Saturday, 27 October 2018

USA Exchange - Day 9 - Last full day

So this will be my penultimate post as when I get home I will have had a chance to reflect on the trip and want to write up my new experiences and also the things that I have taken from the trip.

Today was Rhett's birthday, but we all needed a well-deserved rest after a full on couple of days this week. So we relaxed for the morning and just caught up with some paperwork that needed doing desperately.

Being a birthday wouldn't be the same if I wasn't making a cake, so I decided that this was a sensible
thing to do especially as they had experienced one of my cakes for Hattie when they were over in June. Now as any half serious cake maker will tell you, making a cake in a different kitchen can always be a little bit more challenging. I think I underestimated the challenge as my recipe that I always use has everything measured in grams and in the US they use cups to measure things. Hmm, not a good start I thought so I grabbed one of Shelley's recipes and set about making that one with the cups. As you can see from the picture they are all in fractions, so I thought I can manage this. Well, it all started off really well, I got all of the ingredients and then was presented with a mixer that Shelley's mum had used.
Still totally undeterred I carried on. At this point I should have taken stock and realised that I was doing something with a completely different recipe, using a mixer and oven that I had never used before measuring ingredients in a way I had never done before either! All the mixture came together and was looking and tasting great so into the tins it went. Oh, and the tins were covered with spray oil.

Thirty minutes later the oven pings and the cakes come out looking done. I was now feeling smug
about my creation. All I had left to do was to make some buttercream and spread it with the jam to finish the cake. That's when it all started to go wrong. The buttercream wasn't thickening up so I put it in the fridge and took the cakes out of the tins to finish cooling. This was when it all went wrong. The cake didn't come out of the tin quite as expected which I thought ok I will cover that one up with the filling and be more careful with the other one. Slightly more successful in getting the second one out but still looking a bit of a mess. I left them both on plates to cool whilst I went back to the buttercream which by now was slightly thicker than it was before but still had the constancy of milk!

By this time I knew that this wasn't going to be the best looking cake in the world but then I tried to construct the cake. The worse of the two layers was covered with jam and then the runny buttercream, ready for the other layer to go on the top, which by now had welded itself to the plate and when I flipped it over it was just as bad as the other one. The final straw cake when trying to stick the candles in the top it just started to self-destruct but we managed to keep it together long enough for Rhett to blow out the candles!

This has to be the first time that I have had a bowl of cake rather than a slice. Despite all of these issues it tasted so light and delicious that we all went back for more! The moral of this story is don't make cakes in a different country where everything is different!

The last part of the day was another trip up to St Louis. This time to go to the Symphony to hear Chris Botti play the trumpet. This was an amazing show with so many talented musicians in an incredible
venue. The mixture of styles and additional guest made the evening magnificent.

One last stop of the day in Bailey's Chocolate bar where they serve chocolate martini's and cocktails and I ask to have something slightly different to the menu. The result was an incredibly alcoholic cocktail that was both totally delicious and also burning at the same time!

This evening was a real treat and would not have been possible without some local knowledge of the area. Whilst most people travel to one of the coasts when they visit the USA I am really keen to come back to Missouri and spend some more time finding more of these hidden gems in this amazingly vast country.

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