It’s for those who’ve got a cake hankering that just won’t go away and for bakers who don’t take themselves too seriously
“Age is a seasoned trickster. To our parents, we will always be children. Within ourselves, the same yearnings of youth; the same aspirations of adolescence, will last a lifetime. Only to the young – blinded by our grey hair and slowing gait – do we appear old and increasingly beyond the pale.”
― Alex Morritt, Impromptu Scribe
So last month I turned a whole lot older, by as much as…one whole (gulp) year. Indeed my youthful yearnings and angsts remained alongside my adolescent aspirations (not that my kids, nieces or nephews will ever notice, thank God for that). My daughter, did however freeze me for a second in my ensuite (this was last month as well) with her bloodcurdling scream brought about by her sighting of a single strand of white hair on the sink; significantly and specifically mine. In the end she was relieved the offensive strand of silky grey belonged to her mum and not some ‘old creepy witch’ (That’s it, no more bedtime fairytales. Wait a minute, what? C’mon!! WITCH? Thanks a lot by the way, cupcake).
And me? Just the opposite of what you’ll call relieved, I guess.
Having said that I like to end every story on a positive note, including this seemingly leaning-towards-depressing birthday post. Being afraid of ‘oldness’ is not something I envisioned in my forties (mind you, I’m in the upper rung of it, for the record..ok) but neither was the sudden urgency to learn new skills with every passing birthday.
The resulting motivation for this birthday cake is exactly the antidote for such irrational fears. I’ve simply channelled my fear of oldness into a crazy cake challenge. Great. I realise now you might be thinking I’m old AND crazy. Maybe but who cares since I’ve at least chosen to be productive and have decided to express my mood for craziness and yumminess rolled into one in cake form.
Most crucially I’m reporting here that I’m moving on from my fondness for fondant (the cake decorating medium I first fell in love with) to a new obsession with buttercream; especially in the form of swiss meringue buttercream…there’s absolutely no way you could taste a dollop of this and not go bollocks for it as they say in some places.
As for my extreme cake, I reckon it’s a trend that’s evolved from those messy extreme milkshakes on Instagram that makes you wonder how people actually get to sip even a tiny slurp of the monstrosity: can someone please tell me how does one get to the bottom liquid portion past the towering pile of creamy donuts, pretzels, caramel-drizzled marshmallows, candied chocolates, Oreo cookies, lollipops and waffles topped with a mountain of whipped cream with a maraschino cherry? I think the media had dubbed these the ‘freak shakes’ for good reason? Another article on social media has condemned the trend, confirming it has definitely bucked and is on the list of top 10 things that ‘aren’t hipster’ anymore, along with the civil war era (think Ned Kelly) beards for male celebs and non-celebs alike. Sorry, this post is on cakes and I shouldn’t be mentioning beards at all.
Anyway, sorry I got side-tracked a little. As I was saying…and I gotta say, I much prefer the ‘extreme cake’. Don’t you reckon it’s got the same effect as the ridiculously messy freakshake-milkshake craze? Aha. Only that every bit of ‘everything added’ is as practical and edible, perhaps most importantly, accessible in every slice of cake goodness. Cheers, thanks for the birthday wishes. Just grateful to have made it this far with the Almighty’s grace. Hope you try the messy cake challenge yourself. My tip would be to begin small. Yes, start by icing a layered mini cake (6” or less, like 4”). It can have the same effect with much less grief for the baker. Experiment with different coloured drizzled glaze using white chocolate, colourful candy melts (for cake pops), caramel or butterscotch. Think about different textures—macarons, cookies, meringue, wafers, even eclairs could be used as topping!
The only rule is that nothing is outrageous enough for this cake. Gone are days people ask for a standard classic white wedding cake, according to Forbes on 2016’s dessert fads. Dessert art has been catching on for a while now and customers of bakeries want something unique, artistic and not necessarily to eat as much as to ‘admire’ during dinner.
I still believe in having my cake and eating it, ha. And only those who absolutely love cake should try this cake art challenge. It takes a lot. A lot of patience.
It’s for those who’ve got a cake hankering that just won’t go away and for bakers who don’t take themselves too seriously, like moi.
I may be getting older but I’ve taken a firm pledge not to ever stop having fun. I reckon it’s some good birthday wisdom there.