The Runner, the Baker, the Wedding Cake Maker: Roaring Fun Dessert
A chocolate cake made in the spirit of the 1920s makes for a perfect 29th birthday celebration
I didn’t really have to make my own birthday cake. My mom volunteered to, but I had a vision.
I had a big vision for my 29th birthday in general.
To kick off my last year as a 20-something, I decided to have a Roaring Twenties party. Nothing says celebration like the era of speakeasies, flappers and jazz.
I’ll admit I wasn’t looking forward to this birthday, so I decided throwing a big party would make me more excited. And it did. I love throwing parties.
And if I do say so myself, this was one of my best parties yet. We had a jazz trio, drank mint juleps and danced the Charleston.
It was a costume party, of course. Everyone got into the spirit. We had everything from flappers to farmers and even Frida Kahlo.
The fashion of the 1920s is what inspired my cake. I modeled the cloche hat after my hat I wore for the party.
It took some trial and error to figure out how best to make the fondant hat. I ended up using a cupcake, which worked out perfectly.
The pearls weren’t too hard to make, thanks to some dental floss.
I’ve played around with fondant before, but I didn’t want to cover the entire cake in it. So I just covered it in chocolate buttercream.
The cake itself was dark chocolate, a recipe from my great grandma’s recipe book from 1926, fitting in nicely into the 1920s theme.
So here are the recipe and instructions if you want to make your own Roaring Twenties cake.
Grandma Opie’s Dark Chocolate Cake
1/2 cup cocoa. Fill cup with hot water and cook until quite thick, then cool.*
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup butter or lard
3 egg yolks creamed together
3/4 cup sour milk or buttermilk
2 cups flour
1 rounded teaspoon soda
Beat whites of eggs stiff and fold in at the last.
Bake in moderate oven.
I was quite skeptical that cocoa and water would thicken, but it thickened enough to coat a spoon. I cooked it over medium heat until it boiled. I let it boil for a minute, then I took it off the heat and let it cool.
I baked it in two 8-inch round pans at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes.
What you’ll need to make hat and pearls:
Two cupcakes (I used some of the batter from the cake)
Black gel icing coloring (or whatever color you want the hat)
To make the pearls:
- Roll fondant into a little ball, the size of pearl you want.
- Stick a toothpick through the middle.
- Thread the dental floss through it.
- Continue with as many pearls as you want.
- Tie the two ends of the dental floss together.
To make the hat:
- I used a cupcake a half. I cut off the bottom of a cupcake and stacked it on the bottom of the other cupcake, to make the hat a little taller. I didn’t cover the cupcake in frosting before I covered it in fondant, but you can if you want to.
- Color the fondant. Dip a toothpick in the gel and spread it on the ball of fondant. Knead the color through by stretching the fondant out, then folding it over and repeating until the color is even. Add more color if you want it darker. I originally was going to make the hat black, but I just stopped at gray.
- Roll out the fondant. If the fondant is sticking, a little powdered sugar will help. Roll it into a piece big enough to cover the entire cupcake.
- Place the fondant over the top of the cupcake. Smooth it out with your hands and cut off the excess at the bottom. I used a fondant roller, which is basically a mini, plastic pizza cutter. Don’t worry if you can’t get it totally even and smooth at the bottom. You will be placing the hat brim around it anyway.
- Roll and cut out a strip of fondant long enough to wrap all the way around the hat. Mine was about half an inch wide.
- Wrap the strip around the bottom of the hat. Cut off the excess. I let it overlap a little and pressed the ends together to seal it. Then I lifted the edge of the brim a little bit to shape it.
- Cut out a strip of fondant about a fourth of an inch wide that will wrap around the hat. This will be the ribbon to cover the seam.
- Wrap it around the hat along the seam. Again, I left a little overlap and pressed the ends together.
- For the bow, I just cut the shape out of fondant with the fondant cutter. It took me a few tries. Then, cut a little piece to wrap around the center of the bow.
- I got the bow to stick on the hat by dabbing a little water on the back with a paintbrush before I stuck it on.
For the 29, I just melted vanilla-flavored yellow candy wafers in the microwave and poured them in a numbers mold. Then I let them set up in the fridge.