Log in

No account? Create an account
15 January 2010 @ 08:20 am
Yes, I did fall off the edge of the world, which as Michael Swanwick has observed (and contrary to Andy Capp), lies in the middle east. Of which more, later, perhaps. But life goes on even in free fall.

Last year I was too depressed to even attempt the traditional Yule/New Year's food house, once lavishly decorated gingerbread, but now (since no one would ever eat the gingerbread after) made of cake. This year instead of a polychrome Victoria folly I went local and sand-colored, that is to say marzipan-colored. The model is Fort Zubara, in Qatar, but nothing, including the proportions, is very literal.

The structure is lemon-flavored pound cake and Union hotel mud cake, both of proven worth for the task. The mud cake calls for bourbon, not easy to come by here, but a client had given us a bottle of Chivas Regal which is adequate. Both are baked in loaf pans, cut into blocks, and glued together with raspberry jam, which also helps to keep the cake fresh. I used to use royal icing, but this is nasty stuff both to work with and taste-wise.

The round towers were baked in pinto-bean cans and cut to shape. The whole was covered in golden marzipan, which sticks nicely to the jam coating. I couldn't get the crenellations the right shape, but then I lacked the foresight/patience to make a template. The doors, etc. are pieces of milk-choco bar and the posts in the interior are some cookie thing from the supermarket. The sand is brown sugar on a thin layer of royal icing.

It's supposed to be the centerpiece for Christmas dinner, but it was still under construction and we didn't really do a lavish thing with roast turkey etc. since it was just the three of us. The problem is always the battle between not wanting to destroy it and knowing the cake won't last forever. Of course for a week or so you have all the scraps and in this case, since I had to downsize when I realized I only had a cookie sheet to build it on, there were two extra loaves of mud cake to keep us busy. But we started demolishing it last weekend and now have just the front square tower and front wall. The demise of the cake house means the New Year is fully underway

And a belated HNY to everyone!
Comrade Cat: anime-blue hair armorcomrade_cat on January 15th, 2010 04:56 am (UTC)
HNY! You get to eat marzipan, I'm jealous.

Is there any more of that novel you were writing, the one you sold a novella excerpt of to the magazine? I'm sorry, I've forgotten the title, except that it was one word & (contrary to the available evidence) memorable. & I identified linguistic roots for it. I just can't remember what they are . . .
(Anonymous) on January 18th, 2010 04:09 am (UTC)
Hi! Are you allergic to almonds? I wonder if you could make something similar with hazelnuts or walnuts.

I have been working on the novel amidst job-hunting and other writing projects. More later....
Judith Bermanfilomancer on January 18th, 2010 04:11 am (UTC)
Oops, that was me.
Comrade Cat: general-flower blondecomrade_cat on January 18th, 2010 05:02 pm (UTC)
Hehe, I figured it was. I'm not allergic to almonds, otherwise I wouldn't be jealous at all . . .

Yay novel!
Lawrence M. Schoenklingonguy on January 15th, 2010 02:06 pm (UTC)
Happy New Year to you too. Nice to see you here.
eegatland on January 15th, 2010 02:41 pm (UTC)
Oz Whiston writing as Oz Drummondbirdhousefrog on January 15th, 2010 06:19 pm (UTC)
HNY! It's good to 'see' you again. I was thinking about you recently and remembering comments you made at Readercon about being limited in what a 'housewife' can do and it made me wonder if any of that had created your long silence. I was going to ask Greg if he'd heard from you, were you ok.

Now I see that you have many talents, including building an amazing cake structure. And then eating it! Wow. I think I gained a pound just drooling over it.

Judith Bermanfilomancer on January 18th, 2010 04:11 am (UTC)
The cake was (past tense, alas) very good. It shouldn't improve by sitting for two weeks covered in raspberry jam and marzipan but, strangely, it does.

Oh, yes, must remember to photograph my residency visa.
Nalo Hopkinsonnnaloh on August 29th, 2010 07:55 pm (UTC)
Was great to see you this July! I know that feeling of falling off the edge of the world. May we both find our feet under us soon.