Thi Hi Boots And Corset Cake
I have a friend named Loralee whose nickname is Thi Hi Leather Boots, and she made herself a corset birthday cake last weekend. Lee (or Thi) moved away a few years ago, and her D.C. friends sorely miss her. She had come here from Massachusetts, her native state, and now she is in another part of New England. I keep running into women who have (had) motorcycles, like Lee and Velvet in Dupont, who know how to renovate houses, and in Lee’s case, how to be a chocolatier.
A few years back, I designed a corset birthday card for Lee, corsets being another of her passions, and I wish I had better photographs to offer up, but those got lost in a hard drive fry. I used very heavy black stock paper (which was a doozy cutting) off a corset template I designed. I also used red stain ribbon, red satin rosettes and red crystal hearts. The card was designed to be opened after being unlaced. I only made one other card like that again in greens. It was labor intensive, but the hardest part was that stubborn black paper that showed every scissor nick. I’m guessing Lee still has the card. I know she retains a passion for corsets.
This birthday she decided to make a corset birthday cake, and it came out pretty good for a first try. It was a white cake with vanilla butter cream frosting, and covered by a fondant. Fondants give shape to desserts, but are rarely popular to eat, and Lee confirmed this, but she added people loved the butter cream, and she’s going to be doing a series of chocolates with them. She also made a simple syrup of amaretto and vanilla (using real vanilla bean,) for the layers, and also vanilla bean in the frosting, which leaves these tiny brown flecks from the scraping of the bean.
If you’ve never done this, vanilla beans are long narrow brown beans, fairly pricey (you usually get two per purchase,) that you cut lengthwise, then run a knife down, scraping off the brown seed interior for the cooking process. It looks like brown “gunk,” but it breaks down upon stirring into tiny dots the size of grains of sand, and it gives anything you use it with a highly aromatic flavoring—absolutely nothing like liquid vanilla extract that most cooks rely on. I would list vanilla beans under “sensual experience” as odd as that sounds, and given Lee’s love of the sensual, entirely appropriate.
I hope you continue to evolve your corset cake building skills, Lee, but more importantly, you had a wonderful birthday and all my best wishes. Love, Cubie