November 5, 2008
Let them eat cake
The election of Barack Obama as President was a moment I'll never forget. It was epic and inspiring and emotional all at once. People cried and celebrated all over the world. It marked a turning point not just for his supporters but for everyone. Most people will tell their children where they were when the first African-American was elected president of the United States.
I, for one, will tell them about my cake. This cake is special for two reasons: one because it marks a personal first for me, as in the first time I've ever felt patriotic enough to make an American flag cake. And two, because my mom always made this cake for the 4th of July and it holds a special place in my family's heart. Mom was very patriotic and loved to bake and throw parties.
I had about 30 people over to watch the election results together. It was a great party. People ate, drank, watched and cheered as the race turned into an electoral landslide. I made lots of food and some people brought food and we went through many bottles of wine and bubbly.
I decorated the house in red, white and blue and had a lot of fun doing it. I made "bombay sliders" (an Indian twist on an American staple, don't ask why) and a warm potato salad with arugula that was a huge hit. The sliders I found in a F&W issue from a long time ago and they have curry and cumin, green onions and cilantro mixed with the beef or ground turkey. Yum. I assembled them on a big platter with heirloom tomatoes (the last from my garden), a piece of lettuce and a curry-mayo sauce.
Other hits included this "mousseline" of three cheeses, pesto and sundried tomatoes in the shape of an egg (something else my mom would have loved), made by our friend Judy Forsythe.
I also made a plate of mascarpone brownies that got eaten in two seconds. But the cake --brought out at the point when Ohio was announced for maximum effect --was the biggest winner other than Obama.
It's just a white sheet cake with cream cheese frosting. The recipe came from the Barefoot Contessa's book and it was a perfect cake recipe--light and moist and very easy to make. This is one I am sure I will make again and again.
The flag is typically made with raspberries or strawberries, and blueberries for the stars. That's fine if it's July and berries are plentiful and cheap. But it's November and they're way out. So I used strawberry jam for the stripes and oh lucky me, I found concord grapes at the market that were perfectly round and blue! They have the tiniest of seeds but the the kind you don't mind eating. I can tell you that nobody minded eating them on this cake.
So when my Election Party 2008 was over and all that remained was the star confetti on the floor, I smiled and went to bed happy and feeling hopeful for the future.