Monday, March 08, 2010

The return of the croquembouche

Please. If you are a friend of mine, and you're turning 40, don't invite me to a big party to celebrate it. I might have to offer to make a croquembouche again.

One year later, I made another one of these cakes for a friend's 40th birthday. This time I used more caramel, and let it harden before turning the cake right side up, so we had no tower of Pisa syndrom. Not to say we had no drama though. I had bought a dress, was dressed and ready to go, building my cake at the last minute since it doesn't keep too well, when I realized the snow was really falling heavily, and cars were having trouble going down the hill outside our home. I started worrying but my husband reminded me we have chains for the tires. Next, the babysitter didn't show up. Every babysitter in the neighborhood had been booked for this party, so I began to panic. I had visions of being stuck at home with a cake for 40 people... Finally we found a teenager who agreed to cancel her Saturday evening plans for double the usual rate. The cake made it despite the slippery driving in the snow, and it was a success. Too much caramel to my taste (and the caramel was a little too dark), but dramatic and quite tasty.

OK, so maybe give me a year to get over this one, and then invite me to your party. After all, I did get to dance at the last one, and that in itself is worth a croquembouche to me!

I increased the kitsch factor by crafting these marzipan roses to decorate the cake (the theme of the party was pink). My seven-year old daughter made the small one on her own. I watched this video to learn how to do it. It's in French, but you'll still get it even if you don't speak French. I used supermarket marzipan (I think it's called "Modelliermarzipan" here in Switzerland) and added some pink food coloring wihtout mixing completely to make the petals different shades of pink. I even had some luster dust to make them sparkle a little (OK so yes I hate food coloring, but who is going to eat these roses anyway? Though they did disappear. I wonder what happened to them.) The only thing was the bigger ones were heavy, and I was too stressed to figure out a good way to attach them to the cake, so I glued them on the bottom with caramel. The little one stuck well near the top of the cake.

Last-minute rushing around gluing "dragées" (candied almonds) as decorations. "Enough!" said my husband, but nothing is ever enough when you make a croquembouche...

How do you serve the darn thing?! Wack the caramel hard.

Et voilà, another croquembouche devoured.

Joyeux anniversaire Sabine! (Sorry for the blurry shot, I was having too much fun to hold the camera steady!)