Thursday, October 30, 2008

Jen's Best Darn Birthday Cake Ever

There are a few things you positively must have at a birthday party to make it a genuinely spectacular bash, and they are as follows: great friends and family, a super cute new dress (possibly from H&M), a bottomless champagne flute, spicy Ike's fish sauce chicken wings from Pok Pok, some sort of outlandish pink frilly head ornament, stacks of clever presents, and perhaps most important of all, a truly amazing Cake. I've eaten a lot of cake in my time to be sure, so it is no trivial matter that I proclaim this year's birthday cake My Best Darn Birthday Cake Ever.

See, my friend Jeff and I butt heads now and then, which I have always openly attributed to the fact that he is an Aquarian (stubborn and irksome) and I am a Scorpio (proud and perfect). But when I opened the big white box he brought to my birthday festivities Tuesday night, all battles past were forgotten. I nearly swooned. Nestled inside, on a bed of crispy sandy sugary chocolate crumbs, was the most gorgeous giant mottled silvery-gray Scorpion Cake you'd ever hope to see, from Portland's own Miss Zumstein Cakes and Desserts.

A collective gasp went up around the table as everyone ogled the shimmering, anatomically correct (at least it looked it, I've never cared to get close enough to a scorpion to be an expert on its anatomy) Scorpion Cake, which was sculpted from two layers of incredibly moist inky dark chocolate buttermilk cake separated with a thin layer of rich bittersweet chocolate icing, then slathered with sweet creamy chocolate buttercream (in which I swear I tasted a hint of coffee) and then wrapped in sparkling silvery fondant. In his pinchers, the Scorpion regally held a fondant banner wishing me Happy Birthday, which was sweet of him. The Scorpion Cake was nothing less than a work of art.

Candles were reluctantly pressed into the Scorpion's pristine fondant shell and I made a wish, which in accordance with wish-making protocol I will not reveal, but it rhymes with Borange Boven in the Billiams-Bomona Bindow Bowntown.

Then, I, I mean WE, ate cake.

Miss Zumstein, aka Anja Spence, is not only a cake-maker and baker extraordinaire (click HERE to salivate over a few of her speciality desserts), she is also the pastry chef at one of our favorite Portland restaurants, Cava. In fact, we still think about the brownie sundae she made at our Table For Twelve supper club event at Cava, many moons ago. It was that good. So if you might be in need of a Scorpion Cake of your own, or a cookie box filled with Snicker Doodles, Chocolate Shortbread, and Poppyseed Tangerine cookies, or cream-filled Profiteroles, Cappuccino Brownies, Lemon Cream Tartlets and Marzipan Petit Fours for your next tea party, or a collection of mini cupcakes (how about Ginger with Buttercream, or Coconut with Toasted Meringue Icing?) or maybe even a stunningly beautiful snow white Oregon Strawberry wedding cake, we cannot recommend Miss Zumstein highly enough.

And now if you will excuse me, it is midnight, which means I am heading to the kitchen for a tall glass of freezing cold n frothy whole milk and a slice of scrumptious leftover birthday...



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