Making this cake this week has stirred up all sorts of emotions. ANZAC Day triggers of all sorts of memories and connnections for me and making this cake meant I had a long time to think about them.
Firstly, my grandparents were in the Air Force, that is where they met, thanks to the stars above! They are amazing people, full of love, loyalty, family focused and with that typical have a go Aussie attitude. More importantly, they loved us unconditionally and were incredibly interesting people to grow up with. Oh, the stories they can tell. They just lived in a different era and have been through a lot, and their stories are always fascinating to me. I love them with all my heart. Thank you to the Air Force for bring them together and allowing me to know them.
Secondly, I have very early memories of standing in freezing cold darkness for the Anzac day service in Melbourne with my parents, whose friends served in the Vietnam War. Not much needs to be said about the mixed feelings that war stirs up in people, especially the poor servicemen that had to serve in it and the changed way many of them came back.
Thirdly, ANZAC day conjours up very recent memories of good times spent with close friends and family celebrating all things great about Australia and what these people fought for. Football! In Melbourne, ANZAC day means attending the dawn service, a BBQ in the carpark at the MCG (Melbourne Cricket Ground, for the uneducated), before the BIG GAME of Football inside the hallowed ground!! Collingwood v Essendon. Not to mention the parade of the service men, who fought in the war and played football, around the ground and the playing of the Last Post. Always a great day, the ground is filled to capacity and the emotions are high.
I am really missing Melbourne and the traditional game this week. Wish I could be there. Sharing the day with my family and friends. Not that ANZAC day isn't big in the Alice. We have the service on Anzac Hill with beautiful views of the MacDonnell Ranges and the town. We have a parade and then the RSL goes off! It helps that we have an operating American/Australian Base just out of town, Pine Gap and current servicemen.
Anyway, what ever you are doing, do it with style and remember and celebrate all the reasons this country is mostly, so great!
Phew! Back to the cake....
This one is a white chocolate mud cake. I have never really got this cake. To me it just tastes like a rich pound cake. However I am a convert. Not because of the cake, still think it tastes like a rich pound or butter cake, but because you have to ganache these cakes in white chocolate before covering it. The ganache really lifts the cake! Helps bring out the flavour. So I guess the morale is, don't eat white chocolate mud cake unless it has white chocolate ganache covering it!
I basically started with a 8 inch square cake and trimed it to a rectangle by cutting some off one side and putting it on another. I then carved in the flag shape. It was my second attempt at carving and my first attempt free hand. I was surprised how easy it is once you relax and remember to breathe! I also think it helps if you have refridgerated the cake beforehand.
Missed all this photo wise but here is a snap of the shape ganached.
Then on with the blue icing. Can I tell you, this icing colour was quite tricky to achieve and I had to let it rest for a couple of hours until I could come back and try again, it sort of went teal before it went blue. And this colour leaves a mighty blue stain on your tongue! It is fascinating working with fondant icing, the more experience I get, the more confident I get (er, duh!). You can just manipulate it so many different ways, like into the shape of a flag! LOL.
Then on to the other elements of the flag - the stars, the union jack, the pole and rope.
In theory the rope should be gold but I don't have all the supplies a decorator needs yet, so lets just call this one the "poor man's" version. Everything on the cake is edible.
I have never looked at the Australian flag so closely. I wanted it to be authentic, many of the cake examples I have seen are not. For example, the stars. Who knew they had seven points? All my star cutters have six or less, so I hand cut these ones. Most other people just go with what they have got. I think it was my OCD coming out. Gosh it's tiring sometimes!
Also, the small red stripes on the Union Jack do not line up or just go straight through. So it is not just a matter of a "X". You need to put them on opposite sides of the white stripe once you cross the "cross" in the middle. Confused yet? Google a flag, or look closely at this one, you will see what I mean.
Here are some more pics of the finished product. My piping was good on this cake, but then I had to paint over it in red to make it stand out and that is where it went dodgy. I will go with a different plan next time.
I hope you like it.