Today was my maiden voyage with fondant and a rough one it was. I wasn’t expecting perfection the first time and my experience met my expectations. It will take a few (maybe more) tries before I get the hang of working with fondant, but I’m up for the challenge. The cake itself is definitely a keeper. I think I’ve found my go-to yellow cake. At the end of the post is part one of My New You Revolution with CNN . Please try the cake, enjoy the story, and please forgive the dark pictures.
Classic Yellow Cake, adpated from Cakecentral.com
2 ¼ cups sifted cake flour
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
2 TBS cake enhancer (optional)
1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
4 large egg yolks
2 tsp vanilla paste
1 cup sour cream
4 large egg whites
Preheat the oven to 350°. Butter and line two 8 baking pans with parchment.
Sift together the flour, baking powder, cake enhancer and salt. Set aside. Cream the butter in a large bowl with an electric mixer until fluffy and light in color, about 2 minutes on medium speed. Add the sugar and continue to mix until fluffy and light. Add the egg yolks, one at a time, being sure each is well incorporated before adding the next one. Add the vanilla paste. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients alternately with the sour cream, beginning and ending with the flour. Be sure the mixture is completely blended after each addition. Scrape the sides of the bowl, and beat for 1 minute. In a separate bowl, with clean beaters, beat the egg whites to soft peaks. Gently fold the whipped egg whites into the batter with a rubber spatula. Pour the batter into the prepared pans and smooth with a rubber spatula. Bake in the preheated oven, 45 to 50 minutes. Test for doneness with a skewer or a toothpick. Let cool in pans for 10 minutes, then turn onto wire racks and cool completely. Frost and fill with whatever your heart desires.
My New You Revolution with CNN Pt1
Several years ago my physical health was falling apart. I’d been diagnosed with clinical depression, rheumatoid and osteoarthritis, plus fibromyalgia. I was hypertensive, more than 50lbs overweight, and had even gone through a bout of self-injury. This must be my lot in life I mused, to be fat, unhealthy and sad. On the advice of my doctor I decided to try water aerobics. Of course this meant I had to put on a swim suit with all my lumps, dimples and bulges, visible to the public. Water aerobics was all right, but its intensity was not enough for me to get a good workout and I wasn’t seeing any results.
By this time the Iraq war was raging and our son Casey and his then wife Theresa had both been deployed to Tikrit. We were taking care of their youngest son Shanaan and also our newly born diva, Gabrielle. My to do list was getting pretty long. “God give me strength to take care of these babies”, I prayed daily. Engulfed by my responsibilities, fried foods and sweets were my sources of comfort. News about the escalating casualties in the war left me anxious and heartbroken. Sitting at home there was nothing I could do to help Casey and Theresa, except pray. Watching the crawl on CNN only heightened my fears. At times I was drawn to it, unable to pull away; or I would turn and then be filled with questions and worry about what had happened and where.
Every Monday like clockwork I planned to eat healthier and begin exercising. By Wednesday I had done a thorough job of convincing myself that I hurt too bad, and needed whatever energy I had to take care of the kids and my other household responsibilities. Over and again, I’d scold myself for letting my weight get out of hand, but did nothing to change it. One morning in mid-October 2004 I lay in bed eating pancakes and debated about whether I should go downstairs and attempt to work out. The holidays were approaching so I was going to give exercising another try. CNN American Morning was on; and between bites of butter-laden pancakes I heard Soledad O’Brien talking about the “New You Revolution, a lifestyle makeover. I perked up. This was the second year of the program and this time the theme was breaking bad habits. Lord knows I had a slew of them. Wannabe participants were encouraged to apply online. What the heck, I’ll give it a try, probably won’t be chosen, but at least I can say I tried.
With Shanaan and the remainder of my pancakes in tow, I waddled downstairs to the computer. As part of the application for the program applicants had to submit a picture. I politely skipped over that part. They weren’t going to pick my application anyway so why bother. Answering why I wanted to be a part of the line up easy. I wanted to be fit and healthy by the time that Casey and Theresa came home from the war. They were making a tremendous sacrifice, being separated from their children and it was a dreadful existence for them. Giving up junk food and late night eating was the least that I could do. After completing the application I didn’t give it a second thought.
Several weeks later I received a phone call from Miriam Falco at CNN news in regards to my application. She had lots of questions. “Any lawsuits pending?” No. “Anything embarrassing in your background?” No, got a couple of crazy relatives lurking in the distance, but don’t we all. Next she asked why I wanted to be chosen. I gave her the same answer I had given online about Casey and Theresa’s plight and added that I had a background in fitness and wanted to regain my health and be in good physical condition. A little help from CNN would be just the push that I needed. She explained that if chosen I would have to travel to New York for a week in January at the onset of the program and then again in February to end it, at the networks expense of course. Not a problem. One other thing, I had to send in a picture. Darn it! My family never knew that I had applied; guess it was time to tell them. They were surprised but said, “Go for it”. Miriam’s phone call set off a flurry of activity. Getting the picture taken and emailed to her would prove to be something akin to a three ring circus. To be continued……