How can you celebrate the eclipse? With food that is out of this world.
On Monday, the shadow of the moon will fall on the St. Louis area. It will be the first total eclipse this region has seen since 1442. Could there be a better excuse for a party?
Parties are fun, so you should bring fun food to an eclipse party. Who needs ordinary cakes, pies and drinks when you can make a galaxy cake, homemade Moon Pies, moon cake and cosmic cocktails?
You could argue these are just ordinary treats that are eclipse-worthy only because they have galactic names. And you’d be right, sort of. But you would also be a party pooper, and no one would like you.
Besides, the galaxy cake really does have a connection to outer space. When done right, it looks like the cosmos, like an image from the Hubble Space Telescope.
But can you do it right? Is it as hard as it looks?
As it turns out, it’s much easier than it appears. If you’re going to have an eclipse party, or even if you just want to impress your loved ones, friends, neighbors or total strangers, a Galaxy Mirror Cake is the way to go.
Mirror cakes are the hottest things in the baking world right now — Pinteresters pin them by the hundreds. As the name implies, they have a glossy, reflective surface that is impossible to resist.
Meanwhile, galaxy cakes are the second hottest things in the baking world right now. These are cakes with swirls of colored icing that resemble distant galaxies and nebulae.
So galaxy cakes with a mirror glaze are supernova hot.
I have two tips for making them. First, make your own cake from scratch. You could use a cake from a boxed mix, but such a spectacular-looking dessert should not taste ordinary. Your friends and loved ones and strangers deserve better.
The second tip is to frost the cake before you put on the glaze. This step is not absolutely needed to make the cake look great, but the flavor of the mirror glaze is not particularly special or memorable. It doesn’t taste bad, but it won’t get anyone talking about it, either. A buttercream frosting, for instance, will add flavor as well as provide a smooth surface onto which the glaze can glide.
Next, I cooked a dozen homemade Moon Pies. These were a huge hit among our taste testers; I got lots of oohs and ahhs from them, and one proposal of marriage.
They do take some effort to make, though. You begin with a vaguely cakelike cookie with a graham-cracker base. Sandwiched between two of those is a healthy smear of marshmallow creme, and then the whole thing is dipped in a soft, melted chocolate.
The part that is an effort is the homemade marshmallow creme. To my taste, the flavor and texture of the homemade creme is absolutely worth the modest trouble it takes to make it. But if you want to use marshmallow creme from a jar, no one will tattle on you.
I also made a moon cake, which, despite its name, is nothing like a homemade Moon Pie. A moon cake is a cake that looks like the moon, complete with little craters and an unearthly sheen.
At its heart, it is just a flourless chocolate cake — but what a flourless chocolate cake it is. It’s so rich, so creamy it melts on your tongue. The small craters on top are just little bubbles that form naturally.
And the moon-surface color comes from an edible baking decoration called pearl dust. The baking supply store I went to was out of pearl dust, though, so I used antique lace dust. It was a little more gold in color than a soft silver, but it worked almost as well.
To wash down these three rich desserts, I mixed up an Eclipse Cocktail. Over the last few months, a lot of people have been concocting drinks and naming them for the eclipse as a marketing ploy, but I didn’t want any of those. I wanted an Eclipse Cocktail that has been around for a while.
As it turns out, the small chain of Eclipse bars in England has been making their signature Eclipse Cocktail for more than a decade. It is a strong but fruity drink made from bourbon, Chambord (a raspberry liqueur), muddled raspberries, cranberry juice and a splash of lime for acidic balance.
It’s light, it’s refreshing and it goes down easily. If you serve a couple, your guests may think the moon is blocking the sun.