Friday, July 4, 2014

Little Cakes for the 4th!

Here is a picture of the 6" cake that I made this morning in honor of the 4th of July!  You can find all the cake talk near the bottom of the post.  I'm venturing into nostalgia territory briefly, so please feel free to skip ahead...  :)



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It's always fun to celebrate and the Fourth is certainly a celebratory occasion!  One of our traditions after we got married over 30 years ago, was to have a 4th of July barbeque.  My husband would make his "secret" barbeque sauce recipe and cook up 50 pounds of baby back ribs and 30 pounds of bratwurst that we would purchase from a German deli in Montrose (a 40 minute drive one way).  Year after year we would invite friends and family.  Friends from as far away as Chicago, Dallas and Boston would somehow make it fit into their itinerary.  One year, a friend who had faithfully joined us over the years couldn't make it happen, so David purchased a ticket for her with his frequent flier miles.  It was a joyous occasion!

The first year we started small.  We had probably 6 to 10 people and we cooked up the brats and ribs in the teeny tiny back yard of our duplex in Arcadia (our "deck" was a palette that we had picked up somewhere in the neighborhood.)  I remember that we had no trees and boy was it hot!  (All the pictures I have are of 20-something guys without shirts on.  Not pretty, I tell ya!  Remember, this was the 80's!)  When we moved to Covina, we had a huge back yard and plenty of space to put up as many lawn chairs as we could find and fire up the BBQ.  In addition to the ribs, brats, and corn on the cob, we always made homemade ice cream ... by hand.  No electric ice cream maker - just guests' muscle!  It always tasted so much better when we worked to make it!!  The final year, 2009, we had about 40 guests!  What fun!


Looking back through the pictures it's amazing that so much time has passed (I don't feel a bit older... okay, I lied.  I do feel older!) and how many of our friends have remained in our lives over the years.  We've had to seriously cut back on our spending over the past 5 years and the annual barbeque has been on hiatus.  Maybe when we're totally back on our feet we'll pick it up again.  I think the ice cream maker is somewhere on a shelf in the garage and my grandmother's ice cream recipe, as well as David's "secret" sauce recipe, is in the recipe box.  It would be great to celebrate again with everyone.



Meanwhile.....

We're heading to my brother's house tonight to watch fireworks from his back yard.  He lives on a hill overlooking the Valley and it should be fun.  I, of course, wanted to bring dessert, so I made a white cake from scratch with vanilla buttercream frosting.

I found the cake recipe on I Am Baker ("The Perfect White Cake") and then used the frosting recipe from Glorious Treats. I usually use a boxed cake mix, so this was fun.  I was all ready to start and I re-read the cake recipe and it asked for cake flour.  Cake flour??  Who knew my husband had ESP.... he had bought a box recently because he thought I might need it someday!!  Awwwww!  Anyway, you can find the recipe for both cake and frosting here.


Cake flour... how come I didn't know what this was??
This batter was BEAUTIFUL - 6 egg whites, sugar and flour!

I had bought three 6" pans because I thought it would be fun to make a three layer cake, but I decided to just make three petite cakes and spread the deliciousness around a bit.  It actually was fun frosting each one - no stress about running out of frosting or not having it look the way I wanted.  If I didn't like it, there was another cake available to try again!  Oh and one more tip I've learned - cut a parchment paper circle for the bottom of each pan.  It's so much easier than rubbing it with shortening and dusting with flour or spraying it with a non-stick coating!





I did a crumb coat on the cakes and put them in the fridge to harden a bit before decorating. 



Downloadable cupcake toppers from Pinterest made me happy :)



I didn't really like how the small tip decorating turned out.  I also wasn't a fan of the sprinkles.

Another version was covered with the big rosettes.  It looked pretty from the top but was too poufy.
 
Just like The Three Bears, this one was juuuuust right!


Happy Fourth of July!!



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