First, a little background....
I used to go down to my sister's house on the weekends a lot back around this time. Early in the morning, or sometimes overnight. We'd have coffee in the mornings. Natalie was a baby, Calvin was a round-cheeked toddler...and a terrific new bagel place had opened up in town, and they also had flavored coffees. Sometimes I'd bring Calvin with me to pick out the bagles and coffee for the morning.
Anyway - as I said, Natalie was a baby, and she didn't go to bed cooperatively or sleep through the night...so coffee was verrrrrrrrry important as early in the morning as possible.
That's one thing. The other is, and I think I've already mentioned this in one (or both) of the other posts about cakes I've done for my sister, the cake needs to be CHOCOLATE.
Okay. Now ALSO, around this time period, or maybe the year before, I'd bought a book that included all sorts of cool Christmas-themed ideas - not just decorating, but baking, cooking, gift-giving, whatever. And in there - the sole reason I bought the book - was a recipe about making bowls out of very firm gingerbread. And I thought those were really cool. I know I made bowls one year, as part of the cookie-giving thing...not sure which year.
So that's the background.
And so when I was thinking about some sort of theme for my sister's cake, I thought about coffee. And came up with the idea of making a giant coffee cup out of gingerbread, and filling it with cake.
So here's the very short version of a several-day process:
First I made the gingerbread coffee mug. I made the gingerbread dough (the same dough used for these gingerbread houses) according to the directions and formed the mug shape over a stainless steel mixing bowl, baked it, and also made a handle and a saucer.
I used royal icing to glue the handle to the cup, and then I used thinned royal icing, tinted light blue, to paint the cup and saucer. I used a darker blue icing for the splatter design on them, which was fun - just tipped the brush in it and shook or drizzled the darker blue onto the lighter blue.
For the cake, I baked probably four 8" layers of chocolate cake. Then I lined the same stainless steel mixing bowl with plastic wrap. I cut the layers of cake to fit in the bowl, and in between them I layered a mixture of raspberry jam and chocolate frosting. Once I had all the layers set up, I just (carefully) pulled the whole thing out of the bowl - the cake layers cradled in the plastic wrap - and set it down into the coffee cup. I used the plastic wrap (rather than just assembling the cake inside the cup) to keep the moisture of the cake from seeping into the gingerbread and turning the whole thing into a blue soggy mess.
Next, I melted some chocolate and made a circle on a piece of parchment and let it set. Then I drizzled melted white chocolate in a swirl on top, to represent the half & half she takes in her coffee. When that was all dry and firm, I set that on top of the cake. And that was that.
I especially like how my nephew has his fork all ready. "Come on, Mommy, stop staring at it and cut me a piece!"
Actually, I think to serve it we removed the disc of chocolate on top and then pulled out the whole chocolate cake thing in the plastic wrap, and just cut that up. She kept the cup for quite a while, until the icing "paint" started to flake off.
(And, of course, I'm noticing that I committed one of the cardinal sins of photography - there is a lamp growing out of my nephew's head. Hahahahahahaha. Ah, well.)