5 Comments Karen HamiltonSeptember 1, 2009
My extended family has a strange birthday ritual. Every year, my cousin and her brother toast each other with red wine on their birthdays, declaring,
To our immortality and amateur vampirism…the secret is eating babies.
I cannot fathom how this inside joke was ever spawned, nor do I fully understand their propensity towards the macabre, but ever since my cousins described this rite to me a few years ago, a spin-off ritual emerged. We’ve become known for holding baking days for Birthday Cakes of Immortality: concept cakes that do not cater to mainstream tastes.
Have you run away yet? No? Then take a look at the three cakes that we’ve concocted in my kitchen to date.
The Baby Cake
The first Birthday Cake of Immortality evolved out the discovery of my cousins’ birthday ritual. We pondered how to append the “eating babies” part of the toast to the act of drinking red wine without getting arrested for indecency, cannibalism, or worse. The answer: rounds of sponge cake layered with strawberry jam; flesh-coloured buttercream frosting; licorice umbilical cord. A friend belatedly suggested a strawberry Jell-o placenta.
Of the 5 witnesses present on this day, only myself and my cousin Leanne were able to dig in. Team member Jason could only stomach the cake bits that were shaved off the final product.
I know I will look back at this project after birthing our daughter in January and throw up in my mouth a little.
My 29th birthday was the occasion for trying a cake that looked and acted like one of our favourite Milton Bradley board games. Dubbed Operation ‘Operation‘, the project called for a gigantic dessert in the shape of a man under surgery. Jason, Leanne, and I again formed the core cake-making team. Four red velvet cakes layered atop a large wooden cutting board formed the basis of the body and flesh-coloured fondant was rolled on top. Marshmallow fondant bones were precisely shaped by our guest contributor, Hayley.
We took this cake to Boneta and had a blast playing and ingesting this edible board game with our dinner guests and curious kitchen / front-of-the-house staff.
The Bacon Cake
Our latest project focussed on Leanne’s favourite ingredient: bacon. I had long wanted to make her a cake infused with pork — can you think of a better way to pay compliment to a Filipino?
The logistics fell into place as Leanne, Jason, and I toured the grocery store on Baking Day for inspiration. The cake base would be savoury rather than sweet, the cornbread recipe coming from the new cookbook by Memphis Blues (my cousin’s favourite eatery). Use of maple syrup and Pralines & Cream ice cream would eliminate the tedious task of making and applying frosting. My recently acquired skill of bacon weaving would be leveraged to top the cake with the star ingredient; the remaining bacon slices in the pack were crumbled up and inserted as layer filling along with a generous drench of maple syrup.
The outcome was divine. It was like breakfast, lunch, and dessert rolled into one.
Brainstorming for October 28th
The next Birthday Cake of Immortality will be for my birthday around the Halloween season. We’re currently at a loss for what to make, but there’s still time to think of something. Any ideas? Please share.
And you are more than welcome to participate in the next round…as a baker, eater, or both.
3 Comments Karen HamiltonJuly 26, 2009
My mother-in-law in Winnipeg is an amazing cook, and I am so thankful that she shares her recipe trove with her family and friends. One of my favourite cookies that she makes in the summer is her Winnipeg Folk Fest cookies, so named for the music and hempy festival that occurs in the city around this time of year.
As she says, “These are not the official cookies of the Winnipeg Folk Fest, but they are so wholesome and hippy-like that they should be!”
- 3/4 cup butter
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1/3 cup water
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 3/4 cup flour
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/4 cup rolled oats
- 1/2 cup flax
- 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
- 1 1/4 cup chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup grated coconut
- Mix butter with sugars.
- Add eggs, water & vanilla and mix well.
- Add all the dry ingredients and stir.
- Chill dough for 30 minutes.
- Drop by the spoonful onto a greased baking sheet and bake at 350F for 12–15 minutes.
When done, they should be lightly browned and firm to the touch. Makes approximately 4 dozen cookies.
Another unannounced giveaway for all you generous Blogathon 2009 donors. Please give a round of applause for Jason L., who has won a batch of these Winnipeg Folk Fest cookies, made with love by yours truly.
It’s not too late to get in your donation to the Greater Vancouver Food Bank and for the last 2 prizes left to draw: the $450 Tiny Bites Grand Prize and the Top Donor dinner for 2, traipsing through the culinary excellence of Blue Water Cafe, CinCin, and West!
1 Comment Bruce NguyenJuly 25, 2009
Located in prime tourist real estate at the base of Government Street, approaching Victoria’s Inner Harbour, Roger’s Chocolate Soda Shoppe has set up shop.
The layout is split into two physically separated areas, soft serve ice-cream sundaes in the larger corner space, and hard, scooped ice cream in the smaller adjoining space. Also served are ice cream floats, malts, cookie ice cream sandwiches, splits, and a host of other related treats.
The store sign itself promotes “Olde Fashioned Ice Cream Concoctions” and I haven’t quite made up my mind whether the interior décor is ironic, an avant garde take on retro, or just confused. Old time charm is attempted to be blended with modern design ethics; LCD screen menus are side-by-side with stained glass light fixtures and signs in “Olde English” at the same time that wooden accents merge into bold granite fixtures. Although I have to admit, I am a fan of the uniforms. It’s the hat that does it, really.
I tried one of the more conservative sundaes on their menu. Yes, the drooling beast in the image below would be considered conservative in terms of number of toppings – vanilla soft serve ice cream rimmed with nuts, a Rogers’ chocolate medalion, and finished with caramel, whipped cream, and a marachino cherry.
My favourite part of the sundae was actually the nuts. But I’m an odd fellow who claims his tongue is abnormally full of too many sweet receptors. It wasn’t until after I was happily crunching on my sundae toppings that I noticed a sign advertising cookie ice cream sandwiches. That’s one childhood indulgence that has stayed with me all these years.
Looks like I’m going to have to make another trip to ye olde soda shoppe sooneth.