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 mad 

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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 🙂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 😦

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!

Strawberry season is here in Kentucky. 

Sweet sweet June bearing strawberries came a little early in Northern Kentucky.  I grow them in the city, in my back yard.  The patch is about 5×8 and my berries are abundant. 



I had been on vacation or I would have picked them sooner.  These babies were ripe, some within hours of being yuck.  So I washed them, added them to a pan, sprinkled about a half cup of sugar on them, smashed them with a potato smasher and brought to a boil.  I reduced the heat and let it simmer for about 30 minutes,  I let it cool and jarred it for later.  


Mmmmmmm nom nom, I could eat this with a spoon.

I found a fabulous recipe for shortcakes here.  I used her shortcake recipe and modified it a tad,  I used regular milk because it didn’t have whole and added a tsp of vanilla.

http://chefinyou.com/2012/07/strawberry-shortcake/



Seriously. Yummy. 🍓  


Appropriately on my mothers strawberry plates.  

Perfect peach bundt cake 


Nothing like a disaster recipe becoming the beginning of a perfectly new created one.  I was trolling Pinterest for a peach cake recipe. I found one that looked simple enough but I didn’t read far enough down to see that it was either a big mistake or just a fraud.   It left out some essential ingredients… Like eggs, a liquid and a fat.  I was so trigger happy to make a cake I started my kitchenaid all aflurry before I realized I would have to create it from scratch.  I already had half of a cake started! 

The key is to always use quality ingredients.  I use a lot of simple truth products.  Organic is just better. 
SIMPLE SYRUP SOAKED PEACH BUNDT CAKE WITH CREAM CHEESE BUTTER FROSTING 

Cake:

3 1/2 cups of cake flour

2 cups granulated sugar

2 heaping tbsp brown sugar

1 can of quality peaches (use organic if possible) RESERVE THE JUICE 

3/4 cup oil (canola is fine but I used sweet almond oil)

3 large eggs

1/2 tsp Cinnamon 

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp baking powder 

3/4 cup milk 

1 tsp vanilla 

1/2 tsp salt 

Mash the peaches,  I used a potato masher and put a colander over a bowl and mashed so that I would get more juice.  

Add peaches to bowl. Add flour, sugars, eggs, oil, milk, 1/2 cup of the reserved juice, spices, salt and baking powder and vanilla.   I had a thin batter but it works.  

Pour into very greased BUNDT pan and bake at 350 for 45-50 minutes until knife comes out clean. Let cool. 

Peach simple syrup:

Reserved peach juice

Granulated sugar

While the cake is baking……Using the rest of the juice, make a syrup.  It’s hard to tell you how to do this. I didn’t really measure.  It’s a 2:1 kind of ratio.  I added about a cup of sugar to the remaining syrup in a sauce pan.  I boiled it, whisked it for a while and then lowered the heat and let it just do its thing.  If you have never made simple syrup, read about it on the net and you will see that it’s not too hard.   Take it off the heat and let it sit. Once the cake has cooled, still in the BUNDT pan, ladle the syrup onto the cake and let it soak in.  In some of my pictures below, you can see drops and smudges of the beautiful syrup.  

Now for the frosting. ….

1 8oz bar cream cheese

1/2 stick butter

Vanilla

Powdered sugar

With a mixer using the paddle attachment (or use electric mixer), add I bar of cream cheese, 1/2 stick of butter, a splash of vanilla and two cups of powdered sugar.  Mix until glossy and smooth 

Invert cake onto plate.  Plop on the icing and smooth it around as you should.  
Delicious, moist, decadent …..



I made something French

I can’t just take chips and dips to a party or celebration. No…. I’m the girl that has to make everything homemade and show off my skills. I tell myself that I am promoting healthy eating…. But I’m just gloating. I like to be the girl that shows up with a galette and place it beautifully next to the blue iced chain store cake. Yeah.. That my beauty right thur

I looked up galette crusts on Pinterest and found several. Most have a combination of flour and corn meal. Not really sure why. But I went with it. Just find one that meets the stuff you already have in your pantry. I used this one.

I used 2 cans of peaches, drained, and added 1/2 cup each of brown and white sugar a teaspoon if cinnamon and a 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg. Roll out your crust thin and arrange the fruit mix in the center. Fold the flaps over. With the extra dough I made leaves and rosettes. Brush with egg white . Bake until it starts to get golden on top.

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Hope you had a happy 4th if July!