Glassist’s birthday cake: A recipe

>, studio practice, tools & supplies>Glassist’s birthday cake: A recipe

Serves 12… if you can find the plates

  1. Blow the dust off your old recipe box and pull out that superb three-years-in-development recipe for your award-winning Triple-Chocoholic cake. No recipe. Recall the time you were late for the hotshop, needed a couple of index cards to line up colored powder on the marver like cocaine on a mirror, and the recipe box was right by the door…
  2. Find new recipe.
  3. Prepare three (3) round cake pans uhm, who’s got my third cake pan? Discover cake pan down in coldworking shop, currently holding water when carving small pieces of glass. Briefly debate cleaning out all the swarf…
  4. Prepare TWO (2) round cake pans by lightly greasing them withwhere the heck is the Crisco? Remember that Crisco, combined with beeswax, made an excellent corrective goo for recasting that pate de verre… head to the store for more Crisco.
  5. Lightly grease the cake pans and take two sheets of parchment paperwhich unfortunately was a good substitute for heavy-duty tracing paper. Back to store for more parchment paper, then cut and fit rounds of parchment paper into the bottom of each cake pan.
  6. Place mixer on counter. No bowl. Sorry, but a KitchenAid mixing bowl is perfect for deep slumps, which is why the mixing bowl is covered with kilnwash and BN spray. Head for the kitchen store, buy another mixing bowl.
  7. Measure dry ingredients into sifteruh, when last seen, measuring cups, measuring spoons, and sifter were full of investment mixtures in the studio…
  8. Forget measuring, WEIGH out dry ingredients and…sigh. Realize you can’t possibly get that much plaster and glass powder off your digital scale… back to store for measuring cups, spoons, sifter, and a new digital scale.
  9. Measure and sift dry ingredients into a bowl…No, I don’t know what bowl, whatever bowl isn’t full of glass, slip, investment, wax, or rust! …head back to store for a cheap set of mixing bowls.
  10. Measure and sift dry ingredients into a bowl. Cream together butter, sugar and eggs, gradually adding dry ingredients until smooth and creamy. Beat on high for 10 minutes.
  11. Turn out batter into cake pans with a spatula…I am NOT going back to the store for a lousy @$@#) spatula!
  12. Did you know that your hand makes an excellent spatula, once you get the hang of it?
  13. Bake at 350 degrees (F) for 50 minutes, or until you can poke a toothpick…grrrrrr…or until you can poke your FINGER into the cake and watch it spring back (the cake, not the finger).
  14. Turn cakes out onto unused stainless steel potmelt racks. While they’re cooling, prepare white chocolate ganache filling.
  15. Split cakes in half and put the first half on a cardboard cake round—drat—DINNER PLATE, and set on a rotating cake decorator’s stand—gnash!—the COUNTER. Using a decorator’s spatulaaw, c’mAAAAAAAAAnBUTTER KNIFE, frost the top of the first half-layer with ganache. Set the second half on top, frost it and repeat until all six—sigh–FOUR layers of the cake are stacked and filled. Do not frost the top.
  16. While debating whether to replace the missing cardboard cake pans, rotating cake decorator’s stand and decorator’s spatulas—I mean, this is costing a lot of money that could be spent on glassprepare fudge frosting and let it cool. Frost the sides and top of the cake.
  17. Now comes the fun part. Get out your cake decorator’s set and…I give up.
  18. Cover cake with fresh flowers or leaves (or grass clippings, for all I care) and stick whatever candles didn’t go into the wax pot on top.

Then grab those very useful cake pans, head back down to the studio, and get some real work done.



  1. KaCe February 15, 2012 at 2:18 am - Reply

    Loved the read. I “know” your pain. My unique twist on the above discussion is to add that I often “forget” just where, when, how I used something that lived in the kitchen for 25 plus years, and only recently was used for some urgent need, but I don’t remember just where or what that need was: thus I have a hard time remembering where the item is. Love your comments on the WarmGlass Board and occasionally read your blog. I need to read it more, but find I would spend all my time on the computer and very little in the studio… wait, that’s what I’m doing now. I hope someday to meet you. I really like your writing; common sense advise; sense of humor.

  2. Janet October 13, 2009 at 10:48 am - Reply

    that was a fun and refreshing read Cynthia … so true…. for thanksgiving dinner I went to use a stainless steel bowl I have had for 30yrs… and it’s all dented and grubby looking so… I think I have two really nice brand new, never used sets of SS bowls in the studio that are just to steep for molds…. so I did the opposite…. changed the crabby stuff for the new… turns out those tall sided bowls are just the thing for my little kitchen thanks for the smile Janet

  3. cynthia April 28, 2008 at 12:25 pm - Reply

    Yup. Ex was a photographer and I did the tray swishing while he exposed the next frame. We were very careful about that.

    In my house, kitchen to studio is a one-way trip. The problem is that there seem to be so MANY trips…

  4. confusionart April 28, 2008 at 12:21 pm - Reply

    As a youth learning proper darkroom procedures my dad would always say never use food vessels in the darkroom. He said someday when you grabbed a drink from that big glass and found it was full of fixative you would be really sorry you did not listen to him.


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