30 March 2013

ladies night

(via imgur)
Spring Break woooooo! My parents must have done something right because both me and my kid sister went into the field of education and now we get pretty awesome vacations. The week after my school's Spring Break, my sister was on her break. Since she had no plans to get wild and crazy in Cancun, she headed down to Baltimore to hang out with me for a couple of days and check out my new digs. Get the two of us together and of course some fun was going to happen in the kitchen.

We spent Thursday night quietly indulging in wine and cheese, gossiping while we ignored crummy tv shows, sorting through clothes, rearranging furniture, discussing Pinterest projects, and just generally catching up with one another. Typical sister stuff. It reminds me how much I've missed having another lady around the house to do this kind of stuff with! Living with a boy can be such a drag sometimes. Oh, brother no thank you; sometimes you need oh, sister. Despite our evening of girly good times, we are getting old and decided to hit the hay kind of early so that we could have a full and fabulous Friday.

And it was Friday that saw the real fun and excitement - after early morning errands and some back and forth texting, we decided that something needed to be baked in honor of the Easter holiday. There's a recipe that I've been dying to try out ever since I moved back to Baltimore so I roped her into helping me out with it. After struggling with my new split box spring (finally, Honey and I have a real bed!) we strapped on some windbreakers. A lovely stroll through the neighborhood on a breezy and sunny morning brought us to my favorite place, the grocery store! Along with about a million eggs, we picked up the rest of the ingredients for a Lady Baltimore cake.

how many more minutes?
Had I been aware of the complicated life of Lady Baltimore (Anne Arundell or Charlotte Lee?, married as a child, sooo many babies, separations and scandal,) I might have guessed that the cake that bears her name would be equally difficult. Full of whipping and meringue and marshmallow with fruit, this sticky concoction may be beautiful, but it is not a simple task to create. The batter was easy enough to make, even with the slow folding in of egg whites. Unfortunately, the suggested three layer cake required another tablespoon or so of batter than the recipe yielded and our top layer was pretty puny! Really, it was the icing that was a pain in the butt. When I think of meringue, I think of the whipped up egg whites baked for just long enough to create a crisp and light little kiss of food colored sweetness, just like my grandma used to make. Well, either we whipped it up wrong or the pre-baked version of meringue is an awful lot like marshmallows, and I know a thing or two about the horrific sticky situation that comes from working with marshmallows. I also neglected to read the recipe ahead of time (a mistake I'm guilty of far too often,) and my recipe read-alouder/sous chef didn't tell me ahead of time that I'd be whipping for nearly 15 minutes so I ended up using the hand mixer rather than the simpler and less physically tiring stand mixer. While I did all the whipping, Tricia was put to work cutting up all the teeny tiny dried fruits - cherries, figs, plums, and raisins - into even smaller pieces. The recipe called for candied fruits, you know the kind that you'd put in fruit cake. But I think those are gross, so we used dried fruits instead. Because of that lame third layer, the one that was practically a pancake, we nearly ran out of sticky, messy frosting. And because neither of us are that great at decorating cakes, it wasn't a beautiful endeavor.  But once it was finished and afternoon tea was served (yeah that's right, we celebrated high tea,) we discovered that the sticky, messy, overly-complicated cake was quite the delicious confection. Light, fluffy and with just the right amount of sweetness, we even decided that it made a pretty perfect Easter cake.

can you even tell that this is tiered?
lady baltimore cake (inspired by what's cooking america)
2 1/2 c sifted cake flour (with baking powder and salt premixed in)
1 c milk
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 c vegetable shortening
1/4 c unsalted butter, room temp
1 1/2 c granulated sugar
4 egg whites
fruit & nut filling (recipe as follows)
meringue fristing (recipe as follows)
1. Preheat oven to 350; prepare 2-3 8" or 9" pans with butter and flour. In a bowl, combine milk and vanilla, set aside. In the bowl of you mixer cream together shortening, butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
2. With the mixer on low, alternately add flour and milk, mixing well and scraping down the sides of the bowl, beginning and ending with the flour.
3. In a clean bowl, using a clean beater, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Slowly and gently fold the egg whites into the batter in quarters to lighten the mix. Evenly spoon the batter into the pans and bake 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool before icing.

does it count as child labor when it's you kid sister?

fruit & nut filling
1/4 c raisins, finely chopped
1/4 c figs, cut in strips
1/4 c dried cherries, chopped
1/2 c walnuts, finely chopped

meringue icing
2 eggs whites
1 1/2 c granulated sugar
2/3 c water
1 tsp light corn syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
1. With a clean mixer, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form, set aside.
2. In a small sauce pan over medium heat, combine sugar, corn syrup and water, stirring frequently. Increasing heat to high stop stirring and allow mixture to reach a steady boil. When a candy thermometer reads 248 degrees, remove from heat. 
3. With the mixer at a medium-high speed, slowly pour the hot mixture over the already beaten egg whites. Add vanilla and continue to beat until the mixture is cool, thick and shiny. Mix about 1/3 - 1/2 of the icing with the fruit and nut mix to spread between the layers.

we suggest indulging in this cake whilst wearing your most fabulous easter bonnet!

But it was still cake and since we indulged in it both batter and baked, we needed to walk off the bellies. So we walked through Fells Point... straight to the movie theater for popcorn, cheesy crab pretzels, and a dose of giggles from my fave funny lady and my first crush in Admission. It was super cute and we both kind of wish our mom was there because Lizzie B would have totally loved it. A lovely walk home along the sunset painted harbor led us straight to the bar. I'll dish more on my neighborhood bar, Bad Decisions, another time because for now all you need to know is that they make a killer cocktail. Fruity pants, Tricia got some brightly colored concoction that tasted like pineapple (yuck!) while I stuck with a classic old man cocktail like I normally do. We tipsily strolled home to complete our holiday weekend festivities - time to dye Easter eggs! We tried to do the marbled egg trick with oil, but it didn't quite work. I couldn't find any crayons to wax draw on the eggs either. Let's just say that the Faberge family we aren't. They weren't anything fancy until I broke out the glitter and sequins. Easter is a solemnly celebratory holiday made all the more fun with a little razzle dazzle!

can you tell which one I decorated?

All in all I had an absolutely wonderful couple of days with my kid sister. She truly is the best sister I've ever had... well, the only sister I've ever had. Hey, Tricia! I love you a ton, even when you're being cranky because Mom put an embarrassing outgoing message on the answering machine while our teenaged selves are vacationing at the beach (our teeny tiny selves singing "Here Comes Peter Cottontail" in honor of Easter!) Thanks for being one of first house guests, xoxo.

hoppy easter from these cute little bunnies!

No comments:

Post a Comment