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Grandma’s birthday cake

A few weeks ago my grandma celebrated her 75th birthday. Determined to find inspiration for a cake, I took a seat next to a giant box of old photos, rifling through hundreds of envelopes. I settled on one of her and I somewhere around 1993, complete with a “Happy New Year!” headband (which would be changed to Happy Birthday for our purposes). I popped in some DVDs and got to work, painting with gel food coloring atop a fondant disk.

The cake is strawberry almond amaretto with strawberry filling. With the intention of preservation, we slid the fondant off the top of the cake before eating to keep the portrait in the freezer.

While digging through those photos, I scanned in a few of them to share.

Baking funny shaped cakes since ’98:

Painting everything but paper was one of my earliest hobbies:

As was blogging (thought it would be a few more years before I understood that writing a letter and putting it on the table next to the computer would not “send it through the phone line and email it”):

And of course, petting animals!

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Halloween Birthday Cake

A couple weeks ago on Twitter I asked what 17 year old boys like because I was going to make a birthday cake for my brother. Within minutes, the general consensus was BOOBS. While this clearly was the way to go, I wasn’t ready to make a boob cake.
The search went on for a couple days and I finally decided on a cake. His birthday is the day after Halloween and he loves the movies, so a Michael Myers cake it was!

I made the film noir cupcakes and this cake within a few days of each other, so his cake is also pumpkin chocolate chip with sweet cinnamon buttercream.

I was out of red food coloring, so I ended up mixing a rose color with black. Maybe it’s not the same as a true red color, but the pink definitely adds to the gruesome nature of the cake.

Now I’m totally obsessed with painting fondant and cakes, so I ordered a set of food coloring, plus some other colors I wanted to try out, edible glitter, and more fondant. I excitedly found the box waiting for me outside my door over the weekend and can’t wait to make more cakes!

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Film Noir Cupcakes

Although Vegan MoFo is over and it was quite a lot of work, I really miss devoting so much time every day to recipe creation, brainstorming blog posts, doing interviews, and actually blogging! Plus reading about what everyone else was doing in their kitchen. MoFo also forced me to use Google Reader, if only to keep up with the hundreds of posts published everyday throughout the month. I quickly realized how intuitive Reader is, and how many blogs I could follow without having to visit them all separately, and now I’m using it full-time.

Looking beyond the grief-stricken lament of Vegan MoFo’s completion, I achieved my goals! The final interviews on Seitan Beats Your Meat were posted days before the deadline and the last post on here made it to a published status while the clock was teetering between 11:59pm and 12am on the first of November. That last post was a sneak peek into today’s post, Film Noir cakes and food coloring paintings!

This semester, I am taking a Film Noir-inspired photography class and one of the major events of the semester was an on-location photoshoot organized by the class. 1940s props and clothing, femme fatales, and dramatic lighting consumed the carefully crafted set. Off-set required just as much planning and organization with the inventory of vintage clothing, props, hair and makeup, model seeking, and food. The necessity of catering obviously made my ears perk up more than usual because I love any opportunity to create thematic baked goods. A thing that I can do! Film Noir? Lustre dust, glitter, food coloring as dark as my soul, fake blood!

I decided to take a more classic approach and paint mini portraits of film noir characters with black food coloring on fondant disks, as well as film negatives and stripes to allude to Venetian blinds. It’s Double Indemnity in cupcake form.

There was totally gold lustre dust to make the mini starlets glitter. The cupcakes were pumpkin chocolate chip (the Vegan Cupcakes recipe) with cinnamon buttercream. I could say the alluring shiny buttercream and sweet pumpkin cake were the fa├žade of a deeper chocolate-studded spicy flavor, much like a manipulative femme fatale seduction of deliciousness, but I’m not gonna lie. I just really like pumpkin cupcakes.

Now I want to paint everything with food coloring onto fondant. I might need to start making up holidays to justify my rampant extraneous cake baking.