Just under a year ago, never in my wildest dreams, would I have thought that I would be frantically pushing myself to create a cake in a matter of days for a few hundreds soccer fans I hardly know; namely fellow Western Sydney Wanderers fans.
Ant and his brother were actively involved with the club during the team’s early days of fruition; from attending multiple community forums to discuss the team’s logo, colours, playing style etc to travelling around the west, chanting and causing a ruckus as they support this new team, way before the season kicked off. I would call them hooligans; not really understanding why they were so passionate about this team
Then it hit me.
His brother went away on holidays. So I took this opportunity to take his membership and attend some of the home games in his place. In the active support bay of the Red and Black Bloc (RBB). That is, where all the “hooligans” were… And after that, I guess you could say I was bitten by the RBB bug.
You chant for hours before the game starts, the full 90 minutes of the game, and even a bit after the game. The following days, my voice is husky (because I’m chanting at the top of my lungs – to the point that I feel like my head is about to explode and collapsing from exhaustion) and legs sore (from jumping up and down). But it’s worth it! The atmosphere is phenomenal. It’s just one big party to celebrate the beauty that is, The Wanderers. And although I am only one voice, I love the fact that I am contributing to an atmosphere that everyone loves. I am part of the Wanderers family.
The support from this family is unbelievable, not only for their team but towards one another. There have been a multitude of feel-good stories of the support from this family that gets unnoticed. From an incident where a girl collapsed and blacked out in the middle of a marching crowd of thousands and was protected from being trampled on as a group of strangers formed a human barrier around her until medical assistance was sought, to the RBB raising funds to purchase 200 tickets to donate to several community charity groups that wouldn’t have had the opportunity to watch a game otherwise and the time where a fan opened up his heart and gave away his spare ticket for free to the 3rd Sydney Derby to a recent-residing refugee hooked by the game after attending one Wanderers home game (These tickets were the most sought after tickets; having been sold out within 30mins when tickets went on sale to the general public, and offers of Ebay could’ve made him a decent penny or two).
Hands up Turner!
Last Friday sees Ant, his brother and I (along with approximately 8000-10000 fans) travelling up to Newcastle to watch the Wanderers play their final match of the season and to witness history in the making if they take home the minor Premier’s plate; all they needed was a draw. Never before, has a team in its inaugural season taken out the premiership. For all, it was a nerve-racking but exciting time leading up to the game, but I’m sure we had every faith in the boys to get the job done. What a fairy tale dream it would be for them to win it.
But before the game commenced, a call for a celebration was due, regardless of whether we win or lose. The Wanderers family needed to celebrate the successful season we’ve had. The RBB had organised a family BBQ (dubbed “RBBQ”) for fellow Wanderers fans. It was amazing to see the amount of effort pitched in to make this day a successful one. We had 4 BBQs burning to feed a mass of at least 1000 people, face painting for the
big kids, and of course pre-game entertainment by La Banda (as usual). And whether it was a coincidence or not, the fact that we had it at Wanderers Oval was very fitting.
In a spur of the moment, I thought it would be a great idea to make a cake. A cake for the masses. There was no questioning what cake I would make. The colours of the Wanderers are red and black, so red (and black) velvet cake it was!
I absolutely love this recipe, and everyone else who seems to have made it all agree as well. Now, the main issue I was facing was “How the heck am I going to make a cake and make sure it will last the 2.5 hour road trip up to Newcastle?!” Surely, having the traditional cream cheese frosting alone was not going to endure this kind of treatment, so my only option was to cover it with fondant. Not being a massive fan of it and only having experience with working with it only once before, I decided to take the plunge anyway.
It took me 3 days to make.
Four 12 inch square layers were baked within 3 hours (multitasking at it’s best – oh how I love thee, BellaRossa aka Kitchenaid!). Covered with cream cheese frosting the next day. Then covered the cake with fondant and made the tedious WSW logo the following day. Goddamn this cake was heavy! I should’ve weighed this monster of a cake, my guess was that it was at least 5-10 kgs!
The day came, everyone was enjoying themselves, relaxing in the warmth of the sun, kicking the ball around; essentially a wonderful start for game day. Jerrad Tyson (our reserve goal keeper) makes an appearance alongside Wynston the Wanderer; there were cheers all around. He has been a positive figure in this community, providing plenty of hilarity with his online presence and it was so good of him to come by to mingle with everyone, present Broadmeadow Magic FC (the football club that hosted their grounds to us for a pre-season match and the RBBQ) with some gifts as well as baked a delicious chocolate cake to thank the RBB.
I found it funny, but not surprising, that there would be discussions about food; us westies are a mixed bag of cultures afterall. During the lead up to the RBBQ, everyone was getting so pumped about cevapi and ajvar. Next time, I’m bringing spring rolls and nem nuong!
A brilliant day it was. The Wanderers convincingly beat the Newcastle Jets 3-0. The crowd went wild! I was hugging and hi5-ing everyone around me (even if I didn’t know them). We chanted and celebrated into the night. This will be a story I’ll definitely be sharing with the kids one day. Life couldn’t get any more sweeter…
The success of this RBBQ and team clearly demonstrates the tight-nit community the Wanderers have developed in a such a short amount of time. This club was created by the people, for the people.
WHO DO YOU SING FOR?!
For more pictures, click here.
Cake. Bringing people together. More than salad ever could…
To assemble a 12-inch square Wanderers cake you’ll need:
Serves approximately 100
Two layers of red velvet cake (for each layer, double the recipe above)
Two layers of black velvet cake (for each layer, double the recipe above but replace the red food colouring with black food colouring)
Cream cheese frosting (quadruple the recipe above)
2kg white fondant (you won’t need all of it but this amount is required to cover a 12-inch square cake with a height of 4-inches)
250g red fondant (preferably pre-coloured)
250g black fondant (preferably pre-coloured)
Some vegetable shortening
14 inch cake board
WSW logo printed on paper and cut out
- Bake all 4 layers of cake and cool.
- Lay one layer of the cake on the cake board and pile 1/4 of the cream cheese frosting on top.
- Repeat with other 2 layers.
- Place last layer on top and cover sides and top with remaining frosting.
- Leave in fridge overnight to harden slightly.
- Knead fondant briefly on a surface dusted with icing sugar to make the fondant pliable.
- Roll out white fondant, to a thickness of about 3mm and size that would cover the cake and sides sufficiently.
- Cover cake and set aside.
- Roll out black fondant to a thickness of 2mm and cut out outer circle of logo.
- Place circle on sheet of baking paper and rub over shortening to remove white icing sugar spots.
- Cut out black portion of printed logo.
- Roll out white fondant to a thickness of 2mm and cut out next circle of logo. Stick the white circle on top of the black circle with some water brushed on one side of the fondant.
- Cut out the white portion of the printed logo and the “WSW” and “FC” letters (and “WESTERN SYDNEY WANDERERS” if you are daring and crazy to attempt cutting it out of fondant).
- Roll out red fondant to a thickness of 2mm and cut out the last circle and letters. Carefully transfer on top of white circle.
- Transfer logo onto cake. Enjoy!