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Brunch: The Breakfast of Champions

Brunch is the best meal ever invented. It’s like breakfast on steroids. It’s taking all the rules of mealtimes and throwing them out the window. You want sweet? Go for it. Savory? Sure, why not. Both? What the hell. Drinking at 10 am? No judgement.

Way, way back in the day, when I was attending Mount Holyoke College, each dining hall had their own special menu for Sunday brunch. One had an omelette bar, another had a crepe station. There was a waffle bar, and I believe another had pancakes. There was literally nothing better than waking up at the crack of noon and rushing to brunch before you ran out of time, then gorging yourself on bacon and waffles, or crepes, or omelettes. You get the idea.

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So naturally, a brunch inspired cake is right up my alley. When I decided to cohost a brunch themed cake collaboration (I should probably devote a post to just explaining the baking collab phenomena at some point), I immediately thought: maple blueberry pancakes. Followed by: and bacon. Because what is life without bacon??

I love cake decorating with a passion, but I also actually love baking. My collab schedule has become so crazy lately that I’ve been *gasp* reusing cakes, so I haven’t had a chance to really focus on flavors. For this cake, I did just that. I started with a buttermilk cake recipe by Cindy Rahe that I found on Simply Recipes. I tossed some blueberries in flour and added them in at the end, then I baked it in a ten inch square pan. I actually meant to sub some maple sugar into the cake batter but I completely forgot that plan in the moment. Instead, I made a Swiss Meringue buttercream using this recipe from The Cake Blog, but with half regular, half maple sugar, and then folded in some crushed maple cream sandwich cookies. I topped this with some candied bacon using a recipe from It’s Yummi. Let me tell you, this combo is delicious. I’m still adjusting to my ten inch pan, so my cake came out a tad overdone, but so so good.

Once I had my cake made and ready to decorate, I had to try to frost it. A ten inch square. It was no easy feat, but I used two cardboard cake squares, one on top, one on the bottom, and then carefully removed the top cardboard with thread. I spread a little extra frosting on top to fill in any gaps. I used Veena’s Velvet American Buttercream for this because it creates such a great surface for painting. I mixed some Americolor gels and Everclear vodka to paint a floral tablecloth. I used very broad strokes with a larger brush for this.

 

Now came the decorations. I wanted to go for realistic food, but didn’t want to mimic the flavors, so I decided to do eggs benedict with a complete place setting. Or nearly complete at any rate. I had started on the fork and plate before I made the cake, just to give them plenty of time to dry. Both were made out of gum past. For the fork, I just traced an actual fork onto paper and cut out a template for myself. You have to roll the fork up onto its tines as you trace, in order to get the full shape. After cutting my gum paste fork, I draped it onto the real fork to dry. For the plate, it was pretty much the same, except I just used the plate itself as the template, cut the gum paste, and draped it on the plate so it could dry in the correct shape.

 

Once they were dry, I painted both the fork and the plate. For the fork, I used a gold luster dust mixed with vodka, and for the plate I used Edible Art Paint and Americolor gels mixed with vodka. I found a plate on Google for inspiration and just free handed it. I realize that would not work for everyone, but you could do a simpler pattern, or use a stencil to help.

 

For my napkin, I took a piece of wafer paper, cut a scalloped edge on both ends, and used a hole punch to create a lacy look. Then I brushed both side with vodka until it was flexible, and folded it over to look like a napkin, and let it dry.

 

Next up was my isomalt wine glass. I really wanted an isomalt champagne flute, but molds were expensive, and the only tutorial I could find was for a wine glass. The tutorial I used can be found here. It involved a balloon, a banana hanger, and a silicone mat, and was incredibly helpful, but I still struggled, and broke my first glass. I had to use a lot of isomalt to connect the pieces, and didn’t have a torch to clean it up, so it was a bit on the messy side when finished. I think this is a skill where practice would definitely make perfect. At any rate, I did end up with something usable, that did hold liquid, so it was a win in my book.

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After all that clowning around, it was time to fashion myself an English muffin, some Canadian bacon, and an egg. I used fondant for the bacon and egg, then dusted the edges with brown petal dust. For the English muffin, I cut a round from my cake top, then frosted around the edges with buttercream, allowing the top edge to stay rough. Then I patted some round, white sprinkles into the sides. I stacked my eggs benedict up on my gum paste plate, then poured some melted white chocolate on top for Hollandaise sauce, and sprinkled on some lime zest for parsley.

 

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After arranging my table setting on my cake, I poured some orange Gatorade in my isomalt glass (classy, right?), and I was ready to go. This might be one of my very favorite cakes to date. Let me know what you think in the comments, and if you have any questions, be sure to let me know!

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