Pride is always a time of year that has me on a bit of a self reflection bender or as my good friend Chiquita would say…”Time for me to take a self-inventory.” Obviously, it’s also a week full of too much alcohol (is there really such a thing?) , hot mens (yes..MENS!), being shirtless, short shorts, more alcohol, PRIDE CAKES, and then some.
In just the past year we as a community have garnered the support of our president and have made major strides for equality. I am certainly not here to beat you over the head with every thing you already know but I am here to pose to the question of what Pride means.
I recently went on a date with a boy who believes that we shouldn’t have a Pride parade and that there shouldn’t be a Pride week at all. The argument in short is that the strides we have made have been so huge that it’s an outdated custom and there isn’t really a need for it anymore. “Heterosexuals don’t have a parade..” but let’s think about this…
I live in NYC one of the greatest cities in the world…hate crimes are still happening. I was recently verbally accosted for walking down the street in Tribeca AND I live in a city laden with gays! In other cities kids are still being killed/killing themselves for the lack of education, the lack of support groups, people are still getting fired for being gay and the list goes on. Strides we have made, yes, but there is still a long way to go as far as acceptance goes. So, why do we still and always need a Pride March? To show the world that we are no different from anyone else, maybe just more fun! We need it to show our closeted and afraid youngsters that it’s okay to live your life this way no matter what anyone says and we need it as support for each other. LGBT people go through so much between the hate, the coming out, the inward and outward dealing with it all that the March acts as a huge embrace, saying “it’ll all be okay.”
My good friend Ryan is a cancer survivor and every year he proudly celebrates his recovery and his birthday by having a Central Park Elementary School games day. You heard right…Potato sack races, tug of war and all. Instead of gifts he collects donations for the Lymphoma Leukemia Society. Fabulous right? RIGHT! When he called me and asked for a cake naturally I said yes but being in such a reflective PRIDE state, as well as having the opportunity to strut my stuff for a fabulous birthday event, I couldn’t just make any ol’ cake.I had seen rainbow cakes done many a time by many a food blogger and I decided it was time to make one Kitchen Gaily style! I started with looking for a great cake base recipe and finally decided on the White Cake recipe from The Joy of Cooking. It’s simple, well composed, makes enough for all six layers in one batch and is really freakin’ tasty! Why didn’t I use my own cake recipe? cause I’m not a pro baker and I needed something that was a sure fire hit!
White Cake Recipe from The Joy of Cooking
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Have all ingredients at about 75 degrees.
Sift before measuring:
3 1/2 cups cake flour
Resift twice with:
4 teaspoons double-acting
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups sugar
1 cup butter
1 cup milk
Stir the batter until smooth after each addition.
1 teaspoon vanilla (real vanilla please!)
(1/4 teaspoon almond extract)
Whip until stiff, but not dry:
7 or 8 egg whites (I used 8 ’cause why not?)
Fold them lightly into the cake batter.
(This is where it’s different for the rainbow cake) Separate batter into 6 parts, it comes out to about 1.5 cups per bowl. Using gel coloring, as regular food coloring won’t be as vibrant and may water down batter, color each of that batters one color of the rainbow (red, orange, yellow, green, orange, blue, violet) Bake in greased/floured pans for about 10 mins minutes. Remove from oven and let cool a little before removing to let fully cool on a rack.
Okay cake recipe down now what about the icing and filling? It can’t just be any ol’ filling and it had to say summer, park, and charity delicious. I finally thought of strawberry/banana/dark rum butter cream. Why? ‘Cause who doesn’t love liquor, strawberry and bananas? DUH!
I started with this recipe from Gluten Free Canteen but then didn’t think there was enough banana, strawberry and I added about a cup of rum so I basically tripled it cause it was too juicy to begin with, which made an awesome filling/crumb coat, and then the thicker, correct version of the buttercream worked great as icing.
Strawberry Banana Cream Cheese Buttercream (triple it or just go to town you need a lot of it’ cause it’s a big cake…you really can’t mess this up)
- 4 TBS unsalted butter, chilled room temperature
- (2 oz.) cold cream cheese, broken into chunks
- (4.25 cups) powdered sugar, sifted
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 3 tablespoons pureed strawberries (not strained)
- 2 tablespoons pureed banana
Then it had to be summer outdoors park friendly, aka withstand the heat. I decided to make my own fondant because I was reading that it wasn’t that hard and you know how I love a challenge. I wanted it to be glittery and hot pink and there it was…my idea for the perfect Pride Charity Birthday Cake.
Marshmallow Fondant from Bakingdom.com
21 ounces mini white marshmallows (2-10.5 ounce bags)
1/2 cup butter or margarine
2 pounds confectioners’ sugar, plus more for dusting
1-3 tablespoons water
Place the butter and marshmallows in a large microwave safe bowl or double boiler (in place of a double boiler, you can use a large sauce pan and large bowl, directions to follow). I prefer the double boiler.
Microwave directions: Place the bowl in the microwave and cook for 30 seconds. Remove and stir thoroughly. Repeat these two steps until the everything is completely melted and well mixed.
Double boiler directions (sauce pan): Fill the bottom pan (or sauce pan) with a few of inches of shallow water and bring to a simmer. Place the ingredients in the top of the double boiler (or in a large bowl placed on top of the sauce pan). Stir frequently until completely melted and well blended.
If using a standing mixer, put half of the sugar in the bowl and pour the marshmallow mixture on top. Put the other half of the sugar on top of that and turn the mixer onto it’s lowest setting. As it mixes, add 1/2 teaspoon at a time of water, as needed, to soften the mixture. Be careful not to add too much or it will get too sticky. Mix just until a dough forms.
Generously dust the countertop with confectioners’ sugar. Pour the fondant mixture in the middle. Coat your hands in confectioners’ sugar and sprinkle more on top of the mixture. If you are mixing by hand, this is going to be very sticky (and hot), but begin kneading the mixture and sugar together, generously adding the other half of the sugar to the mixture, as needed.
Continue kneading the dough until it is smooth and firm, adding more sugar to the countertop and hands, as needed. If the dough becomes to dry and tears easily, add a little water to soften it, being very careful not to add too much.
Lightly dust the fondant with confectioners’ sugar and place it in a large zippered bag, squeezing out as much air as possible before sealing. Let it rest at room temperature at least overnight before using. You can use it right away on small projects, like covering cupcakes, but it will be too soft to do anything larger or to sculpt with.
This recipe holds well in the refrigerator for weeks, so it is helpful to make it ahead when you know you have an event or project coming up. If you make it ahead, just remove it from the refrigerator, allow it to rest, sealed and at room temperature, for at least 24 hours before using it.
To use your fondant, dust the countertop with confectioners’ sugar. Place the fondant in the microwave for 10 seconds (no more) to soften it. Place on the counter and knead for a couple of minutes to soften further. Now you’re ready to add color, roll it out, or start sculpting! (I actually added the color when it came together in the double boiler and it worked really well!)
There you have it folks! The Gay Gourmet’s!™ super fabulous Pride Cake! It was a sure fire hit!
Be safe out there, love one another and Happy Pride y’all!!
The Kitchen Gaily