Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Life is a Beach

In honor of my dear friend Lindsay's leaving Maryland for sunnier states, Heather and I decided to throw Linds an impromptu going away party that turned into a going away yard-sale extraordinaire. For my part, I made a beach cake, originally thinking blue icing, brown sugar sand, etc.

After doing a wee bit of online research I discovered blue jello for water and my ultimate plan was born:

I baked a from-a-box devils food cake (two actually since I don't have any large pans) in an 8" x 8" glass pan. Once it was cool I carved out a corner of the cake to make the ocean floor.

I used store bought vanilla icing for a crumb layer and chilled the cake. In the meantime I prepared blue jello, per the instructions on the box and let that start to set up in the fridge. I didn't allow it to completely set, but kept an eye on it until it reached a somewhat gelled state, stirring intermittently.

Next I slathered on the rest of the icing to the "beach" area and sprinkled on light brown sugar for the sand, all over. Once the jello was in the slightly set state I scooped it onto/into my cake in the lowered corner. By using a 1/4 cup measuring I was able to pool the jello over the "sand" to appear as waves gently washing the shore. Swedish fish were added to the sea, but they didn't remain visible (or solid) in the long run.

Back into the fridge the cake went so that the jello could finish setting up. I was able to make surf boards and beach towels out of candy to decorate the top, but the type of candy I used ended up bending over (darn gravity) so in the future I will have to use something that dries hard and won't go all flopsy on me. I didn't have enough room for the towels so those just got eaten...

The finishing touch was piped on gel icing to form the words "Life is a Beach" I made sure I practiced a bit so that it was just right :)

Vintage Recipe Journal; A written time capsule

About a week ago my dear friend Lindsay gave me an awesome handwritten recipe journal from (we think) the 1930's. She passed it on, prior to her out of state move, knowing I'd find it intriguing. (Thank You!!)

It is time stained and full of many cake and desert recipes, as well has a goodly amount of newspaper clippings folded up and inserted in between the pages. A brief reading of some of the recipes reveal the ingredients of yesteryear and not much directions. I've also discovered some recipes for food items I'm not familiar with and will have to do further research. (Thank goodness for Joy of Cooking and that failing, the Internet)

I'm looking forward to reading through and testing out many of the cake recipes (and maybe even the one I found for home-made ketchup!)