Unconventional Saturday nights: The cake painting party

You may recall me mentioning at the end of August that I had moved. Well, it has happened again.

And I’m happy to announce that my new roommates are Jen and Ian, two of my favourite Sudbury friends, the likes of whom I’ve mentioned in random letter dinner and bake sale blog posts. I work with Jen at CBC and would frequently visit their old apartment for rainy nights of Catan, cheesecake, and the opportunity to be sassed out by their cute cat Norbert (more affectionately known as Norb).

Jen and Ian during one of our summer hiking excursions
Norb, up to no good

So here I am, sitting in my new home, typing away on a wireless network that is named after a feline. For the first time in two months I feel settled and at ease. I never really felt at home in the room I was renting before, a tiny bedroom in house I found posted on Kijiji. That place didn’t have the same level of roommate friendship that I’ve come to take for granted over the past four years. I’m already feeling happier and healthier, and am finally living with people who equally enjoy watching Project Runway, eating, biking, and talking about current affairs.

As for the eating part, I’m lucky Jen and Ian enjoy food just as much as I do. They’ve transformed their living room space into a giant dining room, and we often eat dinner together after work. I’ve forgotten how good an influence it can be to live with healthy eaters…I’m finding my food motivation again and am so relieved.

In addition to eating, Jen loves to paint…

…and her and Ian’s entire house is filled with beautiful landscapes and abstracts, each done by Jen or an equally great artist.

Yesterday Jen was working on painting an Autumnal scene, one inspired by a picture either she or I took when we hiked the Cup and Saucer trail on Manitoulin Island over Thanksgiving weekend. As she carefully melded “cool reds” and “warm reds” together on the large canvas, I was leaning on the counter brainstorming what dessert to make. I finally settled on making a Halloween-themed yogurt marble cake, and had pulled out my box of gel food colouring to see if I had sufficient colours to make a deep pumpkin hue. As I sorted through my collection of 12 different dyes, I found myself comparing the burgundies and yellows to the colours Jen was using in her own painting palette.

That’s when a wave of inspiration hit me: we should paint cakes!

I blurted my idea out loud to Jen who, being a creative type like myself, immediately agreed.

At first the idea was to have her replicate the landscape scene onto a 9×13 inch cake. After discussing for a bit, we decided to do something a little more fun: cut the cake into four parts so we could each “paint” our own mini masterpiece.

The cake and the photo inspiration

Steve came over, and “painting” (as well as pizza eating, but check back for that post later) ensued.

Jen and Ian being in love, painted cake style

Then we managed to ward off the sugar comas for long enough to get through a delightful game of Catan. Cake eating, wine drinking, Catan playing, and friends. The makings of a good night.

I got longest road, but Jen won

In case you’re wondering, our canvas cake was a simple white cake recipe I found on the Internet, with a bit of orange zest ground into the white sugar to add a light flavour. A dash of orange extract was also added because, well, why the hell not. This will work with any plain cake recipe, though.

The icing was a simple vanilla buttercream with gel food colouring mixed in. We used normal, medium-sized Ziplock bags to pipe the icing onto the cake. I felt as though I was attending a five-year-olds birthday party with these cakes, and it was brilliant.

There’s nothing quite like ending the night with a rainbow tongue and a sore stomach. I ate three pieces of leftover cake this afternoon.

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