Steampunk Cake Tutorial

You know what’s awesome?

Cake.

Duh.

Cake is completely awesome.

But what could make cake more awesome? It’s hard to think about, I know, with something as amazing as cake to begin with, how on earth could cake be better than cake. It… just doesn’t make sense.

But there is a way, let me assure you.

What if… your cake was a Steampunk cake? And it looked like this?

“OMG!” you say. “I must have that cake! It will look amazing during my tea party or my weekly mad scientists support group. OMG.”

Well calm down ladies and gentlemen, you’ll love to know that this cake is an Instructable and there’s lovely step by step instructions so that you too can make many amazing cakes that look just like this one. Happy baking, happy readers, and remember, cake is the only thing that matters.

Steampunk Spice Rack

I’ve said before that I consider cooking to be something of modern alchemy, and in our DIY culture that focuses on the handmade, creating and cooking our own food plays an important role in keeping Steampunks healthy and well-fed. Making cooking even more complex for the cooking challenged is the addition of things like spices to the mix to make a dish that’s flavorful and delicious.

Spices generally come in boring packets, jars or satchels. Nothing terribly exciting or Steampunk about it, they just are what they are. Nothing more or less. But being that we are Steampunks and we see the world as a canvas waiting to modified into a beautiful steam-driven world, it should come as no surprise that someone decided to recreate their spice rack with a steamy flair. And this is what it looks like:

OMG, you say, that looks awesome! If only I could make something that looks that cool.

Well, my dears, you’re in luck because this awesome spice rack is an Instructable on one of my favorite DIY websites. You too can have the most awesome looking spice rack with a little bit of copper pipe, some test tubes, and a flask for oil (just for good measure). I love how simple this project is and with just a little bit of time and effort, you can transform something entirely mundane into something that’s pretty much made of win.

Go forth ye crafters and create! And when you’re done, cook something tasty to celebrate. :)

Cooking with Abney Park

Many members of the HMS Ophelia’s crew are self-proclaimed foodies. With the recent addition of Joshy Goering to the ranks, the ratio of gustatory connoisseurs to non has been definitively swung in favor of the gastronomes. Fortunately, Captain Robert is also one of the band’s epicures, because every time the band gets together for a rehearsal, he cooks dinner for the crew.

In a recent stretch of boredom before the evening’s rehearsal, the Captain decided to film the creation of one of his signature dishes, Pulled Pork sandwiches, and has posted it online for your culinary delight. Watch it below:

Busy people will particularly appreciate the small amount of prep work involved in the creation of this recipe. Remember people, crockpots are your friend.

And if you’re looking for the perfect sauce to go with your tasty dish, feel free to take another page from the Captain’s cookbook and brew up some of your own Infamous Pyrate’s Blood sauce.

Steep.It

Tea is one of the quintessential Steampunk beverages. Any meeting between Steampunks is made infinitely better when they are brought together over well brewed cuppas. Steeping tea properly is an art which many people (myself included) usually abandon in favor of over-steeped but very strong tea.

But should you wish to get the very best out of each cup of tea, there’s a certain amount of time and a particular temperature you should permit your tea to steep before removing the tea bag or leaves.

A simple but very helpful website called Steep.It helps you brew the perfect cup each time by showing you the correct time and temperature by which to create your favorite teas. Readers from outside the US will be glad to see the temperatures for their tea listed in Celsius alongside Fahrenheit, and there’s a considerable list of different types of tea, so you’re sure to get the perfect combination of time and heat for a well steeped cup.

Steampunk Cookery

One of my favorite pastimes is cooking for friends. I love throwing together fresh ingredients to make something tasty and wonderful to share. It’s like modern alchemy.

Steampunk continues to grow and define itself as a subculture and is being incorporated into people’s lives in remarkably creative ways. Modifications abound to technology, furniture, and fashion to make them more in line with out aesthetic preferences. , the author of the blog Steampunk Cookery, suggests that food too can be Steampunk:

If you can sew a steampunk wardrobe, write a steampunk story, and create a steampunk computer… why shouldn’t you cook steampunk food?

Indeed, why not? There’s already been a Steampunk cookbook created by the community via Brass Goggles, so the concept should not be terribly foreign. After all, the culinary arts and its resulting tasty food has a powerful ability to unite people and uplift moods.

Victoria Tea Trifecta

Today’s post on Steampunk Cookery features The Victorian Tea Trifecta, a dessert that sounds positively decadent. There’s tons of Steamy recipes here, so be sure to check back often.

Slightly Steampunk: Tomorrow is Pi Day

Tomorrow is March 14th, or 3/14, making it Pi Day and therefore one my favorite geeky holiday right up there with Mole Day, Talk Like a Pirate Day, and Act Like a Time-Traveler Day. Pi is a mathematical constant whose value is the ratio of any Euclidean plane circle’s circumference to its diameter. It is approximately equal to 3.14159265.

To learn more about Pi Day and for tips on celebrating 3/14, visit the official Pi Day website. While you’re there, you can pick up all kinds of wonderfully geeky pi swag and send your friends some equally geeky Pi Day E-Cards. For some fun Pi Day activities, you could calculate pi by throwing frozen hot dogs or (considerably less random) watch the film, π. Here’s the trailer:

And to add some Steam to your Pi Day, consider making this amazingly tasty Victorian Meat Pie recipe. Yum! That’s a good reason to celebrate Pi Day even if you hate math.

Tea Dueling

Steampunks love a good sporting event. From the North American Beard and Mustache Championships to the Chap Olympiad, we love the opportunity to display our physical prowess and abilities before awed spectators. We are a proud bunch, after all, and despite our attempts at humility and insistence to the contrary, we really do love attention.

Which is probably why, at some point, it was decided that we needed to bring competition into a favorite pastime, enjoying tea.  And thus, Tea Dueling was created.

You can read all the rules on Brass Goggles, but if you can’t be bothered to read what is something of a wall of text, you can see a duel that occurred during the Steampunk NYE 2010/2011 party in Corby below.

Tea and competition!? What more could you ask for? I think I need to start training my biscuit dunking skills so that I too might best my opponents in dueling. You had best watch out!

January is National Tea Month

Even though it’s more than half way through January, it’s better late than never to let you know that January is National Tea Month. There’s no drink that so pleases Steampunk sensibilities and inspires such reverential treatment. Professor Elemental wrote this anthem to our favorite beverage:

Tea has an interesting and quirky history. The Tea Drinker Blog has these interesting facts about tea.

  • Tea is the second most widely consumed beverage in the world after water. Half of the world’s population drinks it either hot or cold.
  • It is the most popular and cheapest beverage, next to water, in the world.
  • Everyday, more than 2 billion men and women drink their favorite beverage, tea.
  • 5 out of 6 North Americans drink tea
  • The average North American consumes one cup of tea per day.
  • Tea’s consumption will continue to increase as health-conscious consumers choose tea for its medicinal benefits.
  • Tea is a rich source of antioxidants and flavonoids which are scientifically proven to aid in the prevention of heart disease and cancer.
  • The antioxidants in two cups of black tea are equivalent to the antioxidants in one glass of red wine, seven glasses of orange juice, or 20 glasses of apple juice.

So this January, stay warm with a nice cuppa and enjoy National Tea Month! Yay!

Tea, though ridiculed by those who are naturally coarse in their nervous sensibilities will always be the favorite beverage of the intellectual.
-Thomas de Quincey

In Praise of Idleness and Tea

Around the globe today, many are celebrating Christmas. It’s an opportunity for many to spend time with loved ones and enjoy that company. For others, it’s just another day.

Regardless of your religious beliefs, it is Saturday. And today, I’d like to encourage my readers to take the day to relax. This film by the Tea Appreciation Society entitled, “In Praise of Idleness and Tea,” was created as a tribute to tea’s ability to slow us down, to encourage us to pause for moments of reflection and introspection.

Sometimes we get caught up in the dizzying whirl of life. We get swept away by to-do lists and demands from work that makes us neglect what we truly care about. This year, I’ve been particularly guilty of putting aside the things and people I care about for demands from things and people who don’t necessarily care about me. It’s a terrible habit, and its hardly a way to live a life.

In the waning days of 2011, I’d like to encourage you, my dear reader, to indulge in some personal idleness with a cup of tea (or other steamy beverage of choice). Now is a great time to consider what adventures you would like to embark on in the approaching new year on this last weekend before 2011.

Steampunk Cakes

One of my favorite blogs in the vast space that is the internetz is Cake Wrecks. Cake Wrecks features the very worst in professional cake decorating atrocities. Needless to say, it is very much for the lulz. After I’ve had a bad day, Cake Wrecks often leaves me feeling better by reminding me of no matter how frustrating my day was, I don’t fail quite as much as the people who decorate (and expect others to buy) these cakes.

Every Sunday, however, Cake Wrecks features some of the very best in cake creation and design. Recently, she did a thread on Steampunk cakes. And, needless to say, these cakes are AMAZING. Like this one:

By Amanda of Venus Cakes: http://www.venuscakes.com/

I don’t know when I would ever have such an occasion to have a cake like that, but it is definitely impressive.

To see the entire blog post which includes lots more pictures of awesome Steampunk cakes, head on over to Cake Wrecks. And for some hilarious examples of cake decorating gone wrong, make sure to visit their main page often!