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Gosh Cakes

May 16, 1996|CHARLES PERRY

The ambitious, architectural spirit of classic French pa^tisseur Antonin Care^me hovered over the fourth annual wedding cake contest, sponsored by Domaine Carneros sparkling wine at its Napa chateau May 4. But Care^me was not alone; he was joined by some whimsical horror-movie spirits.

The grand prize winner among the 32 entries, for instance, was Mike McCarey of Amazing Cakes in Redmond, Wash., for a tasty reproduction of the Chrysler Building in banana-caramel cake, complete with King Kong climbing it, Faye Wray in hand. First prize in celebrity category went to Richard Russell of the Phoenician Hotel in Scottsdale, Ariz., for a rather sinister cake portraying Dr. Jekyll proposing to a Mrs. Hyde.

On the other hand, the first prize winner in the classical category was William Robert Steele, pie cook of the Ritz-Carlton Huntington Hotel in Pasadena, for an exact replica of Pasadena's City Hall, which took four weeks to complete. Of course, the architecture was done in sugar pastillage, which is inedible; if you lifted it up like a lid, though, you'd uncover the real three-tiered cake of almond genoise. It would be a little awkward for the bride and groom cutting the cake together, but Care^me would have approved.

Mystery Meat

Perhaps you've read that stage illusionist David Copperfield plans to open a restaurant under Times Square in December and that it will be the magician's equivalent of a Planet Hollywood (designed by the same group that designed nearly 40 rock 'n' roll-themed P. Hollywoods around the world). But do you know who the executive vice president and "brand manager" of David Copperfield's Magic Underground will be? None other than a certain Walter M. Weller, who was behind the "Where's the Beef" ad campaign for Wendy's eight years ago.

Aha! That's where the beef was all the time! David Copperfield made it disappear, along with the Statue of Liberty!

The Rule of Three

Right now there are two competing cookbooks with a single gimmick, the idea of having only three ingredients per dish. One is "Cooking With Three Ingredients: Flavorful Food Easy As 1, 2, 3" by Andrew Schloss (HarperCollins; $17). Schloss is co-author of a couple of other convenience cuisine cookbooks, "Dinner's Ready" and "One-Pot Cakes."

The other book--"Recipes 1-2-3" (Viking; $22.95); there will also be a television series by the same name (which is a trademark)--is by Rozanne Gold, who has been a major New York foodie ever since she was Ed Koch's cook during his first term as mayor. How major? We're talking James Beard award, guest chefing for Regis and Kathie Lee and Robin Leach, being president of the New York chapter of Les Dames d'Escoffier, and developing "Hudson River Cuisine" and the concept of "Med-Rim" cooking.

Gold is also culinary director of a restaurant consulting firm run by Joseph Baum. Now that we think of it, Baum's firm is consulting on Copperfield's restaurant. So is that why there are only three ingredients in her recipes? Did Copperfield make all the rest disappear, along with the beef and the Statue of Liberty?

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