Monday, 6 June 2011

Death by Cake

My lovely friend Kate celebrated "not a big birthday at all" with a lunch this weekend at the Black Bull in Corbridge. Her husband Marc had asked me to make her a birthday carrot cake with the theme of Murder on the Orient Express. Specifically, a scene of the murder victim with a knife in his chest.

It's not often that I'm asked for carrot cake and even less often that I'm asked to depict a murder scene, but I was game. I've never read Agatha Christie's novel, but Wikipedia told me that it's about a person who gets done in on a train, which came as a surprise. The dead man is Mr Ratchett, also known as Cassetti, a nasty piece of work by all accounts. I modelled him on Kate's husband and made the murder weapon by glueing modelling paste to a piece of linguine and painting it with the beautiful silver highlighter powder I smuggled home from New York.

Silver highlighter is no longer available in the UK thanks to EU regulations. I've heard many a wistful sigh from cake makers about days when the EU weren't overly bothered about edible powders and concentrated more on deadly German cucumbers. Incidentally, edible glitter can't be digested by the body and, like sweetcorn, passes through the alimentary canal untouched. So if you eat enough edible glitter, you apparently get a glittery poo. I would love to test this and think it would work best if the results can be captured in a nappy. If anyone has a baby they'd be happy to feed with glitter, please could you get in touch?

Anyway back to Mr Ratchett and his imminent death by linguine. It was strangely satisfying to slide the knife into his chest and part of me wished I practised voodoo. I might do a nightclass in it this autumn.
I'd Googled images of Murder on the Orient Express and shamelessly copied them used them as inspiration for a design with burgundy carriage decor, a snow scene through the window and travel trunks.
The star of the show, Hercule Poirot, came in the form of cake pops. Twenty of them. Marc had asked me to avoid making them look like Hitler, so I modelled them on David Suchet and his splendid moustache.
The Poirots were bagged up for the party, the little ribbons passing (I hoped) for bow ties. 
Kate very generously shared both her cake and cake pops with all her guests, which we managed to eat even after a huge lunch (I highly recommend the deep fried halloumi as a vegetarian alternative to fish and chips), a solid foundation for the day of drinking that lay ahead.

Happy not a big birthday at all, Kate! x

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