March 23, 2014

Weekend Update and More Booze!

A dear friend celebrated her birthday this weekend, so her son decided to have a birthday dinner for her. To take some of the burden off of him, we all pitched in to make something. I volunteered to make the cake for the dinner party and I will give you a little taste of it before I tell you about the rest of the dinner.

We started the party with drinks and hors d’oeuvres. Naturally, the drinks were grapefruit based! This is called a “Blushing Kiss”, but we thought that was a little twee, so we didn’t call it anything. It’s basically good gin, St. Germaine and grapefruit juice. Pour over ice in a shaker and serve.If you’re wondering why I’ve been a bit grapefruit crazy this winter, aside from the fact that I love them, I bought a case from a colleague’s child who was selling them as a fundraiser.

Our friend John brought sushi-grade tuna and avocado, over a bed of seaweed salad. It was phenomenal!The wasabi did wonders for my stuffy head!

The main course was paparadelle with a lemon cream sauce and peas, plus a gorgeous salad.

The main course also included a beautiful grilled tenderloin.tenderloin

Much of the afternoon was taken up with making the cake. The cake was a Smith Island Cake, the official cake of Maryland. It’s basically a ten-layer cake with chocolate icing. The process is a bit daunting, as you cook each layer individually.

I decided it was easier to use disposable pans than to cool, wash, dry and then oil and flour each pan as it came out of the oven. And the pans were on special at the store!You add about three-quarters of a cup of batter to each pan and then cook them for about 15 minutes. You must watch them like a HAWK or they burn quickly! Trust me on this one!

After they’re cool, you stack them, icing each layer. In the original recipe, they use a cooked icing, which they put on the cakes while the icing is still hot, which makes it drip off the sides. Click here to see what happens when you do that. I ran out of icing about three-quarters through icing it, but you can see how the layers stack up. I like this method, because if people don’t know it’s a Smith Island Cake, when you slice it and see all 10 layers, it’s a surprise.Because I had extra icing, I badly piped a message on the cake, using a baggie, since I didn’t have “professional” cake decorating gear with me!

Loads of candles on a towering cake made for a scary walk between the kitchen and the dining room!

Grandmother asking grandson to help blow the candles!

And voila!

I finally decanted the grapefruit vodka this weekend, thanks to pal Julie, who found me a great Bormioli Square Swing Bottle. I designed a label using some on-line graphics and a nice font and printed it on some clear label paper.

We decanted the vodka into the new bottles and it looked great. Then we made some limoncello from the last of the 50+ lemons from Chad and David’s lemon tree!


  1. Replies
    1. That cake IS sooooo good! And really, it's not too hard to make.

  2. What fun. You are lucky to have such a warm circle of friends. To have a friend one must be a friend. Your friend has a lovey decorated home and a wonderful thoughtful son.

  3. if one treats the icing as a ganache, one would place the bottom layer on a cardboard cake round, frost and stack the after placing the cake on a cooling rack in a jelly roll pan to catch the drips --one can frost while warm and any puddles are in the jelly roll pan for either reuse or easier clean up and a nicer presentation on a footed cake stand.

    1. I didn't do it that way because of the way the icing/ganache lies on the layers. I like the sides to be smoother than the warm icing/ganache makes them.

  4. I had that same cocktail on Sunday. Loved it.

    That cake is quite a labor of love. But I imagine the oohs and aahs upon cutting make it very rewarding.

  5. Love the labels - really good idea to try! I wish I had a piece of that cake right now!


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