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Posts by stormrider

I think the OP is just really stressed right now. Being in similar "everything in my life is in chaos" stress myself, I can relate to her sensitivity. I am sure she is thankful for all of the great advice she's gotten. I know personally I take too many things to heart when I shouldn't. We're all human after all, none perfect, but each special in their own way. Just needed to share that.
Whenever I do a cake I make several lists (I use an excel spreadsheet). It helps me stay organized and keeps me from forgetting anything. Checklist 1 is ingredients for cakes, frostings, fillings, decorations and display (cake drum, plate, box for transport, etc.). I also include pan sizes and how much batter, frosting, filling, fondant I will need for each layer. This helps me know how much of each ingredient I'll need in case I have to stock up before I start...
Just some random thoughts...Since you don't go to work with him every day maybe you could ask him for a little more input on what he's picturing, what he and his co-workers do specifically every day. Without doing homer simpson, you could do a control desk with lots of gauges. I thought of the atom part as well - is there a diagram of an atomic reaction you could replicate? Maybe there's some kind of inside joke about what they do there that, or what it's like working...
Here's a link to what's called a Baker's Percentage. It explains how to use ratios to get the proper percentage of each ingredient and calculate multiple batches of the same recipe: believe Leah_s was the one who originally referenced the term bakers' percentage.
You could also melt hard candies or lollipops on a silpat and then shatter it once it hardens.
I like both the ideas of a Disney themed cake. Make the layers with different movie themes and then buy (or borrow from your son and wash) some character figures and place them around each level. If he doesn't already have the characters they can also be part of his gift.
An apple compote or pie-like filling goes well with chocolate and nuts.
What about making the cake like a GQ magazine cover touting all the talents and hobbies of her brother. Maybe do a cartoon-like portrait or use icing image to save some time.
Did you try Wilton's Cake Release? It works really well even in pans I've had stick before.
Looks fantastically yummy! Wish I could be there to taste it all!!
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