Hello friends how was your week? Your Thanksgiving? Did you spend time with family and friends? We had only a small group at our house for Dinner on Thanksgiving Day, just five people. My MIL was able to leave the assisted living village and come and eat with us. Her Birthday is in a few days so we decided to go ahead and celebrate since we were all going to be together. We had a great time.
It was a wonderful day. My sister in law and I took all the babies for a good walk after dinner. And by the time everything was cleaned up and the left overs put away I was pretty much exhausted. Mark drove his mom back to the assisted living village and then we settled in to watch Charlie Brown Thanksgiving and I couldn’t keep my eyes open. Unfortunately there was no Black Friday shopping for me and my sister because I had to work. But that is o.k. we already have a couple of shopping trips planned in the next week or two. Also Buster and Milo were scheduled on Friday for early morning vet appointments to get neutered. More on that in the next post. This silly kitty mama was a little emotional about taking the babies in for this procedure but they did just fine. My heart could barely stand it. Silly Kitty Mama.
On Saturday I went downtown, Madisonville. The block around the courthouse was set up with vendors and food trucks for Christmas. It was a lot of fun. I bought a few things for Christmas presents and had lunch at one of the food trucks before heading to get groceries.
A few weeks back we celebrated my sister and her husbands’ fiftieth wedding anniversary. So that is a super big freaking deal. We had to celebrate big. I wanted to make a special cake. I decided to do a wedding cake.
I hadn’t made a wedding cake in many years. I didn’t even know if I could remember how to put everything together but strangely enough it all came back to me.
I ordered a cake topper from the glassblower at our attraction where I work. He does really amazing work. I ordered it weeks before the anniversary so I would have it in plenty of time. I told him what I wanted it to look like and he had it ready a few days before the celebration. I wanted 50 in gold with birds and bells. I think it turned out amazing.
My sister has always loved the basket weave design on cakes. Anytime that I make a cake for her I use this design. Although it is a little time consuming, especially for a three tier cake, it can actually hide a lot of flaws. HA!!
Several years ago I bought this floating cake stand. It is called that because you place each layer of a cake on a different level and because the stand is in the back it almost looks like it is floating. This way you don’t have to fool with the dowel rods and stacking the cake etc etc. Also this stand can be used for many different things. I have used it several times for desserts, cupcakes, finger foods. Lots of things.
I bought new Wilton pastry bags for the icing, mine were pretty much worn out. I already had several cake tips and I had the round pans. You do not have to use round pans you could use heart pans. Or even cupcakes.
So I made the cake a day before the Anniversary party. The first layer is quite large.
I am going to give you a few tips about the cake. I use cake mix. It is the easiest thing in the world. For cakes like this I use the white cake mix, usually Betty Crocker or Duncan Hines. I am not ashamed of it because it makes the best cakes. I think I used about five or six boxes of cake mix for the three different sizes of cake pans. Never fill the pans more than half way full of batter. Another thing I do, when I take the cake out of the oven I put a paper towel over the top and use a small saucer or flat plate to press down the top of the cake. This makes it flat and smooth and easy to put the icing on.
I do however always make my frosting myself. You will never catch me using canned frosting. With the cake mixes you can always add an extra egg or oil if you feel like the cake needs to be a little more moist. But with the frosting in a can you pretty much have to use it just like it is. I will share my frosting recipe for you below.
This is my frosting recipe it can be used for cakes with a stiff consistency or made softer by adding more milk.
1 teaspoon Wilton Clear Vanilla Extract (Be sure to use the clear so your icing will be perfectly white) 2 tablespoons milk or water (you will need to add more depending on the consistency, I also use Half & Half) 1 cup of solid vegetable shortening (yep the kind in the can) 1 tablespoon of Meringue Powder, (I have been known to skip this if I don’t have it) 2 pounds of sifted confectioners’ sugar Butter extract, this is optional but it adds such wonderful flavor to the icing. Sold right next to the vanilla extract.
Sift confectioners’ sugar and the meringue powder into a large mixing bowl, set aside. Cream shortening, flavorings and mild or water, I never use water, or the Half & Half. Gradually add sifted dry ingredients and mix on medium speed until all ingredients have been thoroughly mixed together. This is where you want to decide how stiff or creamy you want the icing. A good consistency is when you stick a spoon in and it is soft but the spoon will not topple over. You can always add extra Half & Half or whatever you are using or extra powdered sugar to get it to just the right consistency.
So if you are in need of a wedding cake or anniversary cake and you want to impress your friends and family, you too can make a wedding cake. Let me know how it goes.
A Madeleine is a cookie or wait is it a little cake? No matter what they are, I have been wanting to make some of these forever. I bought a special Madelines pan. I think you could use a muffin pan but then they won’t have those adorable little ridges. So they won’t be the same. Sorry but they won’t. I actually bought the pan several months ago and just haven’t gotten around to making any until now. I searched the internet and put several recipes together and came up with one I thought looked really good. There are a lot of rules to making Madeleines so don’t get discouraged. I am sharing my experience with you as I go. I made these last Sunday.
These are some of my finished ones and I will tell you I was pretty proud of them.
Here is the recipe I used:
Pre heat oven to 375
Bake time about 10-12 minutes. 2 large eggs at room temperature ( Room temperature is very important) 1/2 cup of butter (I used salted but you can use unsalted) 2 Tbs. of melted butter for oiling the pan 1 cup of plain flour sifted 1/2 tsp. of baking powder 1/8 tsp. of salt 1/2 cup of granulated sugar 2 tsp. of lemon zest Powdered sugar for dusting (optional)
Mix eggs and sugar together and mix them with an electric mixer for 8 minutes. This is a long time but it makes the eggs inflate and that is what makes the Madeleines so light and airy almost spongy. This will make the eggs and sugar frothy and pale.
Melt the butter and let it sit for about 8 minutes while you are beating the egg mixture. This way the butter won’t be hot.
Mix the flour, baking soda and salt into a bowl and set aside.
When you finish mixing the eggs and sugar, gently, and I do mean gently, fold the flour mixture into your bowl. The reason you want to do this gently is because your eggs are light and airy and you don’t want to deflate them. Next add the lemon zest and the vanilla flavoring. You don’t have to add lemon zest you can use orange zest or only vanilla flavoring. I loved the lemony flavor the lemon zest gave them.
The next step is letting the batter rest in the fridge for about 30-45 minutes.
After you have brushed your pan with butter put about a tablespoon into each little Madeline form and bake for about 10-12 minutes. You won’t believe how they just pop out of the pans. Brushing the pan with butter is best because it tends to make the ridges on the other side of the Madeleines browner and crispier.
I sprinkled half of mine with powdered sugar and left the rest of them plain. This recipe makes about 2 dozen. They dry out really quick so you might want to eat them really fast. I took mine to work and everyone made short work of them.
I hope you get a chance to make them. Let me know if you have any questions.
Last Saturday morning I had to be at the Nissan dealership to get a few things done to my car. I had to get a software update, an oil change and my tires rotated. My car is still under warranty so I make the one hour drive to the dealership when I need it done. Plus I had the software update so I had to go to the dealership. The last time I was at the dealership they told me it would take about two hours for the update and oil change. So I had to schedule accordingly.
I am probably the only person who doesn’t mind sitting in a waiting room at the car dealership waiting for my car to be serviced. I take something to read, some knitting and coffee and I am in heaven.
When I arrived on Saturday at 8:00 AM the tech told me that it would be an hour and a half, two hours max. I said ” don’t you worry about me I am good” I settled into the waiting room with my coffee and knitting and ear buds for my phone. This is one of the few places where I have uninterrupted time to knit and read or whatever. I so enjoyed it!!! It only took about an hour and a half and they were finished.
I decided to make at least one stop while I was in Knoxville so I chose Target. It has been about six or seven months since I have been to Target. It was still pretty early only about 9:30 so there were not a lot of people there. I found some really neat things:
The rest of the weekend went by pretty quick as weekends and days off normally do. I did some baking and some knitting and I made Madeleines. Have you ever made Madeleines ? I have been wanting to make some for quite a while. You have to have a special pan. I will have a full post on those in a couple of days. They dry out pretty quick so I took the entire batch to work and everyone loved them and ate them all up.
Watch for the blog post about making Madelines you just have to try them.