In the peace and quiet of the midnight hours a couple of months ago, I was mindlessly Googling “unique”, “fancy”, “strange”, “elaborate” and the like attributes, placed next to the word “cake”. I was quite determined, too, to steal creative ideas and techniques from anyone’s edible pieces of art, preferably ones without a price tag and “here’s how to order” button.
And then, the most bizzare cake-related image materialized in front of my eyes, after following a link on page 7 or 17, not sure anymore… a Martha Stewart Wii Cake!!! On the cover of Wired magazine, mind you! I had to have it! It would be full of elaborate directions, an impossible-to-duplicate recipe (without spending 72 straight hours in a kitchen with five ovens, an industrial sized prep island and a team of a dozen bakers) and most of all – it would make me a hero in the geek community of my husband’s friends when I made him a Wii cake for his birthday.
18 hours later, when hubby brought the magazine home from the office collection of a co-worker with no use for it, I was wondering if I got a defective copy with missing cake pages. After skipping though it forwards and back – twice – I still hadn’t found the five pages a cover story deserves… Eventually, after having diligently read through two-thirds of the magazine, I saw the tiny, useless blurb. Oh well. Nonetheless, the cover was still there – quite enough for inspiration, I suppose. I kept joking with my husband that I was going to make him a Wii cake. I had some other ideas brewing at the time, and in fact a plan for another Halloween/Birthday cake was already set in motion…
Anyway, hubby’s Halloween birthday party came and went on the 27-th. The primary BloodRayne 2 chocolate raspberry cake fortress was an absolute hit. The secondary pumpkin-shaped, pumpkin-tasting cake also received compliments – in fact, people didn’t realize it was a cake until I sliced throught it! – they thought it was a decoration, yeah! But then, there was cake number three… Can you tell I go overboard in the number of cakes I make for a party?… I must have easily spent $150 just in supplies for those cakes, let alone the sleepless nights to bake and decorate them… Crazy? Maybe.
The fact is, for me it is a form of meditation and self expression… I get to forget about my mile-long, never tamed to-do list at work, I get to listen to the midnight silence, empty of the shrilling chatter and royal demands of our two adorable little guys, and remind myself that occasionally, the “I” in me still exists… Like an artist watching a painting emerge with each brush stroke, seeing how a shapeless fluid brown mass turns into an evenly baked smooth and fluffy cake layer, which in turn absorbs the fresh, tangy raspberry flavor, to come to full harmony with the layers of smooth melted chocolate and cream — oups, that’s the wrong cake, sorry, check BloodRayne’s castle in the above flavour … That’s a cake right?! And then the really fun part begins, when fondant, just like clay, can be colored and shaped in all things imaginable…
So there was cake number three – flourless walnut cake with meringue cocoa buttercream… Uncut. The other two cakes were so big that even after more than a dozen families left the party with to-go boxes of both cakes, number three was uncut.
Then, it hit me. Cake number three had been waiting to become a Wii! It was its destiny all along! The night after the party I thought about it… The day after the party I looked at it, peacefully lying in the fridge, nicely cured but completely naked in its buttercream crumb coat. I also happened to see this great attempt at making a Wii cake before the Wired cover… And I knew what I was doing that night…
But a white Wii with gray base was already made, nothing original about that… There was still a day left before Halloween, and I did have some fondant left from an orange pumpkin and a black fortress… While my husband’s Wii and controller spent a few hours next to sugar and sharp tools, they were completely unharmed in the making of the cake (unless refrigerating them counts… just joking).
About this cake:
It is called Walnut Cake – it is flourless — and is made from a recipe in a cookbook dated 1962, with yellowish pages and orange fraying linen hard cover that my aunt bestowed upon me back in the days I didn’t know what a cookbook is used for but I vaguely suspected I had to have a “real” one. I could list the recipe in detail, thought I find it more curious to summarize that I made three batches for this 5-layer 9”x13” sheet cake, and among a couple of secret ingredients I used 33 eggs (you read it correctly, thirty-three eggs), 7.5 cups of powdered sugar, 3 cups of white sugar, 2 cups of cocoa powder, 7.5 cups of finely chopped walnuts, 3 cups of ground almonds, 1.5 cups semolina, 2lb of butter, rind of 2 lemons and 2 cups of rum. Yes! – 2 cups of rum! Enjoy.