Friday, December 10, 2010

Sam the Snowman Cake . . . from Rudolph!

One must have a mind of winter
To regard the frost and the boughs
Of the pine trees crusted with snow . . .

-- from The Snowman, a poem by Wallace Stevens
Before we get too much further into the Christmas season, I wanted to be sure and share this with you. It's my attempt at replicating, in cake form, the snowman from that favorite old TV special made in 1964, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. I created it as my final-exam project for my Theme Cakes class, which ended in November. Since making this cake, I've come to the conclusion that just about every American under 75 must be a big fan of Sam the Snowman, the show's chubby narrator.

He's a pretty distinctive fellow, as far as snowmen go. Both wise and witty, he's possessed of a philosophical outlook not common to your typical garden-variety snowman. When he tells us to, "Pull up an iceberg and lend an ear," we're inclined to do just that. And isn't there something especially appealing about a dapper snowman who sounds just like Burl Ives?

I'm not going to confess exactly how long it took me to work on this cake, all in all, nor how much  fretting I did in preparation for assembling it. Needless to say, the process was time consuming for me and fraught with potential pitfalls. That's because this kind of cake--one requiring quite a bit of advance planning, not to mention structural support and anchoring--is still pretty new for me. I was more relieved than I can convey when the finishing touches were completed on the last day of class.

You know how it is when you work on something that requires you to immerse yourself in its every detail? You become acutely aware of the finished product's imperfections and those are what you tend to focus on. That's how I felt, initially at least, when this cake was done and largely why I was stunned when my teacher and fellow students liked it so much.

Chef Lois, my teacher, asked me if she could keep the cake to display it at a couple of upcoming culinary-school sponsored events. I was pretty flattered by this. She suggested that I first take it home to show to my husband and kids (who'd been hearing me fuss about it for at least a couple of weeks) and then bring it back to school. So that's what I did.

Thankfully, it was a very successful project all in all, and Sam turned out to be a pretty fun character to try and depict in cake. For those of you who want to know how this cake was created, click here for the gory details. For those of you who become nauseous or disoriented at the mere thought of making something like this, you have my sympathy. I'll understand completely if you need to stop reading right now. Yes, you may be excused. Go bake some cookies instead . . . or get a start on wrapping those presents!

(If you'd like to comment on this post, or to read any existing comments, please click on the purple COMMENTS below!)


Allison said...

Simply amazing! I bet it was such a feeilng of accomplishment to complete this stunning cake.

Jane said...

Thanks, Allison! Yes, ultimately I must admit I was pretty pleased with it. But I'm so glad it's done!
:) Jane

The Happy Whisk said...

Great job. Looks fantastic.

HanaĆ¢ said...

Wow, that's amazing. I just read the details too. I can certainly sympathize with you. It's always nerve racking when you're working on it and then there's this big sigh of relief when it's done (and I haven't done nearly the sophisticated stuff you've done). So my hats off to you :o) Have a great weekend!

Paula said...

You knocked this out of the park. It is one of the cutest, if not the cutest Christmas cake I've ever seen. No wonder your teacher wants to display it. You must be very proud and rightly so! Congratulations.

p.s. Is it wrong that I think of Burl Ives when I look at this cake?

Paula said...

I meant to ask, is is wrong that I see Burl Ives when I look at your cake? You did such a fantastic job on replicating his *character* in the movie and I think it is neat that animators always seem to make sure that their characters have some features of the stars doing the voice-overs. said...

Wow this is just unreal.
I mean, it must it took you lots of time, and patience. Did you guys started eating it? with all that work invested on it do you feel sad digging your teeth into it? how long is it going to take to eat? :-)

I just love it, won't ask for the recipe though :-)

Jane said...

Hi Happy Whisk,
Thanks very much! Glad you stopped by.

Hi there Hanaa,
I knew you'd understand! :)
You have a great weekend too. What are you going to be baking, I wonder? :) Jane

Hey there Paula,
I agree with you. I couldn't look at that cake either without thinking of Burl Ives! I know what you mean abou the way animators incorporate qualities of the people who do the voices. It's amazing sometimes!
:) Thanks for such nice comments,

Hi Miriam (EatGood4Life),
Well, we didn't ever cut it or eat it because it just ended up being displayed item at school. And, because of that, it wasn't consistently refrigerated. That was okay with me, though, because my family was kind of caked out. Every week I'd been bringing decorated cake home from that class and that kind of cake just isn't something you want to have hanging around your house all the time. So big and so sugary!
:) Jane

HanaĆ¢ said...

Baking Almond-Cranberry biscotti and probably making & freezing dough for Molasses Spice Cookies from Baking: from my home to yours. You?

Anonymous said...

This cake is intense! You beat out cake-boss!!

Jemima said...

Gosh, he is wonderful, he looks just like the snowman from Elf :-D

Lisa said...

That is amazing Jane!!

Serafina said...

Happy holidays to everyone!

Unknown said...

Wow! That's gorgeous!! This class you've been attending sure seems awesome :)

Sweet And Crumby said...

I am sooooo glad you stopped by my blog and left a comment because I would haver found yours. I feel like we are two very like souls or at least bakers because so many things you have on your blog are things that are my faves or are dying to try! This cake is truly amazing! Happy almost TGIF!---Geni