Friday, November 12, 2010

PhD Proposal Cake

Pardon my pink roses, I have lot of them kicking around after that huge black and white wedding cake that I made for my last competition... 

Anyway, today I gave my PhD proposal presentation.  For those of you unfamiliar, this is where you present your current results and research plan to your PhD committee, and they get to have some input as to what you will do for your dissertation.  Any time you present (your masters thesis, proposal, dissertation), it is customary to have food for your audience and your committee.  Naturally, I wanted to bring a cake.

I decided to try the pumpkin cake with burnt orange silk meringue cream from Rose's Heavenly Cakes.  Rose also wrote The Cake Bible, both of which are very popular recipe sources.  Her recipes are known for being delicious if sometimes a little complicated, requiring many steps and some hard to find ingredients.  I followed her pumpkin cake recipe exactly; fortunately I managed to find Walnut Oil at a local organic food store.

Rose's Pumpkin Cake

Instead of following Rose's recipe for the burnt orange silk meringue buttercream, I made my own version.  Her recipe requires 3 distinct steps and seemed like a lot of work.  So I made a more basic italian meringue base, then added heavy cream, orange concentrate, orange zest, and grand marnier.  This icing turned out awesome.  The down side-- it didn't crust.  It would be hard to work with as a decorator.

After icing the cake smooth, I topped it with some of my left over gum past flowers for a quick touch of class. :) 

Rose describes this cake as 'the best non-chocolate cake'.  Many people seemed to agree with this; the cake was delicious and I really loved the buttercream.  Still, for me, there's something about chocolate cake; nothing else seems to quite measure up.

My proposal went very well-- as well as I could have hoped for.  And most of the cake got eaten.  :)

As a reward, I am spending the weekend in another gum paste class with Nic Lodge.  I'll have some new holiday flowers and foliage to show you on Sunday!

Have a great weekend.


  1. Congrats on finishing the proposal, I hope to be doing that in January. And as usual, your cake looks awesome and delicious.

  2. Congrats! So when did you propose to finish the dissertation?! That's the important part, right? ;)

  3. Thanks! I'm shooting for spring 2012 but now that I've enumerated my tasks I'm worried that might be ambitious... :)

  4. Congratulations, Roxanne! Keep up the good work!

  5. Congratulations Roxanne your cake looks amazing! You are really very talented and I look forward to your future cake decorations.I came across your site from the foodieblogroll and I'd love to guide Foodista readers to your site. I hope you could add this Foodista widget at the end of this post so we could add you in our list of food bloggers who blogged about cake decorating techniques, Thanks!

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