Wednesday, October 30, 2013

A breath of powdered sugar

This is the last post in which I can plausibly celebrate Halloween (hopefully) without ruining other people's patience, so I pulled out some booklets to which I have a sentimental attachment.

My paternal grandma (not my maternal one, whom I have mentioned before) used to decorate cakes. I remember spending hours watching her painstakingly pipe flowers and borders, carefully stow layers of cake in her car, and build wedding cakes on folding tables in church basements.

She used to keep Wilton Yearbooks to show customers so they could point to designs to give her an idea of what they wanted. Today's pictures come from her old Wilton Yearbooks. I hadn't been through them in years, so it was a pleasant surprise to smell powdered sugar when I opened them up, absorbed, I am sure, as the books sat next to her Kitchen Aid mixer as she whipped up batch after batch of icing.

Her calls were mostly for wedding and birthday cakes, so I doubt she ever made Halloween cakes, but I found a few interesting ones to post. The book is so worn, however, that I can't even say with certainty which yearbook the first images come from. Grandma used it so much that the covers fell off! My best guess is that these are from the 1970-71 edition.

I have a thing for owls, so I love this one. The owl seems to be watching out for something-- maybe for some mice to catch in the pumpkin patch below. All the pumpkins seem happy to be watched over except for the one sad little pumpkin on the left. Maybe that one's friends with the mice.

You can see the book is well-loved because the bottom left corner is torn up.

From the same book, we also get a creepy trick-or-treat scene:

I know my grandma wouldn't have made this. She wasn't one to buy bits of plastic to drape all over the cake. Everything was old-school buttercream!

That doesn't stop me from loving the bats and the cauldron, though. There aren't nearly enough cakes topped with cauldrons.

The next picture is from a book that retained its cover, so I can definitively state that these cakes are from the 1978 yearbook:

The cat is obviously a sales trick trying to convince bakers that it's worth their money to buy the horseshoe pan. Look! You can use it to make a black cat! The cat's arched back and straight-out whiskers suggest the cat is a bit surprised to be an advertisement for a horseshoe pan.

Do you recognize the witches on the ghost cake? They should look pretty familiar. I love the squat little ghosts with their trick-or-treat bags and sincere eyes, even though they are another attempt to get bakers to buy a weird-shaped pan-- in this case, the Petite Doll Mold Pan.

I found one final surprise as I looked through the 1978 edition. Even though it's not related to Halloween, I'm going to end with this:

Here's the closest thing grandma had to an order form. It's a sweet treat for me and I hope for you too! Happy Halloween!

No comments:

Post a Comment