wild limb studios, pt 3: black forest cake

You guys. There's a good chance that I've never been more excited about debuting a cake.

Let me just let you into a little secret: the prep day for this shoot was a glorious shit show. Everything that could have gone wrong, did. I forgot my cooking spray and my parchment paper. Every single one of my cake layers broke. My smith island fudge icing separated and never came back together. My thermometer screen blacked out from excess heat while making my buttercream. I sliced my finger good and clean and deep halfway through icing cakes (don't worry, that's all just food dye, I swear). And then I hauled these babies back and forth across Baltimore probably seventeen times.

But then, somehow, everything just smoothed over. The chaos ended. The shoot was fun and successful and no cakes were harmed until we cut into them and started devouring. And, while I expected to be royally pissed off the whole day because none of my cake kids cooperated, I was actually pleased with how they turned out. And even excited, when it came to this cake. Like, really excited. 

I've been eyeing this style of icing for months, never quite confident enough to try it. But holy freaking cow, I love it. Seriously, if you dig this at all, next time you need a cake from me, just tell me your preferred color(s) and let me run with it. Promise you'll be happy. And the cake- I've wanted to make this for ages, but haven't for the same above reason. I'll alter a few things for the next go, but it was real good start. Traditionally, it's a chocolate cake filled with cherries that have been soaked in cherry liquor, and iced with whipped cream. I used a vanilla buttercream instead- I mean butter or no butter, is that even a question? And brandy was my choice of liquor because does any liquor store in the entire United States even sell Kirsch anymore?! Help a friend out if you see it. 

So, here she is: the black forest cake, Ellyn-style. Sometimes things suck, and sometimes they get turned around, and sometimes you can be happy when you didn't think it was possible. Thanks for the analogy, little cake.

Mega thank-yous to Abby & Brendan of Wild Limb Studios. See their personal work on Instagram: @wildlimb & @idlehourbaltimore.

wild limb studios, pt 1: smith island cake

I got to do a photo shoot this week! A cake shoot. My cakes got shot. It was with a camera, but the whole time I couldn't help but imagine how fun it would be to send a flying bullet through them and watch crumbs and fruit and chocolate explode everywhere. Maybe next time.

My sis and her hon operate a newly-renovated warehouse studio in the heart of Baltimore, called Wild Limb Studios. I helped with a bit of painting; they graced me with photography. They're wonderful people with lots of talent, out to help the corporate and the creative frame their craft accurately and beautifully. Hit 'em up (see below). We had a great day together, snapping and drooling and tasting little by little. That's the benefit of a food shoot, I suppose. Instant gratification. 

I'm featuring four individual cakes, some with more attitude than others (admittedly, they all were incredibly stubborn in the baking process). The first, and certainly most finicky, is the Maryland classic: Smith Island Cake. It's 8-12 individually baked layers of vanilla cake, sandwiched by and coated with a cooked fudge icing. I've always wanted to make it, though I've never actually eaten it before. It's cozy and decadent and nostalgic for an age of cake that boasts no fancy ingredients or methods. Rather, just time and care and a whole lotta love... And maybe some curses along the way. But what's a good cake without that, eh?

Mega thank-yous to Abby & Brendan of Wild Limb Studios. See their personal work on Instagram: @wildlimb & @idlehourbaltimore. And a huge thanks to Suz for her artist eye, excellent tasting skills, and constant encouragement.