I love cake.
Just the thought of eating cake makes me happy.
Chocolate cake. Lemon cake. Yellow or white cake. Birthday cake. Wedding cake. Give me a piece of cake with some buttery white, or dark chocolate boiled frosting, or whipped cream, and I’m happy.
Give me a piece of cake and a glass of something bubbly, and I’m even happier. I don’t drink Manhattans with cake. Too much sweetness.
A couple weeks ago, I told you chocolate cream pie was my favorite dessert. I lied. Well, I didn’t exactly lie, but as my friend Sue Witt will attest to, pretty much whatever I’m eating at a certain time is my absolute favorite food.
I just had a piece of a cake that a cake maker in Boothbay made for me. A lot of us make cakes, but Trisha Moroz, of Starlight Cakes, starlightcustomcakes.com, makes CAKES.
If cakes were words, Trisha’s cakes would be eloquent.
They are works of art, literally. They’re edible sculptures.
Give Trisha an idea for a cake for any special occasion, and with the help of her husband, Michael, who builds scale models for some of the more elaborate edible sculptures, she’ll take off running and build a cake that’ll knock your socks off.
Her cakes are so exquisite some people have a hard time eating them. But Starlight Custom Cakes taste as good as they look.
A couple years ago, Trisha made me a tall, narrow cake, kind of the shape of a top hat. It was chocolate cake with buttercream frosting, covered with pure white fondant and topped with three exquisite glossy-red Christmas balls. They looked real.
Trisha made them, and they were entirely edible. They were made of white chocolate, sprayed with a red sugar coating and several coats of sugar gloss. The little thingies at the tops of the balls, for attaching ornaments to hooks, were mini Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, and the ring on top was pasta, all painted with edible gold paint.
With the help of my mother and a couple friends, we ate the whole thing – balls and all.
Trisha has studied under master sugar artists and pastry chefs. She has made playful, whimsical cakes in the form of animals, people, and automobiles. She has made a Peter Rabbit cake, a frog, a matador, and a 1918 Model T fire truck. A few weeks ago, she made a cake in the form of a fire hydrant for a retirement party at the Boothbay Region Water District.
I contacted Trisha a few weeks ago and kind of groveled. I wanted to learn how she made those balls. She had told me they were simple. I didn’t believe her. Aside from being an amazing cake maker, she’s humble.
She’s also wicked nice, and generous. A couple others were interested in learning the art of edible Christmas balls, too, and one day last week Helen Farnham; Liz Evans’ daughter, Sabine; and I went to Trisha’s studio and made balls.
It wasn’t exactly simple, but it wasn’t rocket science either. When we arrived, Trisha had white chocolate melting in a double boiler and clear plastic ball forms ready to fill.
She showed us how to make a hollow chocolate ball: fill one side of the form, attach it to the other side, and stick it in the freezer, turning every couple minutes to keep the chocolate from settling to the bottom.
When they were solid, we rubbed them around a little to lose the seam, then carefully sprayed them with a colored-luster sugar coating, turning and spraying as they dried. Finally, we applied a few (she does up to six) coats of clear (sugar) glaze.
Once they were all dry and gorgeous, we stuck mini Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups that had been sprayed silver or painted with gold powdered sugar mixed with grain alcohol 🙂 or lemon juice on the top, using a little melted chocolate for glue.
We topped them off with a tiny pasta ring, also painted silver or gold, using another little dab of melted chocolate — and voila! — gorgeous, shiny, edible Christmas balls!
I spent a good six hours the next day making them. It was a blast, but by the time I’d made 13, I was in need of a Manhattan. That made it even more fun :-).
I had gotten a few cute smallish-but-tall cake pans to play with. I attempted to make two little chocolate cakes. Being tall and narrow, baking them is a whole different ball game. I filled the pans too much and the batter runneth over. Oh well, it was time for a good oven-cleaning anyway.
I made a better mini chocolate cake the next day, and I topped it with some of my favorite dark chocolate boiled frosting and some freshly whipped heavy cream.
Then I placed one edible red Christmas ball on top and delivered it to Elli Witt on Christmas Day.
Hope you all had a merry Christmas.
And the beat goes on. See ya next week.
(Suzi Thayer paints, feeds stray cats, eats good food, and drinks Manhattans. She’d love to hear from you with ideas and recipes for her column. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.)