asparagus cake


i recently watched whiplash and black swan. one is about andrew, a jazz drummer, and one is about nina, a ballerina. the movies are very similar; both are about dedicated artists driven to madness by their abusive mentors and their own ambitions to achieve greatness. i see myself in both characters, mainly through andrew’s desire to attain musical perfection and nina’s desire to attain bodily perfection.

a lot of people assume i’m going to culinary school. culinary school is something i considered for a while, but watching these two movies has reaffirmed my choice to attend a regular college. i know that if cooking were something i had to do every single day, and something i were constantly criticized for (my image of culinary school involves a lot of getting yelled at by french chefs), it would lose its joy. i can definitely see myself descending into madness while trying to master a particular technique or impress a particular chef.

anyway, let’s talk about this asparagus cake! this cake took an insaaaaaaanely long time. one of the most time-consuming cakes i’ve ever made, second only to this pancake cake. the hardest part of this cake is staying focused while you’re rolling out your sixty-seventh fondant asparagus tip and you still have thirty more to go. you can’t get sloppy. i don’t expect anyone to actually make this, but it would be fun for a garden party or something.

here’s how i did it:

you’ll need a cake, buttercream, two to three pounds of fondant, wilton’s leaf green and juniper green food colorings, and dark chocolate cocoa powder.

fill and crumb coat a cake with buttercream. i would recommend using a six-inch round cake, because it looks weird to have a bundle of asparagus that’s any bigger than six inches wide. the cake should be at least four inches high. frost with green buttercream. chill.

dye two pounds of fondant green using a combination of wilton’s leaf green and juniper green gel food colorings. keep the fondant in a large ziplock bag while you work to keep it from drying out. set up a workspace: tape a sheet of parchment paper to the counter, get a sharp knife and some sharp scissors, grab some cornstarch, and get to work. sprinkle your hands with cornstarch (this prevents the fondant from sticking). take a golf ball-sized piece of fondant and roll it into a snake with your hands. roll it on the parchment paper until it’s relatively thin (use the pictures for guidance), then cut into three five and a half inch-long pieces. make several snips along the stalks, then make a bunch of tiny snips at the top for the tip. make sure the top is tapered to a point, and also taper the area directly below the tip. repeat until you have roughly forty-five stalks. set aside to dry overnight.

for the tips, roll more snakes but cut them into one and a half-inch pieces. make little snips to match the other tips. make about a hundred of these. set aside to dry overnight.

once dried, use a small paintbrush and some dark chocolate cocoa powder to shade the stalks — brush it onto each snip along the stalks, and coat the tips with it.

to assemble the cake, press the finished stalks into the side of the chilled cake. cover the top with the asparagus tips. tie a length of twine around the cake to make it look like a real bunch of asparagus.


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