This is it, the last monthly cake in the inaugural Year of Cake! When choosing a design for this one, to be served tonight, New Year’s Eve, my main consideration was finding a technique that I’d wanted to try but hadn’t gotten to yet.
Obviously it should also be some sort of festive theme, but the classic NYE symbols–champagne, party hats, black & white clocks–weren’t inspiring me. After literally having a nightmare about it being Dec. 31 and my not having a cake design, I finally came up with a plan.
My town decided to do a big downtown NYE celebration this year, and they are calling it “Chi-Town Rising.” Instead of a ball or other icon “dropping,” a huge star from the Chicago flag will rise up a building.
Well, like most Chicagoans, I have a strong affinity for our city flag, so I was down to make a cake featuring its unique six-pointed star.
Also, this led me to that last technique I’d been eyeing–caramel. The Cake Bible makes caramel cages look really simple, and Life’s a Strawberry demonstrates caramel ribbons as a cool and not too difficult cupcake decorating option.
The star rising over Chicago tonight seems to be golden, so I would need amber caramel, which the Cake Bible says can be ground in a food processor to be made into golden decorating sugar. Perfect!
The Process: A Photo Essay
It’s New Year’s Eve and we have company, and nobody is reading this now anyway, so I’m going to finish this out with a bunch of photos and minimal text.
The recipe is pretty simple. 200g sugar, 80g water, 1/8 tsp cream of tartar. Heat & stir until sugar is dissolved, then stop stirring, raise heat, and boil until 350-360 degrees.
I used my silicone muffin cups for mini-cages, since I didn’t have a cake design in mind yet (I did the caramel the night before the cake), and I mostly just wanted to see if they would work. I did 7 cages, some for “ribbons” on parchment, and some just as chunks to grind into powder.
The next day I carefully pulled the cages off the muffin cups, and they stayed mostly intact!
Now for the cake. I doubled the champagne cake recipe I used on the Cup Cake and put it into two 8×2 rounds and a 6×2 round, which ended up being extra.
I layered them and since I was worried about them drying out, I added a little cinnamon syrup some friends had brought over. A syringe from children’s medicine worked well to sprinkle the syrup over the cake.
I cut the layers on a diagonal to make the star rise, but after a while of trying to figure out the right angle, I pretty much just guessed.
And it worked!
Q was helping me in this whole process. Helping.
I printed the star to get the proportions right.
Then I started cutting.
Gold dust on the star, Quentin helping again.
I needed to use the cages somewhere, so I broke them and stuck them to the back.
And it’s a cake! Happy New Year!