Somewhere, over the Rainbow,
And the dreams that you dreamed of
Dreams really do come true
Sometimes we really do ‘eat with our eyes’.
Because the easier a dish is on the eye, the more appetising it appears.
But there have been times I have regretted eating a fancy dessert because it really didn’t taste half as good as it looked. (We’ve all been there!)
However, in polite company, you can hardly check the gastronomic appeal of any potential eye-candy ‘afters’ (that you might fancy the look of ) by probing, sniffing or even ‘giving it a little taste’ before diving in, can you?
So if your eyeballs really can’t resist that pud, you’ll just have to take it as it comes.
But food-misjudgements based on visual first impressions can not only leave you feeling tragically let down, (especially if you’re already having a bad day!) but also, sadly, always have to be entered in the ‘wasted calories’ column of your diet spread-sheet.
You might as well have eaten the equivalent energy units in something you didn’t remotely hanker after, but which you know would have been really good for you (even as you were nearly choking on it). How about whole-wheat pasta with tofu and kale and a sprouted mung bean side-salad thrown in?
Less than attractive?
At least you wouldn’t have to beat yourself up about it later.
It was fortunate then that I could rest assured that a carefully constructed riot of party colour in the form of a rainbow cake my bro-in-law and sister decided to bake for their daughter’s 10th birthday was not only guaranteed to be a feast for the eyes, but was never going to be a disappointment in either taste or texture.
Not only are their three in-house mini-critics far too discerning to tolerate anything remotely resembling failure, but over the last decade, said critics have made sure their parents have had enough practice at alchemic home baking to never let anything less than palatable manifest itself from the vast ether of the as-yet unrealised cake-realm.
The real secret of today’s mystic spell is to ditch liquid food-colouring in favour of its far more potent counterpart of gel.
If Wizard Baker (Dad) follows that golden rule this sturdy sponge chateau-wall of a birthday-gateau tall will materialise to taste as good as it looks.
And there’s a lot of precision (engineering) going into it as well. Those lively layers need to be built right up before the celebratory gathering commences.
Under (careful) Construction
So I eagerly jump aboard the East London Line from Hoxton, before switching to a leafy tram-ride out of darkest West Croydon, through the enchanted woodlands that wondrously change from London into Kent, and all the way to Elmers End, where all the while the magic cake is being deftly assembled before the first guests arrive.
And, lo, the finished product is lovingly coated in unadorned but enigmatic aquamarine icing to lend it an elegant mystique, while a generous Smartie smothering at its summit convenes a special session of Candy-coated-chocolate Congress that hints at even livelier secrets as yet unrevealed within the deep blue depths below.
To crown it all, a quirky candelabrum stands proud on top to make a celebratory statement of its own. What does it matter if it only has nine candle prongs? Surely no-one’s counting, when we all know the birthday girl is ten.
(If she doesn’t mind, why should anyone else?)
This sight of this alone was worth the rickety tram-ride through the woods….
Enigmatic in Blue (and no-one’s counting the candles)
Best of all, a rainbow cake has to be one of the few carefully crafted desserts on our own blue planet that you don’t have to feel even feel slightly guilty about as you give it that first ceremonial cut.
Because any damage necessarily inflicted on this cool and alluring Beauty in Blue in order to fairly share and politely consume it will only serve to enhance its aesthetic appeal.
For we’re sure to find some sweet bright lava levels down beneath Planet Cake’s serenely shimmering sapphire surface.
So, as the (double-figures) birthday girl carefully presses in the blade, she’s wholly confident it’s going to leave behind a nothing-less-than gloriously technicolour wound.
What other cake can create such a buzz before you’ve even tasted it?
Smarties falling into the Abyss (through the Loveliest of Lacerations)
As gorgeous slice after slice is neatly cleaved away, the feelgood factor takes hold of us one by one, to make us each feel happy and special.
Ready to tumble – Smarties on the precipice
Close your eyes (but only for a fleeting moment) and you’d think a light and moist classic Victoria Sponge with buttercream was passing your lips.
But this is one pretty little portion you really do need to savour with your peepers (wide open) to get the full party-popping flavour.
Eat with your Eyes
Of course, anything multi-coloured is, by definition, uplifting, but if that specific something just happens to be a big beautiful cake, well, how can you top that ?
(More Smarties anyone?)