Monday, June 27, 2011

It's Wedding Season! Part 1

I love weddings. June seems to be wedding month in my family - one of my younger sisters and her husband celebrated their 1st anniversary on June 12, my husband and I celebrated our 4th anniversary on June 22, and my parents celebrated their 33rd on June 24! Whoa - lots of love to celebrate . . . not to mention Father's Day, which I missed posting on because I was busy-busy baking for a wedding (more on that in a later post)!

First, a note on Father's Day. I am really blessed - I have a great dad. I think I probably take him for granted sometimes. I guess it's easy to do because I know he'll always be a strong support in everything I go through in life. He's proven it time and time again, and it's something I am so thankful for. I definitely get my love of reading from him, and my taste in books. Also, my sarcasm . . . and possibly my lack of patience, haha. It's a great feeling to know I can always call with any problem, and that I'll get honest advice and helpful advice.

Let's not forget about the father of my own boys! I have the world's greatest husband. Dusty is such a wonderful dad. He loves our boys so much and is so attentive to them. I rarely have to ask him to help out with them - he just does it . . . and he enjoys every minute (well, for the most part - there's the occasional tantrum from Asher that's not very fun, and the nights when Aiden refuses to sleep for more than an hour at a time). But, if I do ask for help with something, he never complains. He loves playing with them, and he loves cuddling them - he's the perfect mix. Asher, Aiden, and I are so very blessed to have him.

Personally, I'm thankful that there's a day honoring dads everywhere. I know it's something I should do every day, but it's nice to have a reminder so I really take the time to thank them for everything they do that I often don't remember to say on a day-to-day basis.

Ok, back to weddings.

Last summer I made my first-ever wedding cake for my sister's wedding - LOTS of pressure! Not from her, just from myself. A wedding cake? That's a big deal - everyone looks at it, take pictures of it, watches the bride and groom cut it, etc; I was honored that she and her husband trusted me to do it. I wasn't worried about taste, but I was worried about appearance because decorating isn't my strong point. I'm more of a "Who cares what it looks like as long as it tastes good" kind of girl. Needless to say, that approach doesn't work with a wedding cake. BUT, I think it was a success. They were happy with it, and that's what mattered most to me.

Looks like they're enjoying it, right?

For the cake, I used this recipe from Giada De Laurentiis, courtesy of

White Cake
  • 1 (18.25-ounce) box white cake mix (recommended: Duncan Hines Moist Deluxe)

  • 1 1/3 cups water

  • 3 large eggs whites

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

  • 2 teaspoons almond extract

  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Using an electric mixer, beat the cake mix, water, egg whites, melted butter, almond extract, and vanilla extract in a large bowl for 2 minutes, or until the batter is well blended. Pour batter evenly in greased and floured 8 inch cake pans. Bake the cakes until they are very pale golden on top, about 24 minutes. Cool cakes in the pans for ten minutes, then cool completely on a cooling rack. You can find the original recipe here, which with the raspberry cream is deeeeelicious.
    **Side note - this obviously isn't a "from scratch" cake, but the added ingredients give it great flavor, it holds up very nicely when decorating, and is super moist.

    Buttercream Frosting
    1/2 c. unsalted butter, softened
    1/2 c. vegetable shortening
    4 c. powdered sugar
    1 T. vanilla extract (if you really want frosting to be as white as possible, use clear vanilla)
    1/4 tsp. butter flavoring
     1-2 T milk or cream

    Beat butter and shortening with an electric mixer until smooth and creamy. Slowly add in powdered sugar and flavorings and beat for 1-2 minutes on medium speed. Add the milk, and beat on medium/high speed for 5 minutes until light and fluffy. At this point, you can determine whether you want a thinner or thicker consistency and add more milk or powdered sugar to achieve what you'd like.

    Assembling the Cake
    Place one cake layer on plate or serving dish.
    Spread with 1/4 c. of seedless raspberry jam, leaving a 1/2 inch border around the edge.
    Mix 1/3 c. of toasted, slivered almonds with approximately 1/2 c. of frosting, and spread over jam layer.
    Place top layer of cake on the frosting.
    Frost and decorate as desired.

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