donderdag 29 november 2007

Gingerbread townhouse cake -part 1

As soon as I received the december issue of Martha Stewart Living and saw the cake on the cover, I knew I HAD to make it. It is beyond gorgeous. I have always loved gingerbread and have made so many houses and other structures I lost count, but what did it for me this time was that the cookies surrounding the cake reminded me of Amsterdam town houses. So I looked up the recipe in the magazine without even looking at anything else. And there it was in all its glory. Three different frostings (gingerbread buttercream, 7-minute forsting and royal icing), two different cake components (a genoise and a walnut daquise) and of course, the cookies, which are made from two different doughs.
Almost 40 eggs and over 3 lbs of butter. Now is that impressive or what??

The hard part was finding an occasion to make it for. I couldn't justify two people having a sliver of cake, not knowing what else to do with the rest, looking at these ingredients. But then, Marco had to work three weekends in a row, and his collegues make a perfectly sized group for sharing. Plus, they love baked goods :o).
So I got going. I prepared the genoise Sunday, and *loved* the recipe, judging on the scraps I tried. It's in the freezer now, and we'll see how it held up tomorrow. Then I got going on the cookies, and honestly, they were a pain in the you-know-what to make. Two kinds of doughs, that need to be mixed, chilled, rolled out, frozen, cut out, frozen, decorated with windows, refrozen, and baked. A dozen cookies took me almost three hours and they weren't even decorated at that point. I ran into a little trouble with these cookies. YOu are instructed to cut out windows and doors to decorate the cookies with, contrasting the types of dough to create more interest with the different colors. What should have been noted though, is that the dough for the windows should be rolled THINNER than the dough you cut your templates out of, because the thicker windows distort the cookie shapes when baking. I swear, the minute I saw it happening, I was reminded of the same problem I had with these cookies that have appliqué dough as well (also Martha Stewart ;o))
But, as I said, it was only until I saw my cookies bend out of shape that I remembered having seen this before. And I wasn't about to spend another three hours on 12 cookies. So I tried to cut somewhat cleaner edges, and froze them.
Today I got them out and decorated with royal icing, and I have to say, in spite of the fact that they are prone to breaking on top of everything else, they are so cute that all is forgiven :o).
Here are the results, pictured next to the cookies in the magazine:
So that leaves the buttercream for tomorrow, as well as the construction of the cake. The daquise layers are also ready to go (and they gave me grief also, one has broken into more shreds than I care to mention), and I'm determined to make this a succes. So determined, that I'm getting up at 5.30 a.m. on Saturday to make the 7 minute frosting and get the cookies up before Marco leaves for work around 6.45.
And after that, I'm afraid I'll have to come up with some baking solution, as my oven will be removed from our house for a repair tomorrow.
What in the world am I going to do with myself without an oven?? And if nothing else, I need to keep up with my blog! The last word hasn't been spoken on this issue yet, that's for sure!

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