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Serving Food Attractively: Great Decorative Cakes And Cookies
ANGELICA: Gut stems and leaves from angelica and petals from cherries or dates. Arrange on cookies before baking or on frosted cookies or cakes.
Cut angelica into tiny dots. Arrange as border or design on sides or top of frosted cakes. May be used together with cherries or raisins cut in the same size. The frosting may be white or tinted.
ANIMAL COOKIES OR CRACKERS: Arrange around edge of frosted cake either singly or in pairs. These are particularly effective on a circus party cake.
APRICOTS: Dip edges of dried apricots in chocolate. When chocolate is set, arrange apricots in a design on frosted cake with cut side of the apricots down. Use dipping chocolate or blend 2 teaspoons of butter with 2 squares of unsweetened chocolate. Melt in double boiler.
CANDIES: Sprinkle tiny decorative candies over the top and sides of frosted cake. Grind peppermint stick candy and scatter over the top and sides of frosted cake. Frosting may be white, tinted, or chocolate. For variation, place a cardboard stencil over the frosted cake and scatter ground peppermint candy over the design. Lift the cardboard without disturbing the design.
Use peppermint patties to form a design on a frosted cake. The patties may be used whole or cut with a sharp, thin knife into halves or smaller segments.
Gumdrops can be purchased in the shape of various objects, such as rabbits, eggs, hearts, shamrocks, according to the season. Arrange in a pattern on the cake.
CANDLES: Small colored candles inserted in tiny candleholders may be used to form the name or age of a person celebrating a birthday, or in any motif desired.
CHOCOLATE: Grate milk chocolate and sprinkle over a cardboard stencil placed over the top of a frosted cake. Lift cardboard carefully to obtain a perfect pattern. Grated chocolate is particularly effective on white or green-tinted frosting.
Melt semi-sweet chocolate in top of double boiler. Pour the melted chocolate from the tip of a teaspoon to form thin circles on top of a white frosted cake. Draw the tip of a spoon or spatula through the chocolate lines from the outer edge toward the center. The outer circles may be left intact. Swirl a soft frosting on top and sides of a cake. Insert chocolate tidbits or sprinkle chocolate shot over surface of frosting. Tidbits or chocolate morsels may be used to form a design on a white or tinted frosted cake.
COCONUT: Sprinkle fresh shaved coconut or dried shredded coconut, either white or tinted, on the top and sides of a frosted cake.
COOKIES: Form designs on a frosted cake with whole cookies, halves, or smaller segments. Attractive designs can be made on the sides as well as the top of a frosted cake. Cut cookie dough in the shape of animals, flowers, or any other object to suit the occasion. Bake; place on frosted cake. Cookies may be frosted or left plain, as desired. Make small fancy cookies with the various forms in the cookie press. Top with bits of cherry, dragees, tinted candied fruit peel, or colored sugar.
Animal Cookies: Cut animals from your favorite rolled cookie dough and decorate with colored sugar, chocolate, candies, candied fruits, raisins, currants, fruit peel, nuts, coconut, and caraway seeds. Press decorating material in unbaked cookies or on baked cookies which have been frosted. Cookie cutters for the more common animals may be bought.
For the Card Party: Hearts, clubs, diamonds, and spades may be cut from cookie dough. They may be decorated with nut meats, colored or white sugar before baking, or iced after baking and then sprinkled with colored sugar or tiny decorative candies.
Christmas Trees: Cut cookies in the shape of trees, using a cookie cutter or a pattern cut from stiff cardboard. Sprinkle with sugar tinted green. Ornament with different colored candies; bake.
Christmas Wreaths: Cut rolled cookie dough with a doughnut cutter. Sprinkle the cookies with green sugar; dot with tiny red candies; bake.
Crescents: Cut dough with crescent-shaped cookie cutter or form a crescent with a round cutter by cutting a half circle then moving the cutter down about 1/2 inch from center of the arc and make another cut. Sprinkle with sugar and ornament with dragees. Blue sugar and silver dragees are very attractive.
Pinwheel Cookies: Divide cookie dough into two equal parts. Add melted chocolate or pure-food coloring to one part and blend well. Roll the colored or chocolate dough in a rectangular shape about 1/4 inch thick on floured waxed paper. Roll light dough to same thickness and shape on another sheet of waxed paper. Place the light dough on top of the colored dough. Remove the waxed paper and roll as for a jelly roll. Place in refrigerator and chill until firm. Cut into 1/8-inch slices. Place on greased cookie sheet and bake.
Pumpkin Cookies: Cookies may be cut with a large round cutter or with a pumpkin cutter. Place on a greased cookie sheet; bake. After baking, form leaves near the stem end with green icing forced through a decorating tube. For jack-o'lanterns use a small slice of citron for the stem and fill in the eyes, mouth, and nose with melted chocolate or chocolate icing.
Variety Cutouts: Roll cookie dough about 1/4 inch thick, and cut the cookies with a floured cookie cutter. The fancy cutters that may be used are stars at Christmas, hatchets for Washington's Birthday, shamrocks or pipes for St. Patrick's Day, and so on for every season or holiday of the year. If cutters are not available, cardboard patterns may be cut in various designs and used as a cutting guide.
FLOWERS, Candied: Asters, buttercups, nasturtiums, orange blossoms, pansies, rose petals, violets, or other suitable flowers. Use petals of fresh flowers. Press the petals softly in a cloth or paper towel to free them of all moisture. Weigh the petals. Take an equal weight of sugar, add a small amount of water, and boil to a syrup. Drop the petals into the syrup and boil until they look clear. Drain on a paper towel or fine wire rack. Dust petals with fine crystallized sugar. Place in a current of air in a sunny room, but not in direct sunlight. When sugar has been absorbed by the flowers, turn, and dust with more sugar. This process should be repeated until the surface of the petals is quite dry and covered with fine crystals of sugar. Arrange flowers on top and/or sides of cake singly, in clusters, or in a design.
Fresh Flowers: Medium-sized or small blossoms may be used with their leaves on serving plates next to pieces of cake.
Painted Flowers: Use pure fruit or vegetable colorings and a paintbrush especially reserved for foods. Paint flowers on the top and sides of a frosted cake. The frosting should be somewhat hardened before applying the colorings.
FROSTING: White Cover entire cake with a white frosting, then place a cardboard stencil over top and sprinkle sweet grated chocolate over pattern. Remove cardboard gently to obtain a perfect design.
Cover cake with white or tinted frosting. Shave Brazil nuts into lengthwise slices and arrange in petal fashion to form flowers on top of cake. Use half a candied cherry for the center of each flower and green citron for the leaves. The flowers may be arranged in clusters or singly to form a border around the top of the cake. Shave Brazil nuts into lengthwise slices and sprinkle over the top and sides of frosted cake to cover the cake completely.
Scatter tinted coconut over white frosting or white coconut over tinted frosting. Place a candied cherry with green citron leaves in the center of the cake.
Place a cardboard stencil over the frosted cake. Sprinkle shredded coconut over the pattern and lift cardboard carefully to produce a perfect design.
Sprinkle green-tinted coconut over a white frosted cake. Arrange tiny bluebirds on top of cake either in groups of two or three or to form a border around top of cake. Plastic bluebirds may be purchased in novelty or five-and-ten-cent stores.
Mark off the top of a round cake into 12 or 16 wedges, depending on the size of the cake. Make three small batches of different-colored frostings. Spread every third wedge in a different color and continue the frosting down the side of the cake. The different colors will appear as broad stripes on the side of the cake. A few of the many combinations that may be used are:
Dark brown (chocolate), Pink (strawberry), green (mint) or (lime) light brown (maple or butterscotch), Red (cherry), yellow (lemon),
Cover entire cake with chocolate frosting. Decorate with white or green frosting which is forced through pastry tube.
Use a paper pastry tube or a decorating set to form pictures, designs, or lettering on frosted cakes. Make a soft frosting, divide it into several small batches, and tint each batch in a color necessary to form the picture or design.
FRUITS: Candied apricots, prunes, pineapple, cherries, lemon, orange, or grapefruit peel, in natural color or tinted, may be used for decorating cake. Cut in the shape of petals to form flowers or other designs.
GINGERBREAD MEN: Dissolve 1/2 cup shortening in 1/4 cup boiling water. Add 1/2 cup brown sugar and 1/2 cup molasses; mix well. Mix and sift 3 cups all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon soda, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon ginger, 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, and 1/8 teaspoon allspice and combine with first mixture. Chill, then roll. Cut with gingerbread-man cutter. Make features with candied cherries, raisins, or colored candies. Use dragees for buttons. Bake in a moderate oven (375° F.) for about 10 minutes.
HOLLY: Place fresh sprigs of holly at the base of a cake. Paint a holly design on the top and sides of cake.
Cut holly berries from candied cherries and leaves from citron. Arrange on a frosted cake.
HONEY: Top honey cakes with sections of honeycomb.
JELLIES OR JAMS: Beat jelly or jam until smooth enough to pass through a decorating tube. Form concentric circles equidistant on a frosted cake. After the circles have been formed, draw the tip of a pointed knife or spatula through each circle toward the center. Repeat this process, beginning from the outer circle, at intervals of every 1 1/2 to 2 inches.
Drop a bit of jelly around the edge of a frosted cake to form a border. Use no more than 1/s teaspoon of jelly or jam and space each drop about 1 inch apart.
LEAVES: Frosted mint leaves To frost, dip leaves in egg white beaten to a froth, shake off excess egg white, then dip in powdered sugar. Repeat until all the egg white is absorbed and a white surface is obtained. Place on tinted or chocolate frosted cake. Arrange fresh mint leaves on the top, sides, or base of a cake.
Leaves from bushes, flowers, or trees in season may be placed at base of a cake. Use singly or in clusters.
MARSHMALLOWS: Cut white or tinted marshmallows into tiny pieces and form circles or other designs on the top and sides of a cake. Whole marshmallows may be placed at the base of a cake, alternating white and pink or white and green.
Dip part of a marshmallow in melted chocolate; let stand until firm; place in design on cake. With pure fruit or vegetable dye paint faces on marshmallows. Place on cake with the faces turned out. Make caps with pieces of pressed figs and place on the marshmallow heads.
MARZIPAN: Form scrolls, flags, flowers, or other objects to suit the occasion. Marzipan is pliable and can be purchased in many colors.
MISTLETOE: Use fresh mistletoe at the base of a cake or on a serving plate next to an individual serving of cake.
NUT CRUNCH: Crumble pecan or other nut crunch on a cutting board with a rolling pin and scatter on the top and sides of a frosted cake.
NUT MEATS: Form a design with pecan, walnut, or peanut halves on top of a frosted cake. Scatter chopped pistachio or other nut meats over the design of a cardboard stencil which has been placed on the top of a frosted cake or cookies. Lift cardboard gently to obtain a perfect pattern.
Form flowers on the top and sides of a cake or on the top of unbaked or baked and frosted cookies with blanched toasted almonds or whole pistachio nut meats. Dip a third of each blanched toasted almond into melted chocolate. Use in this way, or sprinkle chopped pistachio nut meats over melted chocolate, allow to harden, then arrange on cake or cookies.
SPICES: Sprinkle cinnamon, mace, nutmeg, or any desired spice sparingly over a frosted cake, or over a cardboard stencil placed over a frosted cake.
TOPPINGS: Crush graham crackers, mix with a little sugar and cinnamon if desired, then sprinkle over a cardboard stencil which has been placed over a frosted cake. Remove the cardboard gently so as not to disturb the design. The outlines of girls, flowers, fruit, trees, houses, or any object may be cut in medium stiff cardboard which has been shaped to fit the top of a cake. The design should be clean cut with no ragged edges.
WHIPPING CREAM: Swirl either white or tinted whipped cream on the top and sides of a cake or force through a pastry tube to form rosettes or other designs on the top and sides of a cake.
1. Cut cake into squares and cover with slices of brick ice cream. Top with whipped-cream rosettes and sprinkle with chopped pistachio nuts.
2. Hollow out cupcakes. Line with jam or jelly and fill with ice cream. Arrange tinted whipped cream roses and leaves on the rim of each cupcake.
3. Cover slices of angel-food cake with vanilla ice cream. Sprinkle with crushed fruit and top with a sprig of mint.
4. Remove the center of a sponge cake so that only a 1-inch wall remains. Fill this "basket" with peach ice cream which has been blended with whipped cream. Place chilled peach slices on rim of the basket.
5. Calla Lilies; Beat 3 eggs until thick and lemon-colored, add 3/4 cup sugar and 1 cup cake flour mixed with 1 teaspoon baking powder. Add vanilla. Drop by spoonfuls on a greased cookie sheet about 3 inches apart. Bake in a 400° F. oven until done-about 5 minutes. Remove at once and roll like a cone. Place on a rack with folded side down; let cool. Serve filled with angel parfait. Insert a strip of candied orange peel or gumdrop for the stamen. Tint whipped cream green and pipe around edges. Place a sprig of mint at the small end of each cone.
6. Caramel Baskets; Combine 1 1/2 cups brown sugar, 2 teaspoons corn syrup, 1/2 cup milk, and 1/4 cup butter or margarine. Cook, stirring occasionally, to soft-ball stage (240° F.). Pour the hot syrup over shredded wheat in a buttered mixing bowl. Mix well. Pack in well-buttered muffin pans, shaping to form cups. Chill until firm. To serve, unmold and fill the center with peach slices and berries. Top with whipped cream.
For variation, fill basket with chilled custard and top with fresh berries or fill with berries and fresh-fruit ice cream.
7. Angel-Food Dainties; Make your favorite angel-food cake; cut a slice from top of cake. Hollow out the center of the cake, leaving at least a 1-inch wall of cake on the outside. Mix 6 tablespoons cocoa, 6 tablespoons sugar, and 1/8 teaspoon salt with 3 cups of whipping cream, then chill. Whip the cocoa cream mixture until stiff. To part of the whipped-cream mixture add 1/2 cup sliced blanched and toasted almonds. Fill the center of cake with this mixture. If desired, sprinkle sliced toasted almonds over the cake. Chill before serving.
Mint Whipped-cream Filling; Flavor 1 1/2 cups whipping cream with a drop or two of oil of peppermint, and tint green, if desired. Fill hollowed angel-food cake with the cream mixture which has been sweetened to taste. Replace the top of the cake and cover with Cocoa Whipped Cream.
Pineapple-Cherry Bavarian Cream; Soak 1 tablespoon gelatin in 1 tablespoon cold water and stir into 1/3 cup boiling pineapple juice until dissolved. Do not boil the gelatin. Cool until as thick as molasses. Add 1 1/4 cups whipping cream and whip the mixture until stiff. Add 2 tablespoons sugar, 1/4 cup shredded drained pineapple, and 1/4 cup cut maraschino cherries. Fill the angel-food cake with the Pineapple-Cherry Bavarian Cream and put in refrigerator to set. Raspberry Filling Dissolve 1 package raspberry gelatin in 1 1/2 cups boiling water. Place in refrigerator until slightly congealed, then whip with a rotary beater until thick and smooth, Fold in 1 pint of heavy cream, whipped, 1 pound of frozen or 3 cups of fresh raspberries, and small squares of angel-food cake; fill a hollowed-out angel food cake. The section of cake that is cut out to make an angel-food "basket" may be separated into small pieces and used in the filling. Place in refrigerator until set. Top each individual serving with fresh raspberries.
Raspberry-Coconut Filling; Cut a slice from the top of an angel cake, hollow out. Be careful not to break outer wall. Crumble the cake which has been removed and mix with 1/2 cup shredded coconut, 1 cup canned raspberries, drained, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, 2 tablespoons sugar, and 1 cup heavy cream, whipped. Fill the cake with the fruit mixture and replace the top. Chill for 3 hours. Spread with 1 cup heavy cream, whipped and sweetened to taste; sprinkle with 1/2 cup coconut and top with fresh raspberries, if available.
8. Checkerboard Cake; Cream 9 tablespoons shortening and add 1 1/2 cups sugar gradually while creaming. Sift 3 cups cake flour; add 3 teaspoons baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon salt; sift again. Add flour mixture alternately with 1 cup milk and 1 1/2 tea spoons vanilla. Fold in the stiffly beaten whites of 4 large eggs. To one third of this batter add a chocolate mixture by blending 2 tablespoons sugar, 4 tablespoons hot water, and 2 squares melted unsweetened chocolate. Add 1/3 teaspoon soda and stir until thick. Use three layer pans. In 2 pans arrange a ring of the white-cake mix about 1 inch wide around edge of pan; then a chocolate ring 1 inch wide, and so on, until five rings have been formed. In the third pan start with a chocolate ring near rim of pan and continue alternating colors until five rings have been formed. If available, use special checkerboard pans. Bake in a 350° F. oven for about 20 to 25 minutes. Put the layer containing the chocolate outer ring between the other two layers. Spread each layer with frosting, and frost top and sides of cake.
9. Place a lace doily over the top of an unfrosted cake. Sprinkle powdered sugar over the doily, then remove the doily gently so as not to disturb the lace design on the cake.
10. Easter Lamb; To make the cake lamb mold, cream 5 tablespoons butter and 1 cup sugar. Sift cake flour before measuring, then measure 2 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons, resift it with 2 1/2 teaspoons tartrate or phosphate type baking powder or 2 teaspoons double-action (sulfate phosphate) baking powder. Measure 2/3 cup milk and add 1 teaspoon vanilla to it. Sift about a third of the flour mixture into the creamed butter and sugar, add about a third of the milk mixture, and beat batter until blended. Repeat this step, adding a third of the milk and the flour mixture until all the milk and flour mixture has been added and beaten until blended. Beat 2 large egg whites and 1/4 teaspoon salt until stiff (but not dry) and fold them into the batter. Grease a lamb mold with melted fat or oil. Fill the deeper part of the mold (front of the lamb) with the batter, spreading it evenly. Do not forget to spread it into the ears. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Place the mold on a cake tin and bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour. Test the cake, and when it is done remove the upper half of the mold. Allow the cake to cool before removing it from the mold. If a piece of the lamb's body breaks off, use a toothpick to hold it in place. Ice the lamb with white icing and cover it with grated coconut. Use two raisins for the eyes and a bit of cherry for the mouth. Place the lamb on a bed of green leaves or grass. If available, place small flowers on the grass and hang a bell on a ribbon around its neck. Note: A spiced cake recipe may be used in place of the white cake, if desired.