Pinky and I couldn't find a bake proof baby to put in the cake, hehehe. But, yes, traditionally, there should be a baby in the cake or put under the cake.
While I was reading up on the history, I was surprised at how many different cultures it spanned, and the different subtleties for each culture. This one was definitely in the tradition of New Orleans Mardis Gras.
With Mardis Gras swiftly approaching (February 9 for those of you that don't know), my wife, PinkyK, asked me to cook up a King Cake. She's typically the reason why I dust off my Kitchenaide.
Anyway, just a little background on the King Cake or Kingscake. Not to get all religious, or anything, but the King Cake derives from the feast of the Epiphany (12th day of Christmas). For those of you that don't know what the feast of the Epiphany is, it is when the Three Wise Men or Kings came upon the baby Jesus in the Manger. Hence the name King Cake. The King Cake Season supposedly starts with the 12th day of Christmas, all the way through the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday or Mardis Gras.
So, what is a King Cake? Essentially, it is a Brioche that is filled with pralines, and topped with a Sugar Icing and Colored Sugar Crystals. The sugar crystals are typically colored Green, Purple, and Gold.
Long story short, this was the first time that I have attempted a Brioche. I scratched my head over the recipe a couple of times, thinking that for a bread recipe, it called for an awful lot of butter. Once I consulted several other recipes for Brioche, I proceeded. Despite screwing up the bread recipe (somewhat), this is what I got. For those of you that are interested, here is the recipe that I used: http://www.nolacuisine.com/2007/01/06/king-cake-recipe/.
Exterior Close Up
I hope that this inspires you. Thanks for looking.
The Kaperak Kollection 2008 turned out to have a total of 8 different Ornaments. From right to left, top to bottom, there is 5 Point Star, Christmas Tree, Angel, Martini Glass, Penguin, Candy Cane, Santa Hat, Gingerbread Man.
It was a blast and a challenge to conceptualize, design, and ultimately create. A lot of times I have a problem with abstracting a concept and keeping it simple. So, I was pleased that I was able to keep the designs simple.
Finally, we used twisted silver filament and epoxied it to the back of the ornaments. We figured that this was the easiest way to mount the ornaments so that they could be hung.
I have seen some glass bracelets at craft shows, that were formed while the glass was hot from the kiln. The people use tongs (graphite?) while the glass is approximately 1300 degrees to do the shaping. It seems to me that it should be possible to use the tongs to twist glass at 1300 degrees, instead of shaping it.
Unfortunately, we don't have those kinds of tools yet.
If you get a chance to use the kilns again, play around and try to do different things. Be sure to take pictures of the before and after. That way, if you have something unexpectedly cool, you have a picture of how you set it up, and can probably replicate it.
As for glass changing color when it's fired, there are a quite a few glasses that may darken or change color, slightly. It can be a little frustrating when you are looking for one shade of a color, and it comes out really dark.
P.S. I think we may get someone the microwave kiln for Christmas. It's cheap, it's small, and it doesn't take up a lot of space. This may be an option for those people who can't afford a kiln, and want to get into glass fusing. We will report on it, if we get one.
So, most of this week has been staging glass for a few hours, and popping things into the kiln for about 10 - 12 hours (including cooldown).
Last night, we fired the Penguins, which look like they came out very well. They were fired with a bunch of Santa Hats, which looked pretty cool, too. Unfortunately, the kiln was still 450 degrees, this morning.
Today will probably involve full fusing the Gingerbread Men and the Tiffany Gift Boxes, that were staged last night.
Hopefully, we will be able to post some pictures of the new stuff. And, so everyone knows, we are going to make even more Martini Glasses. Pinky thinks that will be the popular choice for the takeaway.