Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Guy Fawkes Cake

Remember remember the fifth of November
Gunpowder, treason and plot.
I see no reason why gunpowder, treason
Should ever be forgot...

I have just finished a conference paper, so to reward myself I am going to throw some more photos up here. This time baking! The poem above is famous from the movie V for Vendetta, starring Hugo Weaving and Natalie Portman from 2005. But contrary to what movie goers might think, this is of course a much older tradition. 

Guy Fawkes is celebrated on November 5th, traditionally by burning a Guy Fawkes effigy. Why was Guy so disliked? Well, he tried to blow up the British Parliament in the so called Gunpowder Conspiracy. This did not make him popular, and the day has become fixed in British memory as something between celebrating justice, reminding people what happens to match happy anarchists, and of course all about burning things! Yaah! And really, who couldn't get behind that?

A friend and colleague of mine threw a Giy Fawkes party in New Haven last November. Of course  we went! I even brought a little effigy of things in my life that needed to be burned. I also brought a theme-cake:
 Yes, it is a gunpowder barrel shaped cake. The cake itself is a chili-chocolate cake, and the icing is chili-chocolate buttercream. The iron bands, and rivets, are fondant. 
 The exposed "gunpowder" was black buttercream with chili sprinkled on top for gunpowder discoloration effects. 
I love, love, love the rivets! I also really like the recipe, which I would post, but it is at home in New Haven, and I am now elsewhere. My husband is not crazy about the chili-chocolate cake, which mystifies me. He is the chocoholic in our family, after all. For the party, however, while I brought themed dessert, he brought themed facial hair:  

Now, let's see if I can read this conference paper in 20 minutes...

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Bridal Butterflies!

One of my very best friends - and really, Grad School is worth it even just for the friends - is getting married! In Australia...

Fair enough, she and her fiancé are Australian, and it makes sense to get married back home. I know it will be an amazing wedding, and I really wish I could go. But we cannot have everything we want in life. However, some of us did throw her a bridal shower today! And by some of us, I mean three did the organizing and most of the cooking, and I hosted. And made cupcakes! It was a lovely party, thanks to the amazing women present! Many could not come, but know that it was awesome and we missed you.

Now, as I have a 30 minute conference paper on saints and medieval marriage theology to write, I am posting about the said cupcakes as I wait for a decadent number of Kir Royals (and that Wikipedia page is an example of semi-useless to be proud of!) to clear my system...

First I made Hummingbird Cupcakes from Martha Stewart's Cupcakes cookbook: Coconut, banana, pineapple cupcakes. I left out the toasted walnuts as I am allergic. The Bride is not, but whatever, she loves me enough not to want me to die at her shower. 
Then I desiccated ca 3 mm thick pineapple rounds. It took hours longer than the recipe called for, but how productive could I be: desiccate pineapple, write paper, clean bathroom, do dishes, pilates...
To give the pineapples the right floral shape they are set for the final dry in muffin tins.
One of the ladies brought over her cupcake stand, and here I have added cream cheese frosting to the baked good.
 In case you were wondering where the pineapple flowers go.
I then added these fabulous edible sugarpaper butterflies from Sugar Robot off Etsy.
Shameless plug for Sugar Robot! Friendly, quick, lovely! Edible!
Same cupcake tree, two different lightnings and angles.
The Beautiful Bride! (with cupcake)