splurged and bought a bag of fresh cherries. Not a big bag, mind you. But this was still a really special treat for the kids to get such an extravagance.

So on this particular day, after lunch, the 2 youngest sisters, Sharon and Janice, decided to go for a nice long swim, anticipating their refreshing treat of cherries upon their return. They wanted to save them for the just the right moment, to enjoy them to their fullest. So after their nice swim in the river, they happily skipped back to the picnic table, excited about the luscious fruit that awaited them. But alas, to their dismay, they discovered that their older sister Barbara (aka the Cherry Hog) had eaten them all! All of them! All that was left was a bag of pits and stems.

Needless to say the 2 little sisters were disappointed..... no, devastated..... no, scarred for life! Despite years in therapy and reading many self help books, they have not been able to work through the trauma of this event. In this tragic story they did not live happily ever after. So needless to say, to this day they give Barbara grief about it any chance they can get.



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Last week, when the whole family was invited to a friend's house on the bayou for a Good Friday seafood boil, they took the opportunity to also celebrate Barbara's birthday.




And here is the Cherry Hog's birthday cake.



CH with her cake. She loved it.



Sharon and CH.



Sharon, CH and Janice.



Seafood boil of crabs , crawfish, potatoes, corn and more!




And fresh boiled shrimp! It was so yummy!




J-Man got to drive the boat!



Cherry Hog and her nephew D.




The cake was yummy and enjoyed by all. We had a wonderful day of boating, eating, and playing board games.

Note: Cherry Hog claims to have no memory of this event ever happening. Classic case of denial, if you ask me.




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HOW TO MAKE CHERRY HOG'S CAKE:




My BFF Heather gave me the great idea of using Styrofoam as the base of the cake. I used an 8 inch ball and cut it a little shorter than in half. I cut a flat bottom so it would stand up, and I used another piece of styro as "sand paper" to shape the bottom half of the cherry. (I learned that trick in a Collette Peter's demo.)

Then I sharpened wooden dowels and drove them thru the styro and into the cake drum base for stability. I used 3, but in retrospect I could have done with just 2.



I then attached a circle of parchment paper to the top of the styro with buttercream to form a barrier with the cake.




First layer of cake in place.



I put a ball of modeling chocolate down in the hole to serve as the pit. Tee hee. Then I plugged the hole with the cake from the heating core.



Second layer of cake in place.



Carved to a cherry shape with a sharp knife. I intentionally went with a somewhat asymmetrical look, because real cherries are not perfectly round. Also makes the carving easier; I love that!




Then I applied a basecoat of thickened ganache over the whole thing. The ganache is 2 parts semi sweet chocolate to one part heavy cream. You let it cool to a thick paste consistency and then apply it just like a buttercream coat with a hot spatula. It firms up to make a nice chocolate shell; a wonderful surface on which to apply your fondant.

I learned this ganaching technique from the Australian cake ladies and I love it. It is now my go-to technique for odd shaped cakes. (I am going to show this technique in our next DVD release...YAY!)



I smeared the whole cake with piping gel and then applied red fondant. I used a wad of fondant cupped in my hand in lieu of fondant smoothers. This works great on round and curved shapes.

I then gave the whole cake a liberal rubdown with everclear alcohol to get the excess cornstarch off before airbrushing. What??? No Crisco? I know what you are thinking. Sharon rubs down everything with Crisco! Yes, this is true, but not in the case of airbrushing. That will cause the airbrush color to not go on smoothly and you might get blotching.



After the everclear dried (took about 2 minutes) , I gave it several coats of red color. Let the coats dry in between or you will get pooling and dripping of color. Here it is still wet with color. (And I am still blowing red snot a week later.)



One more coat of color and dried.



I made the stem by wrapping several 18 gauge floral wires with brown floral tape and then airbrushed brown and green over that. I just stuck the stem down thru the center of the cake and down into the base of the styro. Note: This is not food safe, but it was for Cherry Hog so I did not care. The proper thing to do would have been to coat the part of the stem going down into the cake with chocolate and dried before inserting.




I made the beach chair with the cutter set here. I cut the pieces from white gumpaste. After fully dried I painted them with brown airbrush color mixed with everclear to make the wood look. The seat of the chair is white gumpaste. Ain't it cute?? I love this chair! The sand is Domino's brownulated sugar from the grocery store.



It was a lot of fun making this cake! This is when I love caking the most. A fun, challenging cake that has a special story to go with it.

Now you all go make one for your favorite Cherry Hog!

Happy Hogging!

Sharon


PS. Remember you can click on the photos for a larger view.


Edited to add comments from my 2 sisters:

Janice Mary said...
This is Janice, the middle sister. What Sharon was too kind to tell you is that in that picture of the three of us with the cake...just before we took a bite, Cherry Hog wisked it away and ate the whole thing! This time pit and stem and all! She can't help herself.

April 14, 2009 1:47 PM

Barb said...
Hey, the CH here. I have to admit that I do not remember eating those cherries. I absolutely love fresh cherries to this day, so it kind of doesn't surprise me, but I know there must have been a reason because I can't believe my Mother would have let me eat them all. Like, maybe I thought everyone else had had some already, or maybe I made a deal to wash the dishes if she let me have them all. I don't know. Awesome cake, huh!! I can't believe how much it looks like a real cherry. That was really a cool surprise. Sharon lured me upstairs while they brought the cake in from the car. And very tasty too! OK, gotta go eat some cherries. Later.

April 14, 2009 1:54 PM

27 comments:

Anonymous said...

mmm...crawfish.....delicious I miss it!

Jennywenny said...

Wow, that is awesome! Beautiful cake, fun story and delicious looking crab boil! Thanks for sharing.

Jennywenny said...

Wow, that is awesome! Beautiful cake, fun story and delicious looking crab boil! Thanks for sharing.

Snooky doodle said...

amazing cake :)

Janice Mary said...

This is Janice, the middle sister. What Sharon was too kind to tell you is that in that picture of the three of us with the cake...just before we took a bite, Cherry Hog wisked it away and ate the whole thing! This time pit and stem and all! She can't help herself.

Barb said...

Hey, the CH here. I have to admit that I do not remember eating those cherries. I absolutely love fresh cherries to this day, so it kind of doesn't surprise me, but I know there must have been a reason because I can't believe my Mother would have let me eat them all. Like, maybe I thought everyone else had had some already, or maybe I made a deal to wash the dishes if she let me have them all. I don't know. Awesome cake, huh!! I can't believe how much it looks like a real cherry. That was really a cool surprise. Sharon lured me upstairs while they brought the cake in from the car. And very tasty too! OK, gotta go eat some cherries. Later.

dori said...

Love it! That is just amazing. And the little beach chair is incredible! We just went to a crawfish boil a couple of weeks ago. Yum! I just used the last of them to make etouffee.

Alicia said...

Hi Sharon I have a question. In the first part of the tutorial you state that you cut the half of the styrofoam circle with a flat bottom - I got that part. Then you say you used another piece on the bottom - I'm lost there. Would you please explain? Thanks!

AllPurposeGirl said...

Oh gosh. I have to make an apple soon and this is right on time.

Julie Reid said...

WOW!! Sharon you are the bomb! Thanks for the instructions. I might give this one a try. By the way, I am so jealous over the seafood spread. We moved from Mobile,AL to Katy,TX in 2006 and the seafood just isn't the same. I miss fresh Gulf Coast seafood! I hope you enjoyed every bite.

Suzie Q said...

I love your stories Sharon. I sit hear laughing while reading them to myself, and my husband just looks at me and says nothing. You are my favorite cake celeb - I have learned SO much from your DVDs and blog. This is an awesome cake, made even better by the accompanying story. Can't wait for your next one!!

angelabarton said...

AWESOME cake!! What kind is it? It looks yummy! Thanks for that chocolate ganache recipe, I'm definitely going to try it!

Nancy Smith said...

Great story and great cake!!! You are hilarious!! Thanks for sharing!!!

Michele said...

Sharon, you just crack me up!!! Not only are you one of the most talented cake artists ever, you are a terrific and amusing storyteller!!

Anonymous said...

LOVE IT!!!!!!!
Vicki :)

jode said...

Aaaahhhhh!!!! I want to be Sharon Zambito when I grow up!!!!Sharon, you never cease to amaze us with your ever increasing ability to make outstanding,unbelievable cakes!!!! Your stories make me pee my pants too!!!!!!

Tracy Auseklis said...

LOVE LOVE LOVE the cherry cake...gotta get me an airbrush...that's next in my arsenal!

fiddlesticks said...

Sharon ! Cute story, Awesome cake!Your talent is never ending!
Love it !

Scarlett Wishes said...

my older sister denies acts like these all the time!

great cake :D and thanks for the tutorial. Looking forward to the ganache DVD!

Julie Reid said...

Ok, this might take a minute, it's both a confession & a question. I am working on some fondant/gumpaste roses and wanted to add a touch of color. So I pulled out my little pot of copper luster dust(my fav. color) to add a little extra bling! And then it happened!!! I spilt the whole pot on the floor. UGH!!! How in the world do you open those things without making a huge mess. I had it all over my face, my neck (heck I found some down inside my bra) and all over my favorite green shirt@! Anyhow we had a good laugh in the end but I really hate wasting the good stuff. So if you could please guide me in my delima I would be very, very grateful!

asimpson said...

I just love this cake and I do have my own Cherry Hog, so I will have to try it for his Birthday. Thanks for sharing this cake with us! Have a fantastic week :-)

SugarEd Productions said...

Alicia: To sand down the sides of the styro half circle, I took another hunk of styro and used that as a "sanding block" (rubbing one piece against the other) to get the shape I wanted.

Julie: I can open them now after much practice but try and old fashined bottle cap opener!

And thank you all for the very kind words!

requel said...

Hi Sharon,
Would like to know what type of chocolate did you use for the chocolate ganache? Did it hold up in humid weather, Did the fondant sweat or was it fine I know your weather is hot and so is mine.
Thanks

Jolly said...

Thanks:)

Floor Sanding London said...

That Seafood boil looks fantastic.

flooring said...

Unbelievable. Looks very natural.

Simon Savill said...

Hi Sharon this is a great looking cake!! if you were to put a price on it, what would it cost? not to family but to friends of friends? also how long did it take you to do?
Thanks in advance.