a charlotte of extraordinary effort


Even better than a British person saying "DMZed" is a German person talking about the "WeePN". Ha.

I took a sick day yesterday. Was I really sick? Well, I have a cold. But it wasn't really all that bad. I definitely did need to spend some quality time with my humidifier. And I didn't really have anything to do at work. And I had a lot of baking to do. I made a strawberry swirl cheesecake (heart shaped, with a chocolate crust) and a Pear Charlotte. It merits capitalization because it was damned difficult. I made it from the Cake Bible by Rose Levy Berenbaum. I remember wanting that book so much and then being a tad disappointed when I got it.

Its one of those annoying books that have master recipes that each rely on about 8 sub-recipes. So every time you make something, you have to read about 50 pages and it makes it far more complicated than it should be. First I had to make two recipes of bisquit for the crust and cut them in an uber-complicated manner to make pinstripes to go around the outside of the cake. Then came the Bavarian cream, which is composed of an Italian meringue, custard, and whipped cream. But the custard is made, in part, with the poaching liquid from the pears. The entire operation needs to be scoped out in MS Project, there are so many "dependencies".

I can't get too mad at RLB on this one, though. I'm the idiot that thought that it was a good idea to invest that much time in the cake. Have you ever heard someone talk about craving a charlotte? No? Exactly my point. So why did I spend 20+ hours on making one? I think it was the hormones. Besides the fact that most Americans just don't appreciate European cakes (myself usually included). They are just too different from what we're used to. Brownies covered in caramel and chocolate chips would have been far easier to make and probably more warmly received. At least I have the cheesecake and I'm also doing this:

The "real" recipe wasn't warmly received on epicurious, so I'm making a strawberry chocolate cake (TWO strawberry-chocolate things on one table? I know. Its the hormones, people. I can barely function). And vanilla cupcakes. The whole thing will be covered in a marshmallow frosting. I like traditional buttercream (the kind with a sugar syrup), but I find it tricky. And sometimes it can be greasy. Plus marshmallow frosting sounds fun. I also got a plastic sprig of balloons to stick in the top cupcake. The dots on the side will match the balloons.

Yesterday was a sucky day to take off. Half of all of our channels were covering the inauguration. I wish I hadn't seen it. Because now I will forever have a picture of Bush doing a little dance in a glass pavilion in my head. He danced to everything during the parade. It made me slightly embarrassed in a teenager rolling her eyes at her parents sort of way.

I don't know if its possible this early, but I think the baby dropped. Two weeks ago, he was trying to kick out my ribs. Now he is LOW. The books say that a first baby usually drops weeks before delivery. So is that 2 weeks or 6? I have no idea. And I don't go back to the midwife for another week. I keep having the totally unrealistic expectation that I will go into labor early. I know that's uncommon. I need to accept that it will be another 6 weeks. But the baby is already about 5 pounds right now. So how much will he weigh in a month and a half? Will he give that Brazilian sumo baby a run for his money?

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