Thursday, October 19, 2006

Dirty Martini

A last-minute cake made for daughter's girlfriend who turned 25 yesterday. Guess what the birthday girl's favorite drink is? My favorite part of the cake is the fondant olives. I put them on a wooden skewer, only later realizing it could have been even more exciting to thread them onto either a super-tall birthday candle or a sparkler. Oh well. There's always next time.

A group of them met for dinner at a local Mexican restaurant, and daughter snuck the cake into the restaurant's cooler before the birthday girl arrived. The restaurant was more than accommodating of their celebration, and much of the cake was shared with the waiters.

This is another chocolate fudge cake, two layers all around, baked in a 10" square pan and a 6" square pan. I cut diagonally across the squares to make 2 triangles from each; stacked the triangles on top of each other with chocolate fudge frosting slathered in between; then cut a 2" vertical slice out of the middle of the larger martini "cup" to form the stem of the glass. Plastered some more chocolate fudge icing between the two halves of the top triangle, shoved them together, then frosted it all with vanilla buttercream and decorated with 'dirty-martini-pale-green' royal icing.

Normally I would cover a cake like this in fondant, because it's so much more finished and elegant looking. But I had both time constraints and humidity issues with this one. It's hard enough to craft a decent buttercream-iced cake when the temp is 88 and the humidity is 8,000%, but it's nearly impossible to pull off a fondant-covered cake under those conditions.

Sugar is hygroscopic, meaning it literally pulls moisture out of the air, into and onto itself. The marshmallow fondant that I make is nearly 100% sugar, with a little gelatin (talk about hygroscopic!) and cornstarch thrown in for good measure. Thus, it gets all swollen and bloated and ornery whenever it's rainy and humid outside. Even our wonderful Trane air conditioner running at top speed can't adequately handle the bloated beast that is fondant on a hot, humid, rainy Houston day.

The weatherman tells us there's a cold/dry front moving through here tonight. He'd better be right. Because I'm making my own birthday cake tomorrow and I darn well want to use fondant!

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