We were so happy to have been a part of Maplewood and South Orange’s South Mountain Elementary School silent auction fundraiser, featuring our hand-sculpted “Moroccan Lantern Cake”. The theme of the auction was “Back to the Oasis”; beautifully decorated in an authentic Moroccan style.
Truth be told, I have a thing for all art made in a Moorish style. I just can’t get enough of all those beautiful, intricately designed tiles and architectural carvings, multi-colored lamps, and romantic scenes of Moroccan pillows and fabric. So I was so excited to be designing a cake, serving 250 guests, that would fit in with the theme. Where to start? I went through pages and pages of Moroccan Art trying to find the essence of Moroccan beauty; something that was traditionally Moroccan but unique and stylish. I love this part of what I do.
Then I found it, a page on lanterns; how romantic and mesmerizing. I sketched designs resembling an intricate, hand-stamped silver Moroccan lantern shape with multi-colored panels, matching the color swatches given to me by NIV- the interior decorator. I took a picture of my final sketch sitting on my workspace that can be seen on our homepage.
After picking a design direction, my pastry chef, Lisa and I went over the best flavor combinations that would go with a Moroccan meal. One of my husband’s closest friends is Moroccan, so I’ve enjoyed their traditional food. I love it-lots of warm spices such as cinnamon, garlic, cloves, raisins and nuts. We thought a cake that complimented those same flavors would work best; nuts were a must- rich chocolate bourbon cake, sprinkled with Kahlua, filled with layers of peanut butter buttercream.
Yum! For those of you who have not tried peanut butter buttercream, you are missing out. It’screamy and delicious with the perfect balance of sweet and salty; a little like a Reese’s peanut butter cup, but grown-up.
So after Amy and Lisa filled and stacked the layers, I began sculpting. This part makes me happy. It takes me back to those design school days when I would be up late with my classmates until the wee-hours sculpting concept models out of blue foam. Cake is a much nicer material to sculpt. It’s so beautiful the way it slices so perfectly. I love giving all the left over cut-outs to the awesome employees at Eden Marketplace. Cake always puts a smile on everyone’s face.
Next, we then covered the cakes with white chocolate, then fondant and cut out the lantern’s intricate designs with eyelet cutters. This was extremely time consuming. It took Lisa and I hours to cut out the tiny details. I truly appreciate all the time it must take Moroccan craftsman that do it on a daily basis. Next, the colored stained glass pieces were fit to size. The cake was dusted with edible silver and colored luster dust. We stacked the parts together and were off to deliver.
The cake was displayed in the center of the beautifully decorated auction. Many people had no idea that it was cake until we started cutting into it hours later. I must send out a personal thank you to Laura from A Gracious Event and Wilfred from Wilfred Petterson Events. Both they and their staff were so helpful in cutting and serving the cake to the very large party. I was so pleased to hear so many nice compliments about how moist and delicious the cake tasted. We donated the 250-serving cake along with a personal cake decorating lesson which includes a 30-person cake for the silent auction. So now you know, you can have a Moroccan Lantern and eat it too!
We were so proud to be a part of this event. Each guest could see the time and effort that went into the event’s planning and details. I personally was impressed with the way each person felt transported to a far off place, like some majestic scene in the movie Casablanca. There were even tent canopies filled with Moroccan hand-painted tables and large colorful cushions. As you can see in the amazingly beautiful pictures taken by William Hollingsworth from Hollingsworth Digital Artistry Studio, the cake fit right into the decor.
After the delicious Moroccan meal, a group of belly-dancers wowed the crowd with their moves to the authentic Moroccan beats. If anyone spotted me in the corner, I was the brown haired girl imitating the belly dancers. It took all my might not to join them. That was definitely my kind of party!