Can a birthday cake look like a Colima pot?

In my last job, my boss/supervisor was a specialist in Colonial Latin American and  Pre-Colombian art.  Actually, early this year she reached out to me with regards to a new book she was writing with several others.  This book delves into the intricate artwork of nationally recognized Peruvian retablo artist, Nicario Jiménez Quispe. She invited me, wearing the hat of a folklorist, to write the Foreward of the forthcoming book. What an honor, this was an opportunity to assemble some thoughts about folk arts.  But that’s digression, the book – Immigration in the Visual Art of Nicario Jiménez Quispe – will be out in the fall.

detail, retablo, Nicario Jimenez Quispe

Back on track now, the Colima pot. Our museum has quite a collection of Pre-Colombian ceramics. My boss had invested a great amount of time in reviewing the collection to determine the number of fake items which were included.  Then she worked toward getting the artifacts correctly identified.  In fact, a group of the museum studies students took on this project and curated an engaging exhibit which showed a number of the pieces to the public in the summer of 2014 (see the June 22 entry). But that’s another digression.

Traci Petersen and Pre-Colombian vessel

The Colima pot, back on track. I had already made a tea pot cake for a project for a Girl Scout mother-daughter tea. I have one of those cake molds for miniature bundt cakes.  I baked one cake for each girl; they started with an undecorated cake, 2 sugar cookies baked into the shapes of the tea pot spout and handle, and a small round chocolate Droste pastille for the tea pot lid.  They and their mothers decorated the cake with a variety of icings and lovely sprinkles. To set the scene, I had made a full-sized bundt cake as a tea pot. The afternoon was a smashing success … and yet another digression.

Colima Squash Vessel

For the Colima pot, I started with the full-sized bundt cake, actually 2 cakes – their bottoms were joined together with a liberal coating of icing, to create somewhat of a sphere. Next step was to ice the outside and then add the fondant. I did not and still do not have the skill mixing colors perfected, nevertheless I think it looks like ceramic/terra cotta. My goal was to make it resemble a Colima Squash Vessel, thus the ridges.

Wow! Was my colleague taken by surprise.  She loved it!  It was such a good birthday surprise.

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