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Sunday, August 29, 2021

Day 17

After my post yesterday I was reminded of some of the amazing cake designs I’ve seen and started to reflect on the most stressful part of any celebratory function: the task of moving the cake from show to the kitchen. Years ago, waitering at a 50th birthday celebration I was given said task. It was a croquembouche. A high and mighty tower dolled up with edible flowers and the majestic strings of caramel. I had my left hand under the base and my right holding it, though upon entering the kitchen the shirt sleeve of my left arm got caught on the door latch, causing my hand to stop in position while the rest of my body and the croquembouche propelled forward. Then, for the tower, downwards - in a very slow motion. If there has ever been one thing I suggest people to experience in life it is the sound of a croquembouche hitting the ground: the snapping and crackling of the caramelised sugar is so sensual and mesmerising - a perfectly cooked pork belly is the closest I’ve come to replicating the same experience. On hearing the sound my then manager turned to me and exclaimed “What did you do‽” - “I dropped the cake?” - “Yes, but what do we do now?” Fortunately for me the client had also supplied spare profiteroles, with the original plan to pull the tower apart and present them on platters to each table, using the spare rolls to top-up as required. To this day, the client nor her guests know that the platters were made up solely from the spare rolls. A recent and in my humble opinion much wiser option for celebratory events are faux cakes, usually a piece of styrofoam decorated to the hills and accompanied by a slab of delicious and perfectly baked cake. All too often I’ve seen some amazing piece of artwork covering a dry and tasteless cake. In addition to meeting the standards of both worlds - design and flavour - faux cakes also remove the stress of transport and adapt perfectly to schedules or service times (the portioning and cutting of a cake often takes more time then clients realise) - it’s certainly a technique coined by a hospitality worker. Thankfully though, the Cake Gods have protected me ever since the fallen croquembouche.