It began on my birthday, after Kory had made me some really lovely scallops and a we had finished the bottle of prosecco and we were deciding who to have over for the Inauguration. We had already planned to have a few families over, and then the spirit(s) moved us (ok, really him this time) and we decided to invite Ella’s entire first grade class. We didn’t think they would all show up, it being a school night and all. But in all, by Monday, we had 60 positive responses, including Ella’s teacher. I wondered a little what we had been thinking, and, in fact, so did Ella who asked me that night: “Mom, why are we having parties all the time now?”
She’s not wrong. It might be the blackboard door, or might be that I like to have people around to celebrate, or it might be the fact that we live in an Eichler,which is just a great home for entertaining. Or it might just have been the exuberance of the moment.
The menu was pretty simple, and all planned around red, white and blue food, more or less:
But the piece de resistance was the cake.
I can cook, but Kory is the real baker in our home. Sure, I can follow a recipe and turn out something that tastes delicious, and bake all manner of pies, etc. But when it comes to making something look really, truly beautiful, that’s Kory’s arena entirely. I’d like to say this is because is he’s a visual artist, but probably it’s more primal than that. In fact, his great grandmother was an cook/pastry chef for Austrian royalty, in Austria, and his grandmother still makes exquisite cookies, and the kind of pie crust that is truly legendary. (She was also a highly skilled technician forNASA. I like to think the two things are not entirely unrelated.)
So when we realized that we needed a lot more dessert, I was going to slap some food-colored buttercream on store bought cupcakes, which quickly evolved into a cake piped with the Obama logo, which quickly became Kory’s opportunity to work with fondant, which has been a long dream for him, I think. I made the cake (recipe after the image), and Kory printed the stencil, cut the fondant, piped the glitter gel…
The cake underneath is Everyday Chocolate Cake, originally featured in Gourment. This decision was made because, well, we decided to make a cake the day before the event, on a holiday, and had to do it with what we had on hand. It’s a really good, simple cake. He made the mini-model of the White House, too. Kory added to this recipe a chocolate glacage, because apparently fondant needs something to stick to. We’re both big fans of glacage, which we’ve been making a lot since Christmas, when I topped my buche de noel with it. It’s a rich, shiny, bittersweet glaze, easy and delicious and versatile. To make, you can pour 6 oz heavy cream over 6 oz chocolate. When the mixture has cooled to 35 degress C, add 2 oz butter, and then slowly pour over your cooled cake.
One of the cakes went to work with him, and we saved one for the adults at our party.
The kids ate these excellent cupcakes, made by our friends:
We had plenty of food, the party was great fun. We ate a lot, and drank some, and toasted, and the kids made cards to send to President Obama, and then ran around like maniacs in the back yard or sat around the firepit. Some watched the TIVOed Kids’ Inauguration Concert. The mood was really extraordinary. wasn’t sorry we did it, & neither, apparently, was Ella’s teacher.