Sunday, 2 August 2009
Jenne's Birthday Cake
"Hi, this is my friend Alexandra! She can't ride a bike!"
This is how my friend Jenne (pictured above) introduces me to her bike forum buddies. So when I walked into the pub bearing a pink flowery birthday cake, wearing three inch glittery heels and flawless eyeliner, needless to say the bike posse was less than impressed. I suddenly felt the shift in atmosphere. They were all thinking - "Someone near me doesn't like bikes. I don't know how to feel about that." There were many shifty glances and people found themselves huddled together, all hoping the freak with no sense of anything hip would not try to talk to them.
It's not that I don't like bikes per say, I just never learned to ride one. My parents did buy me one which I lamely attempted to coast down a few hills before giving up to go play with my barbies or dance around my room singing to "Get into the groove" at full volume. (Yes, I was doing both at ten years old) And as the years went by it became clear that riding bikes was not my thing. I've made it to twenty-seven years of age without riding a bike. Jenne is determined to change that. I'll keep you posted.
In the end, the bike posse was really great. That's because, pink birthday cake brings everyone together! Once the cake was cut and eaten (devoured! sixteen pieces gone in an instant!) the gang started to warm up. Guys wearing silly (trendy?) bike hats with one pant leg rolled up started sheepishly coming up to me saying things like "Hey, you made that cake, right? Um, I just wanted to say it was really delicious. Ok, bye." Then their tuff girlfriends with scary looking gloves and beat-up velcro bike shoes would come say, "Hey, that cake was awesome! Are you really going to wear those heels all night?". To which I replied, "What else would I wear??"
The after party was a bit away from the pub and everyone, of course, was going to ride their bikes to the party. Everyone except me. Those who had not heard the terrible introduction were asking me, "So, which bike is yours? Are you going to bike to the party?" Then one glance at my shoes answered their question. It was decided that I would take a bus and the bike gang would follow me. So, in busy East London, I hopped on a crowded bus to the party with a posse of bike forum folks following me. "Just get off at Brick Lane next to the giant wall of graffiti and we'll meet you there!" So I hopped on the bus, and with several flashing bike lights behind me found my way to Brick Lane. Even though I felt a bit out of place, I had to admit I felt special ("I have a bike posse following me. Don't fuck with me" Is what I wanted to say to all the drunk Brits on the bus), and I have the feeling that this pink birthday cake was the reason they felt inclined to follow a giant double decker bus through the busy streets of London to meet me for the after party.
Just a few of the bike posse....
The cake which solved all of my problems for the evening is one in the same as the birthday cake I made for Ben and I. Jenne had high demands for her cake. She originally asked for strawberry mouse cake but I knew that would not travel well through the tubes and trains of London so I had to re-evaluate. (Or whip up mouse at a seedy pub in East London) She wanted pink, she wanted strawberry, she wanted layers and she wanted strawberry filling in the layers! Damn woman! So I went with what I knew best and happily accepted the challenge.
(It's no mystery I'm not the best at photography, but I blame this suckiness on the terrible lighting at the pub. Yeah, ok, and maybe the pints I was drinking had something to do with it too)
It's not close to being vegan, low fat or sugar-free, but it makes you friends fast which is essential when you are an American living in London (and hanging out with bikers). I did four layers instead of two because I knew I was feeding a small crowd and, really, I wanted to be dramatic. In reference to the last post, I just used strawberry jam for blueberry and omitted lavender- and discarded pistachios in the batter. For two layers I made just plain vanilla sponge cake and the other two I made the same thing but added real chopped strawberries. I made a simple cream cheese frosting and decorated it with cute little sugar flowers. Easy peazy!
The cake recipe is in the post referenced above and for the icing, well, I didn't follow a recipe but I used an 8oz container of full-fat cream cheese (soft cheese as it's called here. confusing!) mixed a tablespoon of milk and just started whisking in powdered sugar. I probably managed to whisk in about 10oz of sugar. It should be a nice creamy consistency free of any sugar lumps.
It goes to show you that you can do basically anything with this cake. It's my new standby for when I need an impressive cake fast. Now, if only riding a bike was as easy as baking a four layer cake......
Decorate as desired and go win some friends!
Posted by sweet-tempered at 14:55
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