Yesterday, I completed a test bake of my “baked book” – an Emily Dickinson cake with a small accordion-fold-style book inside containing the recipe and her poems. I was worried it would fail miserably and I would have to restart my idea from scratch. . . but it turned out to be a success! What a relief…
Step One was purchasing supplies. This went relatively easy at the local Giant, where I bought tremendous amounts of flour, sugar, butter, and eggs. Coming in under budget (half of what I expected) was the first sign that things were looking up. I consolidated these supplies with what I already own and then turned my attention to the book design.
Everything seemed fine in Indesign after I physically cut out a sample of what I wanted to make and laid it out. I found the copyright dates for the poems and choose some fonts that looked interesting together. Dante has become a go-to-font for me with small text. Then I realized I needed the cover to be on the opposite side of the paper, and I had completely messed up the layout in the PDF. After a quick adjustment, and testing how to print duplex with an accordion fold, I corrected my error.
What I learned from baking: I should probably invest into an electric mixer. It takes a while to whip the butter, and my house is cold – so it tends to solidify easily. The sugar didn’t incorporate well into the batter, but I thought it’s kinda nice with the chucks of coconut. Oh yes! The cake’s delicious. It’s not crazy sweet, and the crust is my favorite part (which is strange). It takes a little less than 1 hour at 325F for one cake.
The insert for the book was trial-and-error. I started small and make it larger until the book fit perfectly. I think I’m going to avoid gluing the book into the cake. It stays pretty well inside and the colophon looks nice as the “back cover” so you know when to stop.
Overall, I think it went better than I expected. I won’t have to make too many adjustments to the final product. I just need some help with baking in bulk and cutting straight.