Sea foam Icing on Vanilla Almond White cake

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Last week my aunts and cousin were chatting on social media about sitting down to a pretty table setting at my Great Grandmother’s table.  They reminisced about drinking lemonade from a tulip crystal pitcher and eating vanilla cake with sea foam icing.

Of course I had to Google it.  And of course, I accepted the challenge.  Making weird things is one of my favorite things to do.  I also enjoyed making this because I was young when my great grandmother died and I felt a little connected.

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There is my Great Grandmother “Birdie” Denham in the center of the photograph wearing the grey dress.  My aunt Eve, who started all this is the beautiful young dark haired woman in the sky blue dress on the far right.

First I improvised a white cake mix.  As much as I would like to take the credit… I found the recipe here and added a teaspoon of almond extract instead of the vanilla and 1/8 cup of Mexican sour cream.  I can’t just leave things alone.  I improvised the improvise.

So I made two rounds. IMG_6662

And then I started on the icing.  Icing is a much better word for this than frosting.

This is a science project.  What you are doing is science.  A cake and a science experiment all in one. A science experiment that can be eaten.

First I strongly suggest you go and buy a kitchenaide mixer.  Why?  because they are fabulous and worth the ridiculous amount of money.  My wonderful husband, after a great deal of begging on my part, (he was perplexed that I would want a kitchen appliance for Christmas) put one under the tree for me about two years ago.  I have been transformed by this magnificent piece of machinery.  I have NO idea how women would have made this without it.

anyway….

You will need a heavy sauce pan, a whisk and a candy thermometer (or really good intuition) and a mixer that can turn wimpy egg whites into prominently peaked fluffy meringue.

1 1/2 cup of brown sugar

1/2 cup of water

3 egg whites.

Put the brown sugar and water into a sauce pan and bring to a bubble. Put the egg whites into the mixer with the whisk attachment and whip at high speed.

Meanwhile in the sauce pan, whisk the brown sugar water concoction constantly to avoid scorching.  When the thermometer has reached 245, turn off the heat.  when it stops bubbling, pour a steady but small stream into the whipping eggs.  Clear the kitchen, make all small children and animals leave the immediate area….beacuse you need to BE CAREFUL YOU ARE POURING SCALDING HOT LAVA INTO A BOWL WITH A FLAPPING WHISK…..

Something magical happens… the marrying of the hot sugar syrup and the egg whites is perfect.  It turns into a glossy marshmallow-whipped cream sort of icing.

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It is light and airy.  It is fat free!  It is not a heavy icing.  You will not be able to stack decorations or even sprinkles or coconut.  Leave it the way it is.  It will not hold up.  I did put it in between the layers and it just squished down.  However, it left behind the sweet caramel flavor of the brown sugar behind.

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The only downfall of this icing is that being a science experiment, it cannot withstand much.  It’s not a travelling cake.  The icing will deflate if it gets too warm or too cold.  I refrigerated a piece and it seemed okay but I wouldn’t chance it.  It’s best at room temperature.  This cake don’t keep long either.  So there is an excuse to eat an entire cake in 24 hours. Also, if you overcook the sugar, it will become gritty.  Seems like a lot of work?  Not really.  It’s something different and my family enjoyed it… My critique husband said it was missing fresh strawberries…. maybe next time.

You will most likely have a TON left over so on a cookie sheet I put down parchment paper and spooned out a few teaspoon blobs, about a inch away from each other.  I put them in the oven at 200 degrees for about an hour and then turned off the oven, leaving them overnight.  Meringue cookies.  They were crispy little clouds of goodness and much better than the food colored ones in the grocery.

I have gone bunting madĀ 

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I have gone mad.  Bunting mad that is. I love fabric.  I love some of the vintage pieces in my stash so much that I have stingily hoarded them away, searching for the perfect project to match my fabulous old textiles.

And then…. And then!…. As I was strolling down a Pinterest back alley for craft addicts, I came across some precious bunting.   I turned my family room into a party just like that.  unnamed2unnamed3

Bunting, the exposing of the madness of a fabric hoarder.  I did not buy one thing for this project.  Every piece of fabric and edging and thread were already burrowed away in my tote of fabric treasure.

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Seriously how cute is this?  We had a “happy cause it’s Sunday night dinner” party last night… If Ina Garten can have cocktail parties on a whim…. so can I.  I added a bottle of Blueberry Moscato to our grilled chicken Sunday meal. Voila! cocktail party!  Ina would have been proud.

I have had so much fun with bunting, I made my coworker one that matches her theme and colors for her new baby room.

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image CUTENESS OVERLOAD!

This is an easy project and not made for the perfectionist to enjoy.  All you need to do is make triangles and attach them to something.  Easy right?  And you get to look at all that pretty fabric that you have kept stowed away.

First gather up all your pretty fabrics.  You will need a ruler, good pair of scissors or one of those cutting wheel quilt things…. I used both.  You will need pins and some edging or ribbon or string… whatever you want to use.

Decide on a size.  Do you want them big, small, medium?  It’s all about how and where you will use them.  I downloaded my bunting flag size but can’t remember where to help you out here.  You just need to keep in mind that the wide end of your triangle should be an inch longer than you want it to be and that there is a / on one side and a \ on the other.  I don’t know why.  image

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Cut out the triangle on a piece of paper.  THIS IS YOUR PATTERN FOR ALL of the FLAGS unless you want them different sizes which is well… Ludacris

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Stating the obvious, you must have two pieces of fabric for each flag.  Putting right sides together, pin your pattern to your fabric and cut away.

imageWHIR WHIR WHIR!

imageWHIR WHIR WHIR!

All the way down to the point and head back home. Leave the wide edge openimage  image(again stating the obvious) so you can turn it inside out.  Use something with a blunt end to make that point.

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image Iron into a nice little flag and run a stitch along the /\ to finish it off  image

This one is my favorite šŸ™‚image  I have hoarded this vintage Lily of the Valley fabric for years.  I found it in the attic of a farm house estate sale.  I made an apron out of it and have kept the little left overs hoping for a project such as this. Its so lovely.

Back to the instructions……

imageOnce you have all of your little flags ready, use a ruler and trim off the top so that you have a perfect triangle.  Make sure that wide end is straight so that it doesn’t mess you up later when you are sewing them to your ribbon or edging.  image

once you have all of the flags the way you want, I did play around with some ric rac on a few.  Since I happen to have a stash of vintage ric rac along with my stash of fabric.  Amazing how we can stash away so much fabric.  I hide mine in totes, bags, a suitcase.. seriously I have a problem.  I like dishes too but that’s for another 12 step program.

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Now you are ready to start attaching your flags to your edge.

I used what I could find which ended up being a few different colors of edging.  Make sure you use something to space your flags evenly.  You can bring out some perfectionism here but not too much.

imageDouble fold edging.  I used wide ones and narrow ones…. because guess what?  I have a stash of this stuff too!

imageimageMy guide between flags was some ric rac.  this was about 2 1/2 inches wide.

Lay the flag on the edging and sew down.  image

I made my flag as long as the edging was.  Some were full lengths and some were shorter.  My longest flag in the pictures above is probably 6 feet.

After you have sewn all your flags, fold the edging over and sew down again.  image EWWW!  Please excuse my ironing board.  It hasn’t been a clothing ironing board in a few years because it inadvertently became my crafting table.  It’s perfect height and length for sewing projects.  It is now covered in hot glue drops, glitter, paint… looks pretty gross in these pictures šŸ˜¦

imageYou could be less lazy than me and find some matching thread but really… these are hanging high.  Who is looking at the thread?

So much fun.  If sewing is therapeutic for you.  I recommend this for your treatment plan.

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imageFlag Happy

unnamed2 aww look… my kitty Louise is having lunch on the sideboard.  Yes.  That’s disturbing.  If I don’t keep her food up high, the dog devours it.  I hide this practice when I have cocktail party dinners in this room.unnamed

unnamed3Happy Bunting!