Peppermint Meringue Cake, Part IV
Ok, so I decided day three earned two posts. Putting it together is really the hardest part. And the most tiring. I enlisted a photographer to help me, since I was a little preoccupied with the actual building part (thanks dad!).
So, the frosting should be stiff enough to mostly hold its shape, but still a tiny bit on the drippy side when you start working with it. At least, that seems to be how it works best for me. It does harden as you go, especially when you get to the end and there isn't much left, so you don't want to start with it too solid. When it solidifies, it's basically like solid fudge. Not fun to spread. At all.
So, I couldn't find a platter for the cake. So I took the bottom of a box, cut it out and covered it with aluminum foil. Voila, cake platter. And then I collected my pieces so I'd be ready for this adventure.
From there on out, the directions actually do a really good job of stepping through it.
The meringue isn't even that hard to frost -- I always thought it would be.
Also, the strips of aluminum foil on the plate do help some . . . sorta. I would suggest using them, but realize you're still going to have to wipe up some frosting. Or a lot. Probably a lot.
The cake looks pretty soggy by the time you add syrup to it, but it wasn't too soggy last year when we ate it, so I went with it.
Oh, and after all my expounding on meringue and how it doesn't crack when you let it cool in the oven, one of mine did crack while it was in waiting to be put in the cake.
The nice thing is that they are just being frosted as layers, so it doesn't matter all that much! Hooray for easily covered baking catastrophes.
This is all going to be inside too, so it can be pretty rough.
The last meringue even cracked while I was frosting it. No big deal.
It kind of looks like a giant double decker s'more to me when all the layers are together. Mmmm, homemade marshmallows. Oh wait, wrong food.
Then comes the hardest part: frosting the sides. I think this is the hardest part. It takes some patience and perseverance. The crannies created by the meringue and the cake kind of eat frosting. I haven't run out either time, but still, it seems like you're putting an awful lot on the sides. Nom nom nom.
Once the frosting starts to harden, it gets even more difficult. But it's ok, it's going to look kind of rough. It's the nature of the thing. The mints on top take all the attention anyway.
Contrary to the directions, I actually get it completely covered and use up all the frosting (besides the bag set aside) before I refrigerate it. I think it's easier to spread it nicely and get the frosting to stick (especially on the sides) when it's all the same temperature and not half hardened.
It looks like a log. Not so attractive, in my opinion.
Then comes the fun job of cleaning out the pot of frosting. Yum. But oh so rich. Then it's not quite as appetizing anymore. I guess there can be too much of a good thing.
Finally, after refrigerating for a bit, I used my lazy pastry bag (a.k.a. a quart sized ziplock bag with one corner cut just enough for the tip to stick out and then taped at the hole to reinforce it and keep the tip from popping out) and made little stars to stick the halved mints in.
Then came "falling over patrol" (as I like to call it), but the frosting is pretty stiff, so not many of the mints do end up falling over. It was only a few minutes before I could lightly cover it and refrigerate it. Then, of course, there's still cleaning up to do. But I guess that's the consequences of making such an involved recipe.
Phew. I'm tired. Now, all that's left is garnishing and eating. But not now. I think I'll take a break first. Like until tomorrow. Enough baking for today. (I kind of can't believe I just said that.)