16 May 2007
Blue Velvet Cake with Blue Suede Shoes
Like all good ideas, it emerged out of nowhere. Every year, my uncle has a big blow-out birthday celebration with a theme: the kind of party with specially crafted invitations and funky decorations and re-landscaping part of your lawn. No one remembers how they decided that this year's theme would be blue, but there it was. Last time, we talked about the reason for this annual celebration, now let’s get to the party. I promised blue, and boy, are you all going to get it.
Making blue suede shoes out of marzipan, blue margarita, blue jeans.
First came a little blue booklet in the mail, inviting us to celebrate, “because he’s been blue before.” A cake was planned, inspired by the classic red velvet, only in blue (fyi- omit the cocoa in the red velvet cake recipe, or you’ll have a black cake, as we learned in a test run). A tent was erected, and because things aren’t done the easy way around here, that involved removing part of the fence and digging up part of the garden. I sculpted tiny blue suede shoes out of marzipan to decorate the cake, managing to dye my hands, fingernails, and mouth blue in the process. I made them ahead of time and carted them oh-so-carefully on the airplane (hello airport security), and after all that, my uncle peered into their box, and asked, are they electrical outlets? Ok, they’re a little funny looking, but outlets, I even put heels on the buggers!
A cd of ‘blue’ songs was made, blue light bulbs, blue cheese, and blue-corn chips were procured. A bluegrass band was hired, and to our delight, they turned out to be fantastic. The weather was perfect, and many guests arrived in blue jeans and blue shirts, and it being Texas, there was a presence of cowboy boots. Bartenders served up blue margaritas lipped in blue salt, which towards the end of the evening my uncle declared, “these aren’t bad, but they’re sort of nasty, I”ve had about five.”
I could say that the key to a successful party is planning, and hiring someone to manage the details, and spending hours making sure the wicks on the oil lamps are just right and blistering your hands in the process. Or maybe it’s those delicious crawfish tamales in banana leaves, or the ones wrapped in cornhusks with spinach and goat cheese filling. But really, a good party is all about having a great balance of friends, and the success of this one is a testament to the hosts who gather such an intelligent, creative, and diverse group of people around them. Because he’s not blue anymore, and that’s worth celebrating.
No recipe today, though you can check out the original red velvet cake recipe. And if you're in the mood for blue food, I highly recommend this Blueberry Blue Cheese Salad, I've made it many times using fresh blueberries in the vinagrette.