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As if baking wasn't complicated enough already
June 22, 2013 11:45 AM   Subscribe

17 cooking projects ain't nobody got time for.

Links to full projects and instructions, in case you actually do have time for that:

1. The cantilevered macarons
2. The cupcakes in disguise
3. The C.R.E. pasta
4. The cake of 17,000 ruffles
5. The pizza-roll sized Pop-Tarts
6.
The wordy marshmallows
7. The coulraphobia cake (page is in Malay)
8. The rainbow jello monstrosity
9. The femto-BLTs
10. The rainbow heart cake
11. the Rubik's Cube Fruit Salad (original link lost to Internet; this is someone's recreation)
12. The mini ice cream cones were apparently sourced from a wedding photography blog, with no recipe extant. Presented in their stead is the French Laundry's recipe for salmon tartare in black sesame cornets, which I believe they may actually be.
13. The fish cake
14. The rainbow bread
15. The enormous peony cake, again, is from a cake photo blog, no instructions. Instead, have this step-by-step tutorial for making gum paste peonies.
16. The waffle breakfast sushi
17. The piñata cookies (autoplay video warning)

Bonus: Ain't nobody got time for that! and the autotune remix.
posted by KathrynT (119 comments total) 69 users marked this as a favorite

 
All those hours of labor for a piece of art intended to be consumed. Kinda zen, no?
posted by double bubble at 11:52 AM on June 22, 2013 [5 favorites]


I like the cube salad best. Should anyone have time for that, I could make time to help eat it. No charge.
posted by asperity at 11:52 AM on June 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


I could go for some waffle breakfast sushi.
posted by The Card Cheat at 11:55 AM on June 22, 2013 [6 favorites]


7: Is it just me or is there no actual instruction on how to make the cake a checkerboard? That's what I was curious about. Everything else in that recipe is quite straightforward.

All the hours of labor for a piece of art intended to be consumed. Kinda zen, no?


I've found it's actually common amongst meditation teachers, when discussing the unequal ratio between obsessing about sensual desires and attaining them, to discuss food prep versus eating. And of course, sex.
posted by selfnoise at 11:56 AM on June 22, 2013 [3 favorites]


Dang, I didn't read the translation of 7 carefully enough! Here are instructions on how to make a checkerboard cake.
posted by KathrynT at 11:59 AM on June 22, 2013


The fact that the object vanishes after being created is my favorite thing about fussy cooking and presentation actually. It's like a live performance.
posted by The Whelk at 12:00 PM on June 22, 2013 [17 favorites]


Thanks, KathyrnT! I might actually try that sometime.

I find that I really enjoy the PROCESS of cooking itself more than the food. I'm not sure if that's healthy but it works for me. Convenient when you have other people around to eat it!
posted by selfnoise at 12:02 PM on June 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oh, hell, it's like that for almost any meal that isn't poured out of a can and nuked. We regularly joke about all the prep and cooking time I take to make a meal we wolf-down in 15 minutes.
posted by Thorzdad at 12:02 PM on June 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


oh god my sugar addiction just kicked in. gonna run down to the store to get a lot of sugar to eat, it will mix fine with the tears (;´༎ຶД༎ຶ`)
posted by Foci for Analysis at 12:05 PM on June 22, 2013 [4 favorites]


The worst part is when you've finished cooking and eating, and just finished cleaning up your huge mess like it was a crime scene. There is no trace that you actually did a goddamn thing.
posted by Brocktoon at 12:05 PM on June 22, 2013 [7 favorites]


BTW, I have a relative who makes these fancy cakes (she made one for my cousin-in-law's birthday that was an entire construction site with cranes and bulldozers and stuff) and it was actually really delicious, with two kinds of cake dough in separate spots. So the super fancy cakes don't necessarily have to taste like wax.
posted by selfnoise at 12:06 PM on June 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


I was once at a party where someone made the rainbow jello mold. It was pretty dope. That said, I made sure not to dwell on the effort-to-deliciousness ratio.

Dammit now I want cake.
posted by Sara C. at 12:07 PM on June 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


This is an awesome post. I totally agree that none of these are worth the time. Also, I am probably going to try doing three of them myself.

The cakes strike me as things you do either (1) for a party, and then everybody talks about it for years; or (2) for your kid's fifth birthday, and then you whip out photos when he's a teenager accusing you of being the worst mom ever.
posted by cribcage at 12:10 PM on June 22, 2013 [13 favorites]


I used to make the rainbow jello with my mom for holidays (we called it ribbon jello, and made it in a regular pan.) It is not hard, but it does take forever. If you screw up a layer, you can always cover it up with the next one.
posted by 41swans at 12:15 PM on June 22, 2013


Bah, this is all silly colored cakes and candies.

I submit that the Eleven Madison Park cookbook is the real collection of cooking no one has time to do. Eleven Madison is one of the finest restaurants in the world right now, absolutely amazing precise food and excellent service. And the cookbook is just incredible.

Random example: "Turbot poached with zucchini, saffron fumet, and tarragon". Simple enough poached fish with veg right? Ha. The zucchini is just sliced thin with a mandoline and quickly blanched. But then there's the ratatouille-stuffed squash blossoms (start by making the ratatouille), the saffron fumet has 12 ingredients including the fish stock you made from scratch yesterday, and don't forget the flower and herb bouquets. I'm guessing it's about 12 hours of labor to assemble this dish. The whole cookbook is like this. So is the whole restaurant. Absolutely astounding dining.
posted by Nelson at 12:17 PM on June 22, 2013 [5 favorites]


You're right, I don't have time for any of these, since I will be using all that time to sculpt fantastic creatures from marzipan.






the tricky bit is NOT EATING ALL THE MARZIPAN
posted by louche mustachio at 12:18 PM on June 22, 2013 [13 favorites]


Plainly someone did have time for that.

But yes, count me among those who don't like spending time on making elaborate food. I'll spend countless hours on knitting and needlework projects that will be usable for years, but though I can cook fairly well, when it takes the same twenty minutes to eat a meal regardless of how long it takes to eat it, I don't spend any more time cooking than is strictly necessary. I'll bake bread, cake, muffins, cookies, quiches, and casseroles, from scratch, I can cook a pot roast, a chicken, or chili, stuff mushrooms, devil eggs, toss a salad, whisk up a banana bisque, make soup from stock and make most other things you can name, but I can't do fancy icings or pastries AND I LIKE IT THAT WAY. I do what I call a Jackson Pollock icing, when I drizzle icing on in a random and hopefully somewhat aesthetically pleasing way, and my pie crusts, though they're always edible, usually look the worse for the wear so I usually buy them.
posted by orange swan at 12:21 PM on June 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


Rubik's Cube would take like 5 minutes. I've made many similar things, for more than a single child, as "picture lunches" that they love. Minecraft, for instance, is similar to the rubik's cube one.
posted by DU at 12:22 PM on June 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


Go on then, I'll even set the clock for 10 minutes. Please report back with photos of finished product no later than 15:35 EST.
posted by elizardbits at 12:25 PM on June 22, 2013 [4 favorites]


The worst part is when you've finished cooking and eating, and just finished cleaning up your huge mess like it was a crime scene. There is no trace that you actually did a goddamn thing.

Aha but then you can't neurotically fixate on if it's " done" or " good" or worry about it over and over all night. It's DONE and GONE.

And if you fuck it up you can always just order a pizza in.
posted by The Whelk at 12:41 PM on June 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


I don't understand the peonies. They can't be eaten because they have a styrofoam ball in them! If I'm going to all this trouble I want to eat it or have others enjoy it when it's done.
posted by sadtomato at 12:41 PM on June 22, 2013 [4 favorites]


Then again I don't make any baked goods myself cause ...I live within five blocks of no less than three excellent bakeries and have no desire to knead.
posted by The Whelk at 12:42 PM on June 22, 2013


I also feel compelled to mention that Eleven Madison Park has a much more reasonable lunch menu if you ever feel flush and want to have some culinary tourism. Same with George Jaques - lunches are a great way to hit up haute cuisine ( the " I will never ever be able to make this at home" type) on a budget.
posted by The Whelk at 12:45 PM on June 22, 2013 [3 favorites]


selfnoise: "Is it just me or is there no actual instruction on how to make the cake a checkerboard?"

The standard thing with a checkerboard cake is that each circular layer is a series of concentric rings (which have a divider while pouring batter that can be removed before baking). If each layer has opposite orders of the coloring of rings, a cross section of a slice will have a checker board pattern.
posted by idiopath at 12:46 PM on June 22, 2013 [3 favorites]


All those hours of labor for a piece of art intended to be consumed. Kinda zen, no?

In my restaurant days, I Always took wry, yet cold comfort in the fact that everything I did all day just turned to shit.
posted by Devils Rancher at 12:47 PM on June 22, 2013 [12 favorites]


I'll be the party-pooper here and say that a lot of these things don't take buzzfeed-worthy amounts of time if you have some experience in the kitchen. For example, the checkerboard cakes can be baked and assembled over the course of a week, and if you're adept at frosting a cake it wouldn't take you that long to make those ruffles.

I'm a collage artist and cut extremely detailed, very, very small things out of paper and sometimes I get embarrassed when someone comments on how long it must have taken me, knowing that I knocked it out in a few minutes, while watching TV.

Maybe I'm feeling defensive because those piñata cookies are already on my MeFi cookie exchange list for this winter.
posted by Room 641-A at 12:47 PM on June 22, 2013 [14 favorites]


Seeing pictures of supposedly tempting cruise ship cuisine that had been over worked into ridiculous perfection turned me off of such 'food' years ago. In the current list, 10 is daunting if not outright scary, and 15 looks like an Ascot hat. I would expect it to taste the same.
posted by Cranberry at 12:48 PM on June 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


I want to go on "Next Food Network Star" and my "point of view" will be impossibly difficult recipes to impress your friends. I even know how it will begin. It'll be called, "Cooking Without a Net," and the opening credits will say, "Who's Annette?"

(No, I have no chance of actually doing this.)

(Mostly because I'm not that good a cook.)
posted by xingcat at 12:48 PM on June 22, 2013 [3 favorites]


NOBODY should feel bad about making anything on this list, but least of all the pinata cookies.
posted by KathrynT at 12:48 PM on June 22, 2013 [8 favorites]


I bake bread, and I think I'll try a version of the rainbow bread for a kid I know: she'll adore it. (I'm famous in my family for my croissants --- special occasions only, since it takes something like 12 hours to make 'em). And maybe I'll try a rainbow cake or jello mold too, but most of these? Pretty, but way to much fuss and bother for the results for my taste.
posted by easily confused at 12:50 PM on June 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


Friend of mine used to specialize in unusual catering services for art parties and the like, I think my favorite was the deconstructed pineapple for a cubist retrospective - huge pineapples and ther skin chopped, chunked, stacked, arranged and glued ( with some kind of ediabke adhesive) into a huge cubist sculpture of the interior and exterior of the pineapples moving out and around in huge jaggged squares. He was so upset that no one was trying to pull it apart to eat it.
posted by The Whelk at 12:52 PM on June 22, 2013


The Rubix Cube salad looks to be precisely the appropriate level of difficulty for me, for a wedding or baby shower or something. And I don't like to spend a lot of time doing any one thing. except metafilter :( I just ordered about $100 of pre-made food for the week.
posted by bleep at 12:55 PM on June 22, 2013


I had one of these in my family.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 12:56 PM on June 22, 2013 [3 favorites]


People, people, it's not like someone asked you to make a Nesselrode Pudding, one of the few dishes mentioned by name in Proust. And the Nesselrode was fairly restrained for dishes of the day.

We have grown weak in our lives of "modern convenience."
posted by GenjiandProust at 12:59 PM on June 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


Thank you Room 641-A. A lot of those frosting things are not really difficult at all, and you can sit back with a glass of wine and some reality TV on and just frost away. Some people knit. Some people crochet. Some people do origami. I like frosting things.
posted by ambrosia at 1:01 PM on June 22, 2013 [4 favorites]


See also Pinterest Fail, which addresses the problem of pinata cookies with panache.
posted by jokeefe at 1:03 PM on June 22, 2013 [8 favorites]


Once you're good at piping, ruffles aren't a big deal. My mom made those crazy Wilton frosting-pointilism cakes every year for my birthday, which are probably just as hard if not harder. (It makes my hand hurt to think about it.)

It's actually not all that hard or time-consuming to stuff cherry tomatoes, either. Prepping the tomatoes (cutting in half, shaking out the goop) is probably the hardest part. And people love them!

I am, however, jealous of the empty refrigerator space required to make those jell-o rainbow molds.
posted by Lyn Never at 1:07 PM on June 22, 2013 [3 favorites]


Pinterest Fail is hilarious to me because of how many people go wrong by not following the directions. It reminds me of an Epicurious comment on a recipe for pork tenderloin medallions with golden raisins in Marsala sauce, where the commenter was like "This was TERRIBLE! I used salmon fillets instead of pork to cut down on the fat. We didn't have any Marsala, so I subbed Grand Marnier, and used Craisins instead of golden raisins. The result was completely inedible, a waste of good ingredients."
posted by KathrynT at 1:09 PM on June 22, 2013 [45 favorites]


Before he turned his focus on time-saving recipes for the home cook, Jacques Pepin was a master of fussy foods, especially anything with aspic.
posted by Room 641-A at 1:17 PM on June 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


Ah, and the original Pinata Cookies Fail.
posted by jokeefe at 1:18 PM on June 22, 2013


I really want some of those tomato/bacon/arugula/chipotle thingies.
posted by Rocket Surgeon at 1:27 PM on June 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


A better concept for the the BLT cup thing is to bake the bacon in a Metal muffin tin so it forms a cup, then add chopped arugula/tomato/chipotle whatever inside
posted by The Whelk at 1:33 PM on June 22, 2013 [9 favorites]


Come to think of it, those piñata cookies don't really need to be rainbows because the novelty works even if they're solid colors. Might even be better if there's an easy way to simulate the tissue paper fringe on a real piñata. Thanks MeFi!
posted by Room 641-A at 1:35 PM on June 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


That flagrantly Photoshopped rainbow heart cake has caused me minutes upon minutes of Pinterest-induced rage.
posted by wreckingball at 1:36 PM on June 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


What makes you think it's photoshopped? The in-progress pics look plausible to me.
posted by KathrynT at 1:37 PM on June 22, 2013


Come to think of it, those piñata cookies don't really need to be rainbows because the novelty works even if they're solid colors. Might even be better if there's an easy way to simulate the tissue paper fringe on a real piñata.

Oooh, I like this idea. A plain sugar cookie filled with candies, then decorated with stripes of icing and colored sugar/sprinkles would be much easier and almost as pretty.
posted by Elsa at 1:38 PM on June 22, 2013 [8 favorites]


Meh, most of these are not particularly time consuming. There's a trick to a lot of them, but they don't seem to involve much more than 'divide up your batter and add a few different colors of food coloring before recombining in the pan in some way'.

Plus, really, you know what? People have time for whatever they're interested in doing. If they're having fun with it, that's their thing. You can buy a sweater at Walmart in 1/100th of the time for 1/10th the money it costs to knit one. You let a few weeds grow in your lawn and it won't affect whether your kids want to play in it. You can just listen to someone else's music, instead of making your own. But some people like knitting, caring for their yard and making music.

And some people like baking things and making their baking look cool.
posted by jacquilynne at 1:39 PM on June 22, 2013 [5 favorites]


That flagrantly Photoshopped rainbow heart cake has caused me minutes upon minutes of Pinterest-induced rage.

That cake is like the end of 2001 after Dave gets sucked into the monolith.
posted by selfnoise at 1:39 PM on June 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


A better concept for the the BLT cup thing is to bake the bacon in a Metal muffin tin so it forms a cup, then add chopped arugula/tomato/chipotle whatever inside

Not Martha even has a little thumbnail tutorial on techniques for bacon cups.
posted by Elsa at 1:39 PM on June 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


i made a giant hamburger cake (with fries! and "ketchup!" and a pickle!) for my boyfriend this year. it took me an entire day. he was so impressed and amazed that he said that i NEVER have to make him a cake again; this one was good enough to remember forever. DO YOU KNOW HOW MUCH TIME I JUST SAVED!?
posted by andreapandrea at 1:41 PM on June 22, 2013 [31 favorites]


The written-on marshmallows were a bit disappointing project-wise; I expected to at least have to make the marshmallows instead of buying them.
posted by immlass at 1:42 PM on June 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


No cake pops?
posted by emjaybee at 1:50 PM on June 22, 2013


So I used to be part of this cake club. Every month, we'd get together at some pub, pull out homemade cakes, and share our cakes and recipes with each other.

This sounds like a wonderful idea, right? You make some cake, you eat some cake, you learn how to make more cakes.

The problem comes from fucking things like these. You get these things made of fondant or buried under mounds of icing or cake pops - fucking cake pops, what's the use, it's mostly your shitty cheap chocolate hiding a tiny ball of overdone cake - and suddenly your fucking brilliant homemade and delicious cake that everyone you know loves is just ignored because it doesn't have a fondant flower or a mound of icing or it's on a stick.

The entire club became less about awesome tasting cake and more about fancy-ass ridiculousness that tasted of nothing.

So now I just make cake for home. And occasionally the Hackspace. At least they appreciate it.
posted by Katemonkey at 1:53 PM on June 22, 2013 [28 favorites]


a lot of these things don't take buzzfeed-worthy amounts of time if you have some experience in the kitchen. For example, the checkerboard cakes can be baked and assembled over the course of a week

Oh well that's OK then.
posted by howfar at 1:55 PM on June 22, 2013 [8 favorites]


Some of these REALLY don't seem all that time-consuming. Like, come on, baking five layers of cake isn't the craziest thing in the world, nor is making hamburger cupcakes (it's just a chocolate cupcake layer sandwiched between two vanilla cupcake layers and decorated with frosting, sheesh).

The real time crime no one bothered to point out: the FRIES that go with the hamburgers. The baker was crazy enough to CUT THE FRIES INDIVIDUALLY after the cookie dough spread too much while in the oven. That is a bridge too far for me. But the way that article is written, we might as well just eat cans of frosting all the time.

and what I'm saying is we should only eat cans of frosting SOME of the time.
posted by chrominance at 1:55 PM on June 22, 2013 [3 favorites]


Rainbow Jello is awesome and I refuse to hear otherwise.
posted by Daily Alice at 1:57 PM on June 22, 2013 [5 favorites]


Those are nothing compared to the Detmolder Method. Most of those projects, to me, don't seem to be worth the time, because the end product isn't so great. The Detmolder method produces amazing bread, but is also absurdly involved. You can even't slice the loaf for 24 hours after it's baked.
posted by bzbb at 1:58 PM on June 22, 2013 [4 favorites]


So, how do you get the macarons to stick to the side of the cake?
posted by Soliloquy at 2:25 PM on June 22, 2013


Most of our notions about food presentation come from 19th century French chefs who had armies of unpaid junior chefs to do the dirty work.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 2:47 PM on June 22, 2013 [4 favorites]


Surely the vast majority of the time spent on a rainbow Jello is spent waiting for the previous layer to congeal in the fridge, right? No reason you can't write your Swedish novel or whatever while that's happening.
posted by rifflesby at 2:49 PM on June 22, 2013


Add to the list Penguin Olives. Cute, and I was making mine with goat cheese, XL calamatas and pickled carrots. I got through the first five dozen before literally throwing in the towel and adding plain pickled carrots and goat cheese on toasted bread to the buffet.

They're cute, though.
posted by vers at 2:49 PM on June 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


I made gay pride jello in high school for a Laramie Project cast party. It was fun. A bit time consuming, but most of that is waiting for it to set.

However, using that much blue or purple dye and then eating a lot of the cake will turn your poop green.
posted by NoraReed at 3:17 PM on June 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


Room 641-A: "For example, the checkerboard cakes can be baked and assembled over the course of a week"

I'ma let you finish but gurl did you just tell me to eat week-old cake
posted by danny the boy at 3:37 PM on June 22, 2013 [16 favorites]


What? No homemade marzipan? This takes FOREVER but the results are amazing particularly if you live in the marzipan forsaken country that is the US!
http://www.luckymike.com/2011/06/52-foods-week-twenty-two-almonds/

(Apologies for the clumsy linkage)
posted by bluesky43 at 3:42 PM on June 22, 2013 [3 favorites]


That rainbow pasta! When you have four three year olds and another one who's five all hanging at your place for the evening, you need an edge, otherwise ain't nobody gonna like whatever the hell you wind up serving. Rainbow noodles... now that we can probably work a consensus with.
posted by Slap*Happy at 3:46 PM on June 22, 2013 [3 favorites]


I'll be the party-pooper here and say that a lot of these things don't take buzzfeed-worthy amounts of time if you have some experience in the kitchen. For example, the checkerboard cakes can be baked and assembled over the course of a week

What kind of circles do you travel in where taking a week to make a cake is not an excessive amount of time to spend on cake making?
posted by nooneyouknow at 3:49 PM on June 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


What kind of circles do you travel in where taking a week to make a cake is not an excessive amount of time to spend on cake making?

It's only excessive if you're talking 8 hour days across the entire week. That cake would take about an hour a day over two or three days to bake (and several to cool), then another couple hours to make the frosting and frost the cake on another day.
posted by MissySedai at 3:53 PM on June 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


I love pinterest fail! so many of my projects don't go exactly as planned. Though they do tend to end up interestingly anyway. I threw an Alice-in-wonderland themed party for a friend, and we got a bunch of tea biscuits and a package of cookie frosting, thinking that we would make all kinds of pretty cookies that said "eat me" and "we're all mad here" and such. Of course, the icing doesn't go on anywhere near as precisely or neatly as it does in the pictures on the package, so our decorating theme quickly devolved from fancy phrases to pictures of cocks and boobs. (Those ones got eaten first, though, which I think says something about the sort of people I hang out with)
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 3:57 PM on June 22, 2013 [3 favorites]


I'ma let you finish but gurl did you just tell me to eat week-old cake

You wrap it plastic wrap and freeze it, yo!

I got through the first five dozen before literally throwing in the towel

Five dozen? That's not throwing in the towel, that's stopping after triumphantly creating 60 penguin olives.

What kind of circles do you travel in where taking a week to make a cake is not an excessive amount of time to spend on cake making?

Even if you're really pressed for time you can take a box of cake mix and in less than 10 minutes it's baking in the oven. Do that for the next four nights and on Saturday you have five layers of cake.

I never said it would take a week to make, I said you could make it over the course of a week. Besides, all I said it that I didn't think they were so time-consuming that they were worth a ZOMG!!11! Buzzfeed post. Sheesh.
posted by Room 641-A at 4:01 PM on June 22, 2013 [3 favorites]


I made gay pride jello in high school for a Laramie Project cast party.

I was modestly popular at my college for our Coming Out Day pink triangle rice crispies treats. A budding pastry chef I was not.
posted by Nelson at 4:06 PM on June 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


NoraReed: "I made gay pride jello in high school for a Laramie Project cast party. It was fun. A bit time consuming, but most of that is waiting for it to set."

I just realized the the amount of rainbow jello made in my house growing up (a lot) may correlate to the number of gay sons (both of them).

My mom is very loving and accepting, but I still don't think I will tell her this joke. My brother, however, is sure I'm right.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 4:11 PM on June 22, 2013 [5 favorites]


I'm surprised this thread isn't all Heston Blumenthal recipes.
posted by kickingtheground at 4:16 PM on June 22, 2013 [4 favorites]


Guilty of several of these in my Manic Housewife phase. I am getting better now.

To #7, I would just add - (C) you do not want to know what that much food colouring will do to a child's interior. Expect several concerned phonecalls the day after the birthday party.
posted by Catch at 4:17 PM on June 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


My Hannibal recipes are much more elaborate than this.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 4:21 PM on June 22, 2013


First, be smart from the very beginning.
posted by The Whelk at 4:22 PM on June 22, 2013 [3 favorites]


I hate all that rainbow-swirled stuff. It lacks visual appeal, the coloring has no effect on the taste and, as mentioned above, it makes your poops weird. Rainbow cupcakes make me SO IRRATIONALLY ANGRY IDEK.

i just think they're tacky and i don't care what anyone else thinks so there
posted by elizardbits at 4:45 PM on June 22, 2013 [3 favorites]


nb i will still eat your tacky cupcakes if you offer them to me
posted by elizardbits at 4:45 PM on June 22, 2013 [3 favorites]


What if each color strata was a new flavor, raspberry for red blueberry for blue, yellow for vanilla green for menthe ...etc...?
posted by The Whelk at 4:52 PM on June 22, 2013


I've made rainbow cakes -- easy, just split the batter, colour it, pour in -- checkerboard cakes -- see above, but with special cake pans instead of just pouring the cake in -- and the hamburger cupcakes -- also easy, use a muffin top tin, make frosting in red and yellow and dye coconut green, cover with black sprinkles. They're all really popular and take maybe 20 extra minutes of work. Which, given a cake is about 20 minutes is doubling it, but still.
posted by jeather at 4:59 PM on June 22, 2013


When me and my best friend dropped out of school together we made " victory bread" I:E every thing that looked fun in the baking section of the store at once, food dye, colored sugar, m&ms, peanut butter chips, mint dark chocolate sprinkled, all formed into one huge boule and baked together.

it might have been subtle, but it was the best thing zi ever made.

( also we made so much that I was able to fry the leftovers in butter later, ala THE VICTORY REDUX)
posted by The Whelk at 5:04 PM on June 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


I never got into this sort of thing -- my sister was the Baskin Robbins cake decorator. My cakes always look like a 2nd grader wrote "Happy Birthday" on top with gel icing. I was happily following along Julia Child making croissants one day (the original TV show) and then realized it took about 14 hours with the refrigeration and rolling, etc. And the sugar on a broomstick! That was classic!

My thing was cookies. When I was a kid, the neighbor lady down the hall took me under her wing, and I sat in her kitchen, happily cutting up jelly candies or dates ("dip the shears in water first"). She gave me my very own first cook book, called, "The Cookie Book."

Later, when we moved away, I was alone a lot, as our house was on the other side of town across the lake. I made Bon Bon cookies, which were some kind of sugar cookie dough, wrapped around the filling of your choice: walnuts, chocolate chips, etc. After baking, they were drizzled with pastel colored icing. I would make these, then set myself up with some instant Nestea on the porch, a chaise lounge, and a Harlequin romance, daintily nibbling my homemade Bon Bon cookies. That was the best!

IDK, more power to people if they want to make things out of food. I would go nuts trying to make that Jello mold thing, but will happily make a cheesecake or an apple cake with a stick of butter (the Marie-Helene recipe). But I am taking notes here, the bacon cups sound wicked good!
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 5:19 PM on June 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


I would totally make the wordy marshmallows but use Pixy Stix for the straws.
posted by maggieb at 5:40 PM on June 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


15 minutes* + 2 ingredients:

Heston Blumenthal's Chocolate Mousse

1) Melt chocolate
2) Add water
3) Whisk

I've made it a bunch of times and just when you think it's never going to work it starts to come together.

*Maybe 10, if you're strong.
posted by Room 641-A at 5:44 PM on June 22, 2013 [14 favorites]


Come to think of it, those piñata cookies don't really need to be rainbows because the novelty works even if they're solid colors. Might even be better if there's an easy way to simulate the tissue paper fringe on a real piñata.

Oooh, I like this idea. A plain sugar cookie filled with candies, then decorated with stripes of icing and colored sugar/sprinkles would be much easier and almost as pretty.


Dyed coconut shavings held on with icing might also do the trick.
posted by chrisulonic at 5:45 PM on June 22, 2013 [4 favorites]


I just realized the the amount of rainbow jello made in my house growing up (a lot) may correlate to the number of gay sons (both of them).

My mom is very loving and accepting, but I still don't think I will tell her this joke. My brother, however, is sure I'm right.


I have a son going through puberty now. I've got half a mind to test this theory, because that jello was the most awesome thing on the page.
posted by Devils Rancher at 5:55 PM on June 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


using that much blue or purple dye

Having served these for my two year old's birthday, I can confirm the allegation.

In retrospect, I might as well have dyed the cupcake batter blue too.
posted by ambrosia at 5:59 PM on June 22, 2013 [3 favorites]


Dyed coconut shavings held on with icing might also do the trick.

Brilliant!
posted by Room 641-A at 6:04 PM on June 22, 2013


Stripy jelly is super easy to do, and everyone goes "Oooh!" when they see it.
posted by Kaleidoscope at 6:09 PM on June 22, 2013


Okay, here is what I don't understand: why would you spend all this time printing out paper bits and pieces (as with the cupcakes) and assembling all this stuff and buying special paper and so on and then use nasty box cake and brownie mix? I get it, predictability of results, but I don't understand why someone wants to make something that will look so cute (if you're into that kind of thing - wouldn't be a great thing for my dad, for instance) and yet taste so blah. And that's also what I don't understand about half these food-coloring-intense things too - I made red-and-black cake for a friend (because nothing says anarchism like tiny tubes of chemical food coloring!!!) and the cake and frosting tasted like food coloring. And that was home made cake! Every colorful sandwich bread I've ever tasted has been poor-quality when considered as bread. (Although the homemade cake-pops made by a skilled friend that did not use bought frosting and cake mix were really good.)

I love to cook, even fiddly fussy things - so I totally support people even in making box mix cake pops and gummy fondant-coated stuff and so on just because it's fun - but it is confusing to me when folks want to spend lots of time making something look right but it will all get eaten and be gone and it won't taste especially distinguished.
posted by Frowner at 6:27 PM on June 22, 2013 [7 favorites]


I, weirdly enough, kind of like boxed cake mixes. And other varieties of boring white cake. The thing that distinguishes a white cake is the filling (if there is any) and the icing. But I think a lot of people are more visual artists than taste artists, if that makes sense-- they're making a kind of art, even if it's a kind of art that goes away because people eat it.
posted by NoraReed at 6:52 PM on June 22, 2013


I sent this link to my sixteen-year-old niece, Peaches Swan, who is already a near professional-level cake decorator. As I told her, I may not want to take the time to make these things, but if she makes them I'll definitely have time to admire them. And eat them.;-)
posted by orange swan at 6:57 PM on June 22, 2013


I am one of the suckers who does elaborate edible projects, in my case made all the more absurdly complicated because I tend to make them up as I go along. The MeFi 10th DC party cake (a big 4-layer chocolate mousse cake) took about 10 hours in preparation (probably more for the decoration... had no idea what I was doing!). Eaten up in like half an hour.

And then there were the strawberry rum cupcakes that involved improvising a strawberry mousse and stuffing and decorating each little cake. That was about 7 hours. Then I redid it so I could write down what I did because someone wanted a recipe.

And then there was the Alton Brown Coconut Cake for Crazed Obsessive Coconut Cake Fanciers, which took two weeks if you include the part where I made my own coconut extract, and even without that part it took like 4 hours to prepare the coconut parts. In the end I messed up the consistency of the 7-minute frosting but people claimed it was still edible.

I keep eyeing the checkerboard cake. It's actually far less elaborate than I would want to make it.
posted by zennie at 7:11 PM on June 22, 2013 [5 favorites]


I had some of that rainbow bread once. In my head I knew it tasted like regular bread but I felt weird eating it. Kind of like that that blue and purple ketchup they made a while back.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 8:04 PM on June 22, 2013


Having just finished doing monster loads of dishes after last night's solstice dinner, I'm now trying to work out if there's a way I can just never eat again so I don't have to clean up anymore. I shudder to think at the clean-up involved with the rainbow cakes. And have slight envy at how much room people must have in their kitchens to be able to do that kind of thing.
posted by Athanassiel at 8:13 PM on June 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


Put me down as another one who loves to spend time making and baking delights. Although the taste is really important to me too.

Cake Pops can taste good if you bake a nice cake before hand to use - and since they are just becoming popular here (Far North Queensland) it was hilarious spinning out my son's classmates by handing them out on his Birthday.

I was pretty happy with his Spiderman cake but need to work more on my piping skills before I attempt that super frilly cake!
posted by gomichild at 8:33 PM on June 22, 2013


You can do a checkerboard cake in an afternoon. Here's the first set of clear instructions with pictures that I found on my google. Your google may vary.

A huge thing in the mommy superiority wars right now is "surprise inside" cakes like these.

Almost none of the stuff on the list they showed was seriously outrageous as far as time sinks go. And yes, I'll admit, I'm going to have to try and make at least 5 of the things on the list.
posted by dejah420 at 8:51 PM on June 22, 2013 [4 favorites]


Oh my God. I've actually made 3 of these.
posted by cherrybounce at 9:27 PM on June 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


jacquilynne: "There's a trick to a lot of them, but they don't seem to involve much more than 'divide up your batter and add a few different colors of food coloring before recombining in the pan in some way'"

The trick is usually "use gel food coloring or your rainbow food will look like someone pooped it." This is typically not mentioned in the recipe.

That shit stains when a toddler wipes their mouth on your khakis. Also, if you use enough food coloring to get those bright, vibrant colors, your child will be pooping green for three days.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 10:16 PM on June 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


That rainbow jello looks delicious and I want to make it right now.

And on the topic of cakes, let me just say that it is very hard having children and not being able to do the crazy shit with fondant that every other parent is apparently able to do these days. My birthday cakes are like, here, there are some plastic dinosaurs on top, it's dinosaur-themed! Eat up!
posted by gerstle at 10:44 PM on June 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


"Mommy superiority wars" just became my new favorite term.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 11:05 PM on June 22, 2013 [4 favorites]


I do not understand the use of fondant on food. It's great for architectural features, but sweet jesus it tastes like modeling clay.
posted by Emperor SnooKloze at 11:06 PM on June 22, 2013 [8 favorites]


I like this rubik's cake recipe too: each slice should come with different squares.
posted by motdiem2 at 11:52 PM on June 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


People. Why are you using food colouring in that jelly ring when there is perfectly serviceable fruit liquours that will do the job just fine?

/doesnotoftencaterforchildren
posted by Jilder at 11:55 PM on June 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


The worst part is when you've finished cooking and eating, and just finished cleaning up your huge mess like it was a crime scene. There is no trace that you actually did a goddamn thing.

Come back in twelve hours; if only that were true!

Sorry, that was just awful...but here I go clicking "Post Comment"...
posted by Edgewise at 12:17 AM on June 23, 2013


I've made both the rainbow jello-say sans alcohol-and an ombré cake in the last few months for my daughters' birthdays. The jello is incredibly easy-3 minutes of stirring, done by my 7 year old-every 30 minutes, then pour. The ombré cake took more time and effort-though thy was largely because I made the cake from scratch and didn't have enough cake pans. But both were gorgeous, and made absolutely memorable birthdays for my kids. Some parents coach soccer or keep a really clean house-I like to cook. Whatever rings your bells, dude.
posted by purenitrous at 8:45 AM on June 23, 2013


I love complicated baking projects! There is something satisfying about a delicious baked good you spent all day making. I even like the clean kitchen after. One day I will make croquembouche.

I made my own rainbow layer wedding cake. (I hope a self-link to my defunct blog is ok.)
posted by apricot at 11:56 AM on June 23, 2013 [9 favorites]


Wow, apricot. That's gorgeous.
posted by donajo at 12:10 PM on June 23, 2013


It really is lovely, apricot! I love the colors: bright and rich without being super-saturated.
posted by Elsa at 4:48 PM on June 23, 2013


My grandad was all about the unnecessarily elaborate desserts for a while, but stopped after deciding his friends were insufficiently appreciative of his creations.
posted by hoyland at 5:01 PM on June 23, 2013


The only disconcerting thing about the rainbow jello is that it communicates the shape of the Bundt cake mold too faithfully, taking it from nicely rounded and floral to terrifyingly sharp and Gothic. It looks like medieval torture food.
posted by invitapriore at 6:22 PM on June 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Those damn pinata cookies. I feel like you could shave down the number of steps by just using frosting to glue the butt and head ends on to a tube shape with candy in the middle. What you lose in 3D modeling, you gain in time. And skip dyeing the dough, just use airbrush cake colors. Mask off with a flat edge if you're fancy. Perhaps I am approaching this wrong, though.
posted by blnkfrnk at 8:29 PM on June 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


My grandad was all about the unnecessarily elaborate desserts for a while, but stopped after deciding his friends were insufficiently appreciative of his creations.

As is probably indicative of a family nature for impatience, my grandfather went through a candymaking phase for a while, but gave up when he failed to ever achieve the soft ball stage.

The fudge made a wonderful topping for ice cream, though. And, frankly, I'm proud to be from a family that can't be arsed with fussy desserts.

Though I really wish I had some damn cake right now.
posted by Sara C. at 9:10 PM on June 23, 2013


I *really* want to try making a rainbow cake, but I'm not sure what occasion warrants four hours or so of baking.
posted by mippy at 4:34 AM on June 24, 2013


I love the idea of the rainbow spaghetti/linguine but you put some red sauce on it and it's all gonna turn reddish.
posted by IndigoRain at 12:57 PM on June 24, 2013


I think the beauty of the rainbow spaghetti is that little kids probably prefer plain buttered noodles, anyway.
posted by Sara C. at 5:31 PM on June 24, 2013


I loved buttered noodles. And now that my tastes have matured I enjoy pasta in olive oil.
posted by bleep at 7:57 PM on June 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


...gave up when he failed to ever achieve the soft ball stage.

He shouldn't have worried. That happens to all men sometime.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 8:01 PM on June 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


Modern Art Desserts: Recipes for Cakes, Cookies, Confections, and Frozen Treats Based on Iconic Works of Art
posted by Room 641-A at 3:54 PM on July 2, 2013


Ha. I was at a Cake Day event this weekend, where someone did the Mondrian cake that's on the cover of that book.

On the whole, it was the kind of event many of you would approve of -- cakes, while impressive, relied heavily on flavor, rather than appearance related gimmicks. The Mondrian cake was the exception to that, but it was approached more as a fun technical challenge.
posted by jacquilynne at 5:03 PM on July 2, 2013


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