Thursday, July 7, 2011

Silk Threads and Carrot Shreds

In early June, I left these Tennessee hills and headed for my Louisiana lowlands. My dear friend Wilhelmina was getting married in New Orleans, and I had the wedding dress in tow. With hands happiest making and baking, I had volunteered to come up with Willy's gown and the wedding cake. So here we are, with a few bits of Wilhelmina-in-dress. There are few more pictures, and a longer dress-story at my own little webspot, which you can find here

Willy's ever in wonder of all things growing, so she deemed a botanical theme for the evening. I had the great fun of carrying a long-stemmed artichoke, which I wasn't quite ready to release come waltz-time. 

Post vows and leafy-crown exchange, W and J escaped into a canoe, and paddled under the oaks through a cloud of lavender buds. 

 Willy and Jacob are long-time fans of a carrot cake recipe I swear by, which I'll include below. The recipe is easily tossed together, once all those carrots are grated, and stays moist for ages. The first version I made for Wilhelmina was on her 21st birthday. I was living in a kitchen-less dorm room, and baked in a borrowed oven. Once the cake cooled, I realized I didn't have a plate big enough for the largest layer, so I slumped the whole thing into a large serving bowl that my mother made. Since then, varied versions have appeared over the years for many a birthday and mail sending. I spent the thursday before the wedding baking layer after cupcake after layer (with the help of a grating food processor and a standing mixer), and my (unbelievably sweet) sweetheart Shane whipped up vats of cream cheese icing. Come the day of the wedding, we were left with 30 minutes before the ceremony to slap the layers together and toss on some flowers. My parents helped to lug all layers and decorations to city park, and spread palmetto fronds on the tables while I frantically piped icing. After which, I jumped into my maid's dress and tugged Willy's silk o'er her head. AND all turned out just right-- the dress stayed on (with the help of a needle and thread), no-one noticed the un-hemmed lining (see first picture and my Terribly Concerned Face), and the cake was gobbled right up. Well, after a few days. With no experience gauging a cake for hundreds, I made a 6 layer cake and 80 plus cupcakes for the ceremony. And... a 5 layer backup. Better well-carroted than under-cupcaked, I suppose!

 (there's my mom-to-the-rescue, finding fronds in the background)

from the depths of the 1975 Joy of Cooking 
(lovingly referred to in our house as the J.O.C.)

the original recipe only makes a single layer cake, so the version here I've tripled, making a large double layer or moderate three layer cake that'll serve 24

Preheat oven to 325* F
Sift 3 cups flour before measuring
Resift with:   - 3 tsp baking soda
                     - 3 tsp baking powder
                     - 3 tsp cinnamon
                     - 1.5 tsp salt
Mix together and add to flour, mixing well:
                     - 2 cups vegetable oil
                     - 3 cups sugar
                     - 6 beaten eggs
Add and blend well in: 
                     - 1.5 cups chopped pecans
                     - 4.5 cups grated carrots
Grease and flour pans, fill, and bake about 30 minutes. Easy Peasy!


For the frosting, I adapted this recipe, which claims to hold up in the heat. It whipped well, and remained soft without melting. This recipe will make a generous amount, certainly enough for your 3-layer cake above

Whip together in an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth:
       - 2 8oz packaged cream cheese (cold)
       - 1/2 cup white sugar
       - 2 tsp vanilla extract
       - 1 Tbsp Steen's Cane Syrup (LA's version of Sorghum, which will work in its stead)
Scrape the bottom of the bowl to incorporate. Once blended, add in slowly while mixing:
       - 2 cups heavy whipping cream
Continue whipping till cream holds a stiff peak (which will NOT happen if you use anything other than heavy whipping cream-- you'll instead end up with a lovely-tasting glaze. Good for dripping, bad for mortar) 

that's all, folks! I believe I'll elope... 
- Elspeth

1 comment:

  1. elspeth anna, you are the cutest thing everrrr. i was just stalking you and came across this whole new blog i never knew about. love you seester! (and your friends without even having met them!)