I envisioned nothing less than a grand, massive tiered cake for Margaret Mitchell‘s sweeping 1936 romantic epic, Gone With the Wind. This famous and controversial novel has all the good bits– war, betrayal, unrequited love, mis-timed requited love– and a spoiled southern belle forced to experience the worst of humanity who then seizes her life back though hard work, womanly charms, and sheer force of will. This recipe is meant to capture the full range of history, time and emotion in the novel, as well as convey an atmosphere of grandness throughout.
This cake is a rather linear interpretation of Gone With the Wind in several ways. At the bottom we have the Wartime Cake, a moist chocolate cake infused with gunpowder tea, mace, black pepper, and a dash of cayenne pepper to conjure up the rawness of the civil war and Scarlett’s suffering and darkness during this period. The Reconstruction Cake sits in the middle, inspired by both the South and Scarlett’s rebuilding; this yellow cake is flavored with nutmeg and pumpkin spice, inspired by nut and wood aromas (this also may or may not be heavily influenced by Scarlett’s marriage to Frank and her lumber empire). The topmost cake is representative of the finery and luxury Scarlett managed to achieve in her last marriage to Rhett, being a pure, unadulterated white cake. One the other hand, it can also simply be seen as an image of Tara, a sprawling fine plantation built on the firm Tara ground that is featured so prominently in Gone with the Wind.
What is that funny swirl at the top you ask? That is chocolate garnish meant to be a very straightforward image of a gust of wind. Obviously, I am not a chocolate sculptor, but I will at least amuse with some turd-shaped bloopers:
Given my choices, I believe my garnish looks like a particularly striking gust of wind.
Pictured below are individual sections with my tattered but very dear copy of Gone With the Wind. I really wish I could present this today with a signed 1st edition copy (which, I might add, has dropped a full $3000 since the last time I looked), but you’ll have to make do with the 60th anniversary mass market reprint. So pick up a fork, cut yourself a sampler– three thin slices of each cake– and enjoy!
Suggested Drink: Pomegranate Lemonade