Thursday, May 19, 2011

In anticipation of spring.....

Springtime in Wisconsin is defined by anticipation—of walks in the woods, camping, tender spring vegetables, and bright blossoms and buds. Everything is electric green and is charged with a tangible promise of a fresh start. 

Spring is also a very happy time for food! The bright colors of spring are inspirational for making vivid and tasty cakes, cookies, and frozen desserts. I was recently fortunate enough to bake two cakes for a good friend’s birthday party—one chocolate, and one bumble bee. Chocolate cake is self-explanatory, but bumble bee cake is a delightful mix of cinnamon, crushed pineapple, bananas, and pecans. Lighter than carrot cake, it is very tasty with a nice cream cheese frosting. My favorite part about these cakes was the decorations! The birthday party had a garden theme, and what better for a spring-time garden than meringue mushrooms and a spun-sugar nest with marzipan eggs? It was my first time with both, and I had a truly spectacular time making a giant mess in the kitchen. My best friend came and helped me, and we drank beer and listened to 90’s hip-hop and danced the whole time.  

In the end, the cakes were very good and pretty. I baked each in a bundt pan, cut the finished cake in half, and assembled them into caterpillars. I set them on a bed of green coconut, frosted them, and drizzled white chocolate in different colors over them to make stripes. I assembled the mushrooms using dark chocolate as glue and used white chocolate to make the spots on the caps. I tried to make the marzipan eggs look like duck eggs by dusting them with cocoa, and I also dusted the mushroom caps to make them look dirty. I nestled my meringue toadstools around the caterpillars and voila! Birthday cake complete.  I forgot to take pictures of the actual cake—because I was having so much fun at the party! And I think that is a good thing. 


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