26 Feb 2011

A cake of gothic proportions

Reason tells me that to attempt this cake would be a folly, that it would be structurally impossible, that not even the most wizened pastry chef would attempt it. And yet, there is one place where it can exist - in my imagination. Here is the cake I would like to have baked for Angela Carter's The Magic Toyshop.

My Black Forest monstrosity would be three tiers high and fashioned in Topsy Turvy style with a symbolically coloured middle layer in each tier. I will attempt to construct it visually from words:

Chocolate Cake
Whipped Cream
Pink Sponge Cake
Cherry Pie Filling
Chocolate Cake
Chocolate Fondant
Chocolate Cake Chocolate Cake
Whipped Cream Whipped Cream
  Blue Sponge Cake Blue Sponge Cake
Cherry Pie Filling Cherry Pie Filling
Chocolate Cake Chocolate Cake
Chocolate Fondant Chocolate Fondant
Chocolate Cake Chocolate Cake Chocolate Cake
Whipped Cream Whipped Cream Whipped Cream
Orange Sponge Cake Orange Sponge Cake Orange Sponge
Cherry Pie Filling Cherry Pie Filling Cherry Pie Filling
Chocolate Cake Chocolate Cake Chocolate Cake

Then the whole cake would be covered in a soft meringue and blow torched to perfection. (Just like this Coconut Cream Cake with Toasted Frosting from Zoe Bakes). Now I know what you're thinking, "There's no meringue on a Black Forest cake!" Well, this is no ordinary Black Forest cake. (Plus Wikipedia tells me that the Swedish version of this cake, Schwarzwaldtårta, is made with meringue and whipped cream). I'm using it to symbolise the puppet swan which Melanie herself describes on page 166 as, "light as meringue". The coloured layers of the cake, if you hadn't guessed already, are: Pink = Victoria, Blue = Jonathon, Orange = Francie, Margaret & Finn. Melanie is portrayed in both the whipped cream and the cherries, juxtaposing virginity with her sexual fantasies. Uncle Philip is present in the darkness of the chocolate which permeates every layer of the cake as well as the smothering meringue of his hideous swan. The torching of the meringue represents Finn's destruction of the swan as well as the destruction of the house by fire.

My final creation will incorporate a few of these symbolic interpretations on a much more modest scale. I'd better get baking...

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