Fashionista Isaac Mizrahi was on Martha today. He was wearing an orange sweater and orange shirt with the collar up, so he kind of looked like an orange. But it worked! Martha began by teaching Isaac how to create a fantastic gingerbread town-square cake that looked almost too good to eat. Things got a little awkward at times, like when Isaac uttered that Martha’s picture on the cover of the latest issue of her mag, Martha Stewart Living, didn’t look “too airbrushed” to which Martha replied “No! I don’t allow them to airbrush it at all!” Which is weird, considering the fact that Martha looked more like an Olsen twin in the mag. Perhaps in return for that funny little exchange, Martha then commented how cute it was that Isaac had been a female impersonator as a kid. His face paled and his jaw dropped a little and he said “Martha! I didn’t know you would out me on national TV!”
The fashion guru was also kind of a mess in the kitchen (chocolate everywhere, which pissed off The Martha), and decided to do modern windows in his gingerbread walls (with no panes! major no no), whereas Martha, of course, went with leaded windows from Medieval times.
Martha then proceeded to get crunk with a dashing young wine connoisseur who taught us all about proper wine and champaign glasses. Then a funny bespectacled man taught us how to cut onions and stuff. He looked more like a High School shop teacher, so I half expected him to chop off his finger as Martha looked on.
Anyways, here’s your chance to try your hand at Martha and Isaac’s Gingerbread Town-Square Cake…mmmmm:
* Molasses-Gingerbread Cookie Dough
* Honey-Gingerbread Cookie Dough
* All-purpose flour, for rolling
* Royal Icing
* Walnut Meringue Layers
* Gingerbread Buttercream
* Brandy-Cointreau Syrup
* Seven-Minute Frosting
* Fine sanding sugar, for sprinkling
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roll out each portion of dough on a floured piece of parchment paper to a scant 1/4-inch thick. Brush off excess flour. Using townhouse templates or 6-inch-tall house-shape cutters, cut out 6 cookies from each portion of dough. Cut out doors and windows with any remaining dough. If any more dough remains, discard or save for another use. Transfer houses, doors, and windows to a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and freeze for 15 minutes.
2. Brush houses with a damp pastry brush. Decorate houses with doors and windows in contrasting color of dough. Freeze for 15 minutes.
3. Transfer cookies to oven and bake for 6 minutes. Remove baking sheets from oven, and tap them firmly on counter to flatten cookies. Return to oven, rotating sheets, and bake until crisp but not darkened, 6 to 8 minutes more. Transfer baking sheets to a wire rack; let cool.
4. Using a pastry bag fitted with a very small plain round tip (such as Ateco #0 or #1) outline houses, doors, and windows with royal icing. Decorate as desired, and let set overnight. Outline backs of cookies with icing, and let set.
5. Place 1 meringue layer on a cake stand and spread 1 1/2 cups buttercream over its surface. Top with a slice of genoise. Brush genoise with one-third of the syrup. Spread 1 1/2 cups buttercream over genoise. Repeat layering 2 more times. Spread enough buttercream over sides of cake to fill in any space between layers and create a smooth surface. Refrigerate cake for at least 8 hours (preferably overnight).
6. Just before serving, spread frosting over cake, smoothing sides and creating peaks on top to resemble snow drifts. Sprinkle top with sanding sugar. Gently press 3 cookies onto each side of cake, using 1 of each shape per side and alternating molasses and honey gingerbread. Serve immediately.