Malto Mario


The Lady & Sons

1,000 Italian Recipes

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Nothing Floats My Boat Like Salty & Sweet

This month's challenge was hosted by some very lovely gals.. Dolores of Chronicles in Culinary Curiosity, Jenny of Foray Into Food, and Alex a/k/a Brownie of the fabulous duo Blondie and Brownie. Gals you hosted with grace and knowledge and HUGE amounts of support for the rest of us - thank you so much! :)

These three gals chose Caramel Cake, a recipe from talented pastry chef Shuna Fish Lydon, who writes Eggbeater. You can find
Shuna's recipe at Bay Area Bites.

Like many other members, I went into this recipe with a few reservations. I love caramel, but find it really sweet.. usually too sweet, unless there is a good amount of salt in it. So I was worried about this cake making my teeth scream :P Secondly, a cake that isn't chocolate, pumpkin or carrot?? Unthinkable! hee! But, again like many other Daring Baker members, I am very happy that I put my reservations aside and tried this recipe as this turned out to be a delicious cake.. especially the next day and the following days after.

Caramel Cake

This cake didn't take long to make and I didn't really have any problems.. I was unsure at one point because my butter browned quite darkly. I was afraid I had burned it, but after I strained it through a coffee filter (thanks for the tip, my lovely guru!) I saw that the actual butter was a beautiful color.

The cake itself was sweet, but not sickeningly so. It had a marvelous dense texture that I adore. But it was the frosting that made this cake so good to me. OHMYGOD I will make this frosting again and again. It came together easily and was very fluffy and creamy. I chose to use Maldon sea salt and I'm glad I did because I really loved the little "chunks" of salt in the sweet, creamy buttercream.

Caramel Cake

Actually I prefer any cake that's frosted with buttercream to be room temperature so it doesn't feel like I'm eating sponge topped off with a stick of butter. But I really enjoyed this cake cold. I don't know why exactly, but I did. Three other people ate this cake.. Hubbs, who loved the frosting but not the cake so much. My mom, who just kept making a NOM NOM NOM YUM NOM noise the whole time she ate her slice and my sister who thought the saltiness was "interesting" har! All in all, I'd have to say the general concensus was that it was a delicious cake that they wouldn't decline if offered again. ;)

Before I end, a big thank you and hugs to Natalie of Gluten A Go Go for helping out with a gluten free version of this cake, and the many talented Daring Alternative Bakers who helped support each other in creating vegan and lactose free versions! :)

Warm wishes to everyone for the upcoming holiday season! Now go start CLICKIN'!


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Sunday, November 16, 2008

Well I Finally Did It...

OHMYGOD I'm a married woman! There was a time when I never thought I'd say that and be telling the truth! :)

The wedding was lovely.. short and sweet just the way we wanted. The reception was amazing.. the hall was exceptionally beautiful, the food was superb and I had my closest friends, my mom and sis, and my husband by my side the whole time. I couldn't have asked for more!

Now this post might disappoint some of you.. but after writing and re-writing this several times I've decided to pretty much leave it as it's summed up above concerning the details. I'm going to put a few of my favorite photos on my flickr account and will leave ya'll with this link to go have a look if you'd like, but well.. my wedding was so incredibly special to me. Not only did I marry my bestest boyfriend EVER! But I spent many MANY hours with friends whom I adore and feel truly honored that they've allowed me to be a part of their lives. And my mom.. well, she was absolutely beaming.

This huge event in my life was so much more than a wedding though.. I'm not seeing this as the start to a new life, as I've made my life with W and am pretty damned happy the way it is. This was an ending to an accumulation of a few months of events, both good and bad. This, you see was a lesson learned from all of this experience. A lesson that's opened my eyes like nothing ever has before. I've learned that I'm loved.. and in a really big way. Yeah yeah, many came to help out (doing an OUTSTANDING job I might add!). Sure, we got lots of nice presents that we are very grateful for. And oh yesssssss the laughter was on over-drive. I couldn't have felt happier. Seriously. But that's not what ended up being what's important to me.

It wasn't until everyone left and I was alone.. the dishes were finally cleaned, the presents moved to their new homes, and several loads of very buttercream-y laundry cycling the washer and dryer did I stop with such a profound realization of just how much I am loved. And so I spent some time just thinking about the things I've done.. the things I haven't done.. the things I'd like to do. I thought about the smallest of joys each and every one of those people bring to me, and what I thought it was that I brought to them. And I smiled.

That evening after W went to bed, I sat here for HOURS writing my lil heart out. I wrote to each and every one of the people I had just spent a week with and I told them, unabashadly, how I felt for them. How much they mean to me. How unbelievably lucky I am that they continue to allow me in their lives. And I cried.. and cried and cried.. and between my tears, I smiled and giggled and truly felt just how much I'm loved.

To the one who straightened my collar and helped me put my earrings in, you were the one who gave me confidence.. To the one who brought me the calm that only you can bring me (without the use of pearl inlaid butter knives, of course).. To the one who was so nervous about Murphy's Law, but all I could see was loving preparation.. To the one who thought she over-stepped, but in fact, put me where I needed so desperately to be.. To the one who couldn't be here, but cried as if she was.. I love you all so very, very much.

To my "sisters" in both heart and soul.. how I love you both.

To the one who just held me, the way no one else can.. forever I love you.

To the one who will probably never read this.. my love for you will never die for you are the one who taught me how to be strong.

To my blimey's, you're always here when I need you.. To my sister of sorts who generously sent little bundles of exquisite morsels made straight from her heart.. And to my newest friend whom I know I'll spend many years getting to know.. I love yous all!

I shared my wedding with them and it was special.. so if ya'll don't mind, I think I'm just going to hold close that specialness for just as long as I possibly can.

Now seriously, did you think I'd leave you hanging with all that fakkin moosh??

So picture us all crammed into a small mayor's office.. we're tired as hell from bustin' our asses crankin' food out all day and I don't know about anyone else, but I was fakkin starving to boot.

The J-of-P directs W and I to stand facing each other and then asks us to hold hands.. he starts his lil speech about God know's what, to tell the truth. The first part of our ceremony is a complete blur, frankly. But whatever he's saying, I'm looking down and wondering if I'm going to fuck up my lines (I'm so damned romantic, aren't I?) and then I made the fatal mistake. I look up at W and his chin is quivering. And it's not just slightly moving, it looked like his damn bottom jaw had become unhinged. Well that's all it took for me.. the water works started and we're both standing there balling our eyes out as if someone just stole our cotton candy.

And then the part comes up where the J of P asks me if I will take W for “richer or poorer” and I just lost it.. started laughing hysterically.. like in a psychotic way because I realize what I’m doing and am mortified at my own behavior but I can’t stop laughing and my shoulders are shaking up and down and I’m crying at the same time and praying to the baby jebus that I don’t start blowing snot bubbles.. OHMYGOD.

I swear if the earth would have opened up and swallowed me whole at that very moment I would have went willingly. Happily!

I only stopped laughing when I leaned into his jacket and said a muffled "OHSWEETJESUSSHOOTME" and he clamped onto my hands so hard that my new rings cut into my skin. Then.. then I finally stopped laughing and resumed crying.