“Art on food” will be a section of my blog, where I will present dishes, inspired by artworks. I will focus mainly on Contemporary Art as this period currently is the most interesting for me, and as for cooking through all art history the life will not be enough.
In some questions I am quite pedantic: if you want to write about Contemporary Art, you have to define it. Surprisingly enough, this is not that easy: while for example, Sotheby’s calls “early contemporary” art produced between 1945 and 1970, Christie’s defines the same period as “post-War”: “The post-World War II period from 1945 until 1970 is recognized as one of the most creative artistic periods of the 20th century, spanning movements from Abstract Expressionism in New York in the 1940s to Pop Art that was popular mainly in England and the United States (from late 1950s to early 1970s)”.
Sounds appealing, that’s why I will kick off the project with Abstract Expressionism and its most famous representative, Jackson Pollock. He is a very suitable person to begin with, as he was named the greatest living painter in the United States back in 1949 and he remains one of the most known and recognised artists nowadays.
His fame was cemented with his drinking problems, wild behaviour and tragic death. His paintings may seem chaotic, driven solely by emotions, however, Pollock claimed he knew exactly, how the paint would lay. “There is no accident,” Pollock once said, “just as there is no beginning or end… Sometimes I lose a painting, but I have no fear of changes, of destroying the image, because a painting has a life of its own.”
Pollock mastered the art of being precise in yet another activity – baking. The artist actually was a foodie and a good cook, as recently Robin Lea, an Australian photographer, discovered while taking pictures of his kitchen. She found a book of recipes, hand-written by Pollock himself. “I thought he was the genius wild man throwing paint in the air and drinking too much,” Lea said, “And then the great surprise was that he was the baker, which is an art and science that requires precision. That was a great shock to me — he’s a baker but his artwork is not like that.”
Lea published a well-received book, Dinner with Jackson Pollock: Recipes, Art & Nature, which I have not read yet, but I hope to get it in the nearest future. As for now, I will present a Jackson Pollock-inspired Bounty cake with orange buttercream (I call it bounty as it resembles the taste of the famous chocolate bar). The recipe was taken from My name is Yeh.
Jackson Pollock Bounty Cake with Orange Buttercream
- 790 grams sweetened coconut flakes
- 130 grams unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 4 egg whites large
- 4 tsp vanilla extract
- 610 ml sweetened condensed milk
- 455 grams butter softened
- 480 grams powdered sugar
- 1 orange zest
- 2 tbsp orange juice
- 25 grams chocolate
- 15 min
- 1 h
- Ready in:
- 1 h 15 min
- In a large bowl combine coconut, cocoa and salt.
- In another bowl whisk together egg whites, vanilla and condensed milk.
- Add combine wet ingredients with dry ingredients, mix well, so that condensed milk coat evenly coconut-cocoa mixture. The dough will be quite dry.
- Grease four round 20cm baking dishes, and spread the dough evenly among them. If you have just one baking dish, bake layers one after another.
- Bake on 180C (350F) for about 18 minutes. Let layers cool before you assemble the cake
- To make frosting, just whisk all ingredients together, until butter becomes white and fluffy
- To assemble the cake, grease each layer with cream, and stack layers together. After, coat all cake with the remaining frosting
- To make "Jackson Pollock" decor, melt chocolate on the water bath, put oit in the piping bag, and drip all over the cake. Add several pieces of lemon zest to complete
This cake is of a good size, so can be used as a birthday cake. If you, however, do not expect any guests, I would advise reducing all ingredients in two times. It is the matter of personal preferences, but I did not use all frosting, it was way too much. For a thin layer of cream (see the picture) reduce the frosting ingredients on 1/3