Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Aunt Arlyce's Jello Salad

When I was little, and we'd go to Grandpa and Grandma Morrow's Thanksgiving feast, I'd always want a big helping of my Aunt Arlyce's jello salad. Now I make it for Thanksgiving, even though only me and my eldest are the only ones that like it! More leftovers for us!

Aunt Arlyce's Jello Salad
Via Kathie Spitz

1 of each 3 ounce Lime and Lemon jello
1 cup mayo
1 4 ounce can crushed pineapple (save juice)
1 cup cottage cheese
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup nuts

Dissolve jello in 1 cup HOT water.
Drain pineapple
Use Juice and milk together, ADD water to make 1 1/2 cup.
Add cottage cheese, mayonnaise and pineapple.
MIX thoroughly

ADD nuts and chill until set.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Naked Wedding Cake

My eldest daughter, Amanda, was married on December 23 to her Marine, Tyler.

During the planning for the wedding, she told me she wanted me to make her wedding cake. I'd made my own, using tips gathered when I worked at The Flying Dutchman in Anchorage, Alaska. I had confidence I could do this for her. Then she said she wanted a Naked Wedding Cake. Wait, what?

A Pinterest search later, and I had a grasp of what was going to be needed. NO FROSTING! For a Rustic Look. During our search, we spotted some pine cones as a cake topper with a little top hat and a veil. We immediately tweaked the idea (when haven't we tweaked?) and her sister, Bethany, and I decided to make a Marine Corps Cover and a Nurse's Hat with a veil out of FIMO clay. Tyler sent me pictures of what his hat looked like so we were making the right version. We then found the perfect candle ring to surround the two pine cones. At Target we found the cutest little red berry picks that we then placed around the base of the cake. We lightly glued the topper to a cardboard circle that we then placed on the cake.

After the wedding we glued the pine cones to a base for display in their new home.

I made my own cake pan wraps out of towels to help the cake bake more evenly. Will admit to having made a couple test cakes! I was worried that the cake would get those dry, crunchy edges once we set it up. So one test cake was left on the counter for the day. It actually stayed nice and moist! I had read that if one used the bigger pans, one would need "cores" to make the centers cook clear through. I didn't need it for the 12 inch layers. We used a 14 inch Wilton plastic footed circle under the bottom cake as a base.

For the bottom layer, Amanda chose Black Forest Cake. I mixed and baked two cakes mixes separately in the 12 inch pan. And instead of using oil, I melted butter and added a splash of vanilla to the chocolate fudge mix. I read where one should use HOT water in a chocolate cake mix as it activates the chocolate. I don't know if that's true, but I did it. And the cake tasted great.

The middle layer was Red Velvet Cake. Again, I mixed and baked the two layers separately and used butter in the mix instead of the oil. The pan I used was a 10 inch pan.

The top layer was Italian Cream Cake from scratch. The recipe can be found here: Italian Cream Cake. I used 8 inch pans for the two layers (while I usually use three pans when I make the recipe). These two I baked in the oven at the same time.

I made the cakes the week before the wedding. When each layer was totally cool, I placed it on a cardboard circle and double wrapped it in cling wrap and froze them. Yes, we had tested the method earlier. The test cakes thawed out nicely. I also tested the way the cake topper would fit on the top layer.

While the layers were naked, we used homemade cream cheese frosting for the filling on all three cakes. It was just softened cream cheese, powdered sugar, butter, and vanilla. The day before the wedding, I put the layers together with their fillings while they were still frozen, and then re-wrapped them and put them back in the freezer.

I added pureed cherry pie filling to a dollop of the frosting for the Black Forest Layer. First though, I piped a dam of frosting around the edge of the bottom-most layer to keep the filling from spilling out. I made a sort of pattern with little "puffs" of frosting.

The Red Velvet and Italian Cream cakes had the cream cheese frosting between the layers. I also "puffed" out the frosting to keep the pattern the same between the layers on the entire cake.

From my research, I knew to use wooden dowels for support. That Italian Cream cake, in particular, is very heavy! After I got the layers together and placed on cardboard circles slightly smaller than the cake itself, I measured and cut the dowels and poked them through the two stacked layers. I used at least six in each one, making sure to put one in the middle of the cake. I cut them off just a smidge above the cake so that the cardboard would sit on the dowels, and not on the cake below it. The dowels keep the layers from SLIDING apart! We certainly didn't want the WEDDING CAKE sliding!

We took the frozen layers to the church on the wedding day. I set the cake up about two hours before the ceremony. We sprinkled powdered sugar (and I wish I had sprinkled a thicker layer) over the entire thing, then set the cake topper on it.

The Italian Cream cake was still a bit frozen when my new son-in-law started the traditional cut. He had to work at it a little bit! The other layers had thawed enough for our wonderful wedding coordinator, Thersa, to slice it for our guests. The guests liked having the choice of what kind of cake to eat. And they were welcome to have seconds or thirds. We had about 80 people at the reception, and still brought home about half the cake! We froze the leftovers and have been consuming it slowly.

We are very pleased with the outcome. Everyone loved the cake topper. And people raved over the taste of the cake itself.

Photo credits go to me, Pam R., and Marissa.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Soap Recipe, sort of...

Well, this soap comes from a recipe...and it's handmade by The Soap BARistas! I follow these ladies on Facebook and they recently had a giveaway on their page. They wanted to know what makes you happy for #happyday. I said something silly about sunshine and chickens laying lots of eggs (I had gathered 11 eggs the day before) and their random generator chose my comment. They let me choose a bar, but I couldn't. Narrowed it down to two, One Smart Cookie and the Bubbly Bar, and made them choose.

My bar of One Smart Cookie arrived this week.

I wish I could tell you how nice this smells. It's open in the shower and the entire bathroom smells lovely.

They make their soap one batch at a time, from a RECIPE, with all natural ingredients. If that's something you're interested in, you should check out their site.

Thanks, Soap BARistas!