Happy July! Given that we’ve had Idiot-in-chief in the White House for the last few years, (Yes, I refuse to refer to him as President), I’ve started posting what I call protest cakes for the 4th of July. Because to protest is patriotic. (Of course, now that I post just once a month, I post this on the 1st for the month of July.) It is my belief that there are many ways to protest, so why not through cake? These are roughly the same cakes I made last year, modified somewhat to make them spherical. Impeachment (peach mint) cakes. Because impeachment cakes should be flavored with peach and mint, am I right?
This year, I was thinking of making them imp creatures, so I was going to use fondant and make some eyes and legs. The only problem was that the fondant I made was more orange than peach colored, and my fondant shaping skills were a little lacking. So they kinda looked like little orange ghosts with boots. It was very Halloween-ish. Which I suppose could’ve worked, but I actually like the way they look without fondant and with just a very scant crumb coat of frosting. So I just went with that.
I’m frustrated that given all that has happened over the last 892 days (but who’s counting, right?) since tRump took office, there seems to be a division between Democrats on whether to start the impeachment process or not. A wait-and-see approach made sense before the release of the Mueller report, but not now. I get it that some Dems think that impeachment would actually help unify his base and get them to vote for his reelection and that because we do not have enough Democrats in the Senate to vote to impeach, that it’s not something we should bother doing. I strongly disagree with this. Sure, tRump would love this because he would be able to play the victim yet again, but I believe that we have rules in place that we need to follow when a president breaks the law, and to do nothing sets a bad precedent for future presidents. One thing I feel Democratic leaders in Congress have not considered is the effect on Democratic voter turnout if they decide not to take necessary actions toward impeachment. I feel that doing nothing would depress voter turnout among Democrats.
The case for impeachment has never been more clear. But I do feel that this isn’t the only thing we should be focused on doing and that we need to also pick a Democratic nominee who will not only be able to beat him in 2020 but will also have more to offer than just that. But I’m hopeful that there will be someone great from the large pool of candidates now running to get the Democratic nomination.
Aside from using the same recipe, I also decided to use more mylar as liners and as background to symbolize all the children in detention facilities that seem to be perpetually wrapped in mylar blankets. It’s like they were each given a mylar blanket and then promptly forgotten. Aside from removing Idiot-in-chief, members of his administration also need to be held accountable for the human rights violations against thousands of migrant children and families taking place at our southern border who are being denied even basic hygiene supplies and beds to sleep on. Some of them appear almost lifeless on cold concrete floors or in overcrowded tents in desert climates with temperatures exceeding 100 degrees F. in the summer. More migrant children have died while in custody in the last two years than at any other time in our history of detaining migrants. Meanwhile, politicians debate whether or not we should be using the terms ‘concentration camps’ or ‘children in cages’ to describe where migrants are being kept. While getting rid of Idiot-in-chief alone would not solve these issues, it’s definitely a start in the right direction because it was his strong xenophobic and anti-immigrant rhetoric that led to xenophobic and anti-immigrant policies that separated families to begin with. But we also need to then hold others in his administration accountable for obvious human rights violations.
About the recipe itself, I basically added baking powder to make the cakes a little lighter or fluffier in texture, not as dense, which I am pleased with. I also used peach-infused vodka instead of peach schnapps (more alcohol!) but didn’t make a test cake to compare the difference. I honestly can’t tell if this made any difference in flavor or texture. They seem “peachier” but I don’t know if it’s just because their shape is more reminiscent of an actual peach, or because there’s more in it per cake. Either way, it definitely has great peach flavor. And even though I used mint leaves as a garnish here, I only used the peppermint flavor from Altoids candies because I think it is still a much better type of mint to use than any other kind of mint. Finally, when I brought these to work, I realized they were sickeningly sweet because there is a lot more sugar per cake compared to when I made little cubes of them last year, so I decreased the amount of added sugar from 3/4 cup to the 1/4 cup listed below for creaming with the butter. Because the peach jam and peach vodka might be very sweet already, feel free to decrease further or even eliminate the amount of added sugar at this step altogether.
impeachment cakes (makes 9 spheres with frosting or one 10 x 5 loaf cake with frosting.)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
8 ounces (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup granulated sugar
6 Tablespoons peach flavored vodka
1 and 1/2 cups peach jam
Zest and juice of one medium lemon
1/4 cup heavy cream
For the white chocolate mint buttercream:
6 ounces (12 Tablespoons) unsalted butter, slightly softened but still somewhat cold
1 and 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
6 ounces white chocolate, melted but cooled somewhat
3/4 package of Altoids, (about 68 individual candies, or about 1.5 ounces), finely ground in a coffee grinder (can substitute 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract)
Heat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease 3 (6-count) Wilton hemisphere pans, or 10 x 5 loaf pan with butter and line with parchment paper so that the paper overhangs on two opposite sides. Set aside.
Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, into a medium bowl and stir with a whisk several times and set aside.
Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time and mix well between additions with a hand-held electric mixer with beaters.
Combine the vodka, jam, lemon juice, and lemon zest together with the heavy cream and beat until well combined.
Starting and ending with the flour mixture and alternating with the vodka mixture, add about a third of the flour mixture to the creamed butter mixture, mix with the beaters, then add half of the vodka mixture to the creamed butter mixture and beat again. Repeat, then add the last third of the flour mixture and beat until well combined.
Pour into prepared pans (about 1/4 cup of batter per hemisphere mold, which should come up about 3/4 to the top) and bake in the 325 degree-heated oven for about 25 minutes (or 75-80 minutes, if using loaf pan) until a toothpick or skewer poked into the center of the cake comes out clean. Remove pan from oven and let the cake sit on a wire rack for 5-10 minutes before carefully taking out of the cake molds. If cakes dome or look like muffin tops with edges going over the rim, just let them cool in pan on a wire rack to go down somewhat. You may need a very thin sharp knife or razor to get the edges loose from the pan before flipping the pan. You may need to trim them so that each hemisphere would have a flat surface for the frosting but wait until each cake cools before trimming, because they might shrink and you may not need to trim off as much of the tops of each hemisphere before frosting.
While the cakes are cooling, make the frosting by combining all the frosting ingredients into a medium bowl and beating with a hand-held mixer on medium-high until frosting is smooth and spreadable. If frosting is too warm that it’s hard to swirl and keep its shape due to the white chocolate being too hot that it is melting the butter, cool somewhat in a refrigerator for 5-10 minutes or longer until it is cooler and then beat again with beaters to fluff up somewhat.
When cakes have cooled, place about 2-3 tablespoons on the flat side of one of the hemispheres, and press down the flat side of another hemisphere and apply a little frosting over both hemispheres, but scraping any excess so that it is in the style of naked cakes that have just a little frosting spread over it. Handle with clean hands or wear plastic gloves, and if they seem to be getting slippery in the middle, put it in the fridge to get the frosting cooler. You should have just enough frosting for nine spheres of cake, but you’ll need to make more frosting if you don’t want them to be naked. (If making a loaf cake, just put swirls of frosting over either only the top or on the top and sides of the cake.)