Recently, I was on CBC Radio’s The Next Chapter talking with host Shelagh Rogers about what trends are due for a comeback. (Think adult colouring books.) One thing I predict will be huge in the coming months is the renaissance of homemade birthday cakes. I’ll even take that one step further and say homemade cut-up cakes will be the next big trend.
What’s a cut-up cake, you ask? It’s a cake you cut into pieces and rearrange so that it looks like something else. A hot air balloon, for example. Or an umbrella. Even a turkey.
Here’s my Cut-Up Cake Party Book. I found it at a church bazaar. No surprises there, I guess. It was published in 1973.
I decided to make the airplane cake. I don’t know why. It involved a lot of measuring, which isn’t ideal for someone who failed Grade 10 Math.
The first step is to make the cake. Don’t use a mix because the cake needs to be dense as shit. Boxed mixes make cakes that are too light and hard to cut.
The recipe called for shortening, which was very popular in the ‘70s. Not only would people eat it like fudge (sprinkled with a bit of sugar, of course), shortening could also be used as soap in the shower, to silence squeaky hingers and to make your slip n’ slide all that much more slippy and slidey.
Once you get the cake out of the pan, take your measuring tape and get to work. Keep track of the pieces you cut because it’s very easy to get confused, especially if you have a tendency to forget things. Once you get the cake out of the pan, take your measuring tape and get to work. Keep track of the pieces you cut because it’s very easy to get confused, especially if you have a tendency to…wait. I already said this.
Next it's time to make the frosting. The recipe said to use Seven Minute frosting. I love Seven Minute frosting but it always takes me about nine minutes. If you don’t have a double boiler, improvise with a bowl and a pot. Just make sure the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the boiling water. Your arm will start to hurt about two minutes in. Don’t give up! Show that electric beater who's boss!
Once your frosting is ready, it’s time to assemble your cake. Set aside four hours for this part.
Thank the Good Lord for inventing shredded coconut. It masks the world’s ugliness.
Here’s the finished product. Makes the phrase “save me a wing” take on a whole new meaning, doesn’t it? And just think of the money you’ll save. Why, you’d pay upwards of $100 for a cake like this in a fancy bakery and here I made it for a fraction of that cost. Mind you, I also lost an entire Sunday.
Cut-up cakes are a great way to get creative and have fun, provided you’re not spatially challenged. And who wouldn’t love a birthday cake shaped like a plane? Especially if you served it with mini liquor bottles and a pair of cheap headphones.
What other trends am I predicting? Listen to the interview here.