You remind me of the babe
The babe with the power
The power of voodoo
Remind me of the babe!
You know who’s a total babe? My friend Kate. She is also the most impressive fancy dresser I know, proven by her win of best costume at my 30th (she was a TV, with actual turnable knobs! Turnable knobs!!), so it was no surprise when her 30th birthday celebrations also required trawling eBay and Good Sammy’s stores to whip up a costume to suit her “once upon a time” theme.
The birthday girl decided to take us all back to that magical time when hair was big and codpieces were even bigger, and came as David Bowie’s Goblin King Jareth from Labyrinth. It was a killer costume, complete with super creepy baby Toby, but missing one minor detail – his crystal ball.
What kind of magic spell to use?
Slime and snails? Or puppy dog tails?
Thunder or lightning?
Then baby said…..
In true fairytale style, there was a real moment of peril in the creation of this edible crystal ball, when my stand mixer decided to make an alarming burny smell and stop mixing. In the middle of making Swiss meringue buttercream. For the uninitiated, Swiss meringue buttercream is not something you want to make by hand, unless you have Fezzik to help you, so all seemed lost until a desperate call to my friend Caroline confirmed her lovely shiny red KitchenAid could save the day. Hurrah! I really should return it to her today, but… we’ve really bonded over the buttercream mixing.. it’s made friends with my kettle and toaster… and yet, I know that if you truly love something you must set it free, so I will distract the kettle and toaster with some tea and muffins and whisk ol’ Red back from whence he came. As whiskily as I can be with something that weighs as much as a small child. A small, shiny, red, magical child. Sigh…
Kate’s party was fantastic, cruising the Swan River surrounded by princesses and an ogre and Luck Dragon and wizard even a sneaky puss, wearing boots of all things! The Swan River is a pretty friendly place, with everyone waving or cheersing each other as you pass other boats, and we even copped a flash by one girl who wasn’t read enough fairytales when she was a little girl.
When cake o’clock arrived, the Goblin King was appeased with her crystal ball and we were saved from having to complete his labyrinth. Phew! I was dreading the Bog of Eternal Stench, despite rigorous training for it’s horrors throughout my childhood.
I wish I could bottle people’s facial expressions when a surprise rainbow cake is revealed, for those moments when I’m feeling a bit down.
Getting back to a bit of caketalk, Swiss meringue buttercream is now my go-to icing. It’s super fluffy, very stable, and is deliciously buttery without that tooth-aching sweetness you can get in most normal buttercreams. It takes a fair bit more work than a regular buttercream, given that you need to pasteurize egg whites prior to whipping them, but it’s well worth the effort. The pasteurisation step, which is not included in some other forms of meringue buttercream, also means that it’s perfectly safe for pregnant ladies to eat. I have found Sweetapolita’s posts on SMB really useful, which you can find here and here.
The fondant I used for this cake was a ready-to-roll white chocolate icing, and then I covered it in golden edible dust to get a shimmery crystal effect and also cover myself and my kitchen in magic.
And, I could hardly write this post without sharing our costumes with you. The Princess Bride was such a part of my childhood, joining the Round the Twist and The Storyteller shows as staples in the school-term-is-almost-over-let’s-just-show-the-kids-stuff-on-TV repertoire. On those enormous TVs on wheels. After briefly toying with the idea of dressing as Hansel and Gretel, mainly to get Fletch into lederhosen, we decided that Buttercup and Westley would allow us more warm clothing, and the lost lederhosen lols were more than made up for by my blondeness and Fletch’s gallant moustache growing.
Happy birthday lovely Kate, it was a pleasure to share it with you and I hope I haven’t given you the diabetes gift that keeps on giving with all the leftover cake xxx