behind the scenes with HHI: part 2, how not to make whipped cream

I like to think of myself as a complex person with a wide-range of interests, but it’s all too much for 21 minutes of reality TV to attempt to show all of my many, glittering facets. Instead, viewers will get two very basic views of me:

– Photographer Kirstin
– Baker/Food-blogger Kirstin

(both of which can be combined into unemployed/housewife Kirstin, because both film crews seemed quite uninterested to hear about any contribution of mine to the media company.)

In Bishkek, this meant I carried my camera with me in all scenes, periodically pausing to snap a shot of something compelling like flowers or a gold Lada.

In DC, I baked a cake, photographed the cake, and ate the cake on camera.

One of the producers planned the scene to simply consist of me pouring flour into a stand mixer and pulling a store-bought cake out of an oven, insisting that “TV magic” will take care of the rest. Fed up with such faux-reality, I woke up the morning of the shoot and baked a chocolate cake, bought some heavy cream, and devised my own idea for my domestic-goddess scene; making whipped cream on camera, decorating a piece of cake with the freshly-whipped cream and some strawberries, and photographing it for my blog (which, as you all know, barely focuses on baking anymore).

Genius, right? Except, I wasn’t paying attention to the cream as it whipped. So it kept whipping. And it whipped too long.

What happens to heavy cream when you whip it past the whipped cream stage? The fat globules in the cream are slammed against each other with so much force that they stick together, separating from the liquid and creating a magical yellow substance known as butter.

I made butter on camera. Awesome! Except that I couldn’t spread butter on my cake, plus I had already added obscene amounts of sugar to it, anticipating a sweet, fluffy topping.

Here comes the TV magic and faux reality I was trying to avoid. Swap out the butter for a cup of vanilla yogurt, pretend it’s frosting, try really hard not to show disappointment on my face while eating a slice of chocolate cake covered in yogurt on camera, and pray that scene just gets cut in the end.

I ended up having to eat the whole slice of cake on camera as the director kept telling me to act more and more enthusiastic about my last baking adventure in the states. (As part of Baker Kirstin’s story, she’s extremely concerned about how she’ll be able to continue her domestic activities in Kyrgyzstan. I mean, do they even have chocolate chips over there?)

At least it was good cake (recipe via Smitten Kitchen) although the rest was happily consumed without yogurt.

3 replies on “behind the scenes with HHI: part 2, how not to make whipped cream”

  1. You used a chocolate cake recipe that WASN’T your mother-in-law’s chocolate cake recipe? That is family blasphemy!

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