Crush Cakes: Clara Bow -The Toast

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Laura Vincent’s previous Crush Cakes can be found here.

Welcome back to Crush Cakes. When you sit around breathlessly swooning over your crushes nonstop like me, well…we are worldly people here, you know what happens next. I make cakes expressing my feelings for them, and then sit back and wait for my destiny to be fulfilled. It all makes perfect sense. 

Oh, Clara Bow. It Girl of silent film, talkies, and my heart. With her mouth slightly drooping at the corners, those darkly expressive eyes, and the ability to emote silently with steely precision, it’s little wonder I have an ill-timed crush on her. Quoth Clara: “They yell at me to be dignified. But what are the dignified people like? The people who are held up as examples for me? They are snobs. Frightful snobs … I’m a curiosity in Hollywood. I’m a big freak, because I’m myself!” 

Swoon to the swoon, right? 

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I decided to make a black and white marble cake in honour of Bow’s similarly tinted film achievements. Well, it’s more black and butter-coloured, but you get the idea. 

Marble Cake to Express My Crushing On Clara Bow:

250g/2 sticks soft butter

1 cup sugar

4 eggs

250g/2 cups flour

4 teaspoons baking powder

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon cocoa

2 tablespoons hot water

black food colouring

Set your oven to 180 C/350 F and grease a ring cake tin with a little butter. Vigorously stir the butter and sugar together till quite light and fluffy. Add your eggs, beat them in, then gently stir in the flour, baking powder, and vanilla. Scoop roughly half the mixture into another bowl. In a small bowl/mug/etc mix together the cocoa and the hot water – the latter helps the former really sing, apparently – and tip that into one half of the mixture. Add some black food colouring to this – a couple of teaspoons should do it. Tbh this is entirely affectatious and doesn’t affect the flavour at all so leave it out if you want, but I’m pretty sure Entirely Affectatious is my favourite Clara Bow film so, I mean, I warned you. Spoon this dark cake mix haphazardly into the cake tin along with dollops of the plain cake mix, alternating till there’s none left. Smooth out the top, bake for about 45 minutes, carefully turn onto a fancy plate, and that’s it. 

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What you’re looking at here is a very simple, straightforward cake that tastes like butter and vanilla and is very easy to put together. It also might stain your teeth black from the not-entirely-necessary food colouring. What price love, though! 

I know Clara Bow has been and gone, but if completely unattainable is what gets you going, there’s none finer. Also I cannot recommend fervently enough that you watch her in Call Her Savage. In the tiny snippet that’s on YouTube alone she shrieks raucously while riding a horse, soundly whips a man who dares to laugh at her, and gets fresh at the patriarchy while rolling petulantly in the grass. Also in The Wild Party she taught me a precious lesson: to never enter a room any way other than by shouting “Courage Girls!” and then dancing sassily with your friends. She is a real hero. So Clara Bow, if you’re out there somewhere: 

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Laura Vincent is the author of a fancy cookbook called Hungry and Frozen, and a food blog of the same name. She likes to dance, knit, swoon over babes, and successfully seek attention. She's from Wellington, New Zealand.

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