I'll show some people pics later but I'll be honest they didn't come out well. You know how we food bloggers are, we can capture the essence of cheese but not of Charles. So hey, let's not feel bad about doing what we do better or best, right?
So for food pics, here's one of the overall food table:
Starting at the loaf of bread cake at top and going clockwise: vegetable skewers, spinach dip, olives stuffed with sun-dried tomatoes, pepperoni bread, cheese, homemade-ish onion dip, and crackers. On the stove was a pot of homemade Chicken Noodle soup. That seemed to go over well. I made 5 quarts and when everyone had left there was only one medium-ish individual bowl left of mostly broth. My chicken noodle soup recipe can be found HERE. Funny, the last time I served it was at a girls' night party. Hmmm...I have to rememeber it always goes over well.
The one sort of funny thing is that most of the veggies skewers weren't eaten. Several people commented that they thought they were beautiful but I can't figure out if no one wants to be the guy to dismantle it, or what? If anyone from the party is reading, let me know what you were thinking. This is my favorite way to make a veg tray but when I do people always make a point of oohing and ahhing but not of eating.
Directions for the veggie bucket set-up after the jump.
From another angle:
I liked it once I got the whole thing finished and all of the stuff set up around it. It's funny because I only see the flaws and all the trouble I had with it but a couple of people who were there didn't realize at first it was a cake and not a loaf of bread. That made my night!
With the exception of the salt cellar on the right, everything you see in this pic (okay except the platter and lines) is made of sugar. The cake is coconut layer cake with coconut buttercream filling, covered in fondant and hand-painted with a pastry brush. The utensils to the left are sculpted from gumpaste.
Here's a close up of the vegetable skewers. This is my favorite way to make a vegetable tray--vertical!
Everyone just left. Everyone seemed to have a good time. Hope so. I know I did. After the main presentation part of the Pampered Chef demonstration was over we basically sat and yacked about everything from eating rabbit and squirrels to Paris Hilton and her constant flashing of her squirrel. It was a bit of a running theme.
My friend Jennifer brought me knock off Paris Hilton perfume. Ahhhhh, how much I loved it! Really. It's fun. I love the thought of wearing the version she makes no money from. Hee. Jenn, you did mean for me to keep that, right? Uhhhh, if not drop me an email. I just sort of assumed.
Ashley did a great job with the presentation and made fabulous Jerk (no men involved in case you were wondering like some of the rest of us) Chicken Salad.
More tomorrow along with recipes for the coconut cake. Recipes are now posted. Click below. Also, there are more personal pics from the party on my personal blog, G's Spot.
UPDATE ON SHER'S CAKE: UPS shows the cake as being scanned and leaving Springfield on the big jet 15 minutes ago and is scheduled to be on time for delivery by 10:30am in the morning. So far so good! Sher will let us all know the minute it arrives and what shape it showed up in.
UPDATE AGAIN ON SHER'S CAKE: UPS shows it loggin in at midnight in the Kentucky depot and still listed for on time delivery.
LAST UPDATE BEFORE DELIVERY: Sher's cake was logged in and then out again from Mather CA between 5am and 5:30am, then it arrived in West Sacramento at 7:05 and was then logged in at the truck for deliver by 7:15am this morning. Wow. I'm impressed.
UPDATE UPDATE: It ARRIVED! Go to www.whatdidyoueat.typepad.com to see Sher's reaction!
Coconut Layer Cake:
from The New Best Recipe Cookbook from the editors of Cook's Illustrated and America's Test Kitchen. I highly recommend all three: the cookbook, which was what I replaced my old worn out general cookbook with, the magazine, and the TV show on PBS. The web site for CI is www.cooksillustrated.com .
(Found at Price Cutter in the baking aisle, but in many groceries with the drink or liquor mixes. 1--15 oz can will make the cake and the frosting. Make sure not this is CREAM of coconut, not coconut MILK, Cream of coconut is much sweeter and more condensed in flavor.)
|5||large egg whites|
|3/4||cup cream of coconut|
|1||teaspoon vanilla extract|
|1||teaspoon coconut extract|
|2 1/4||cups cake flour (9 ounces), sifted|
|1||cup granulated sugar|
|1||tablespoon baking powder|
|3/4||teaspoon table salt|
|12||tablespoons unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), cut into 12 pieces, softened, but still cool|
|2||cups packed sweetened shredded coconut (about 8 ounces)|
|4||large egg whites|
|1||cup granulated sugar|
|pinch table salt|
|1||pound unsalted butter (4 sticks), each stick cut into 6 pieces, softened, but still cool|
|1/4||cup cream of coconut|
|1||teaspoon coconut extract|
teaspoon vanilla extract
1. For the Cake: Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Grease two 9-inch round cake pans with shortening and dust with flour.
2. Beat egg whites and whole egg in large measuring cup with fork to combine. Add cream of coconut, water, vanilla, and coconut extract and beat with fork until thoroughly combined.
3. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in bowl of standing mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Mix on lowest speed to combine, about 30 seconds. With mixer still running on lowest speed, add butter 1 piece at a time, then beat until mixture resembles coarse meal, with butter bits no larger than small peas, 2 to 2 1/2 minutes.
4. With mixer still running, add 1 cup liquid. Increase speed to medium-high and beat until light and fluffy, about 45 seconds. With mixer still running, add remaining 1 cup liquid in steady stream (this should take about 15 seconds). Stop mixer and scrape down bowl with rubber spatula, then beat at medium-high speed to combine, about 15 seconds. (Batter will be thick.)
5. Divide batter between cake pans and level with offset or rubber spatula. Bake until deep golden brown, cakes pull away from sides of pans, and toothpick inserted into center of cakes comes out clean, about 30 minutes (rotate cakes after about 20 minutes). Do not turn off oven.
6. Cool in pans on wire racks about 10 minutes, then loosen cakes from sides of pans with paring knife, invert cakes onto racks and then re-invert; cool to room temperature.
7. While cakes are cooling, spread shredded coconut on rimmed baking sheet; toast in oven until shreds are a mix of golden brown and white, about 15 to 20 minutes, stirring 2 or 3 times. Cool to room temperature.
8. For the Buttercream: Combine whites, sugar, and salt in bowl of standing mixer; set bowl over saucepan containing 1 1/2-inches of barely simmering water. Whisk constantly until mixture is opaque and warm to the touch and registers about 120 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, about 2 minutes.
9. Transfer bowl to mixer and beat whites on high speed with whisk attachment until barely warm (about 80 degrees) and whites are glossy and sticky, about 7 minutes. Reduce speed to medium-high and beat in butter 1 piece at a time. Beat in cream of coconut and coconut and vanilla extracts. Stop mixer and scrape bottom and sides of bowl. Continue to beat at medium-high speed until well-combined, about 1 minute.
Level the cake layers and assemble with buttercream in between. Frost entire cake and then sprinkle on or pat on coconut over surface of cake, toasting if desired. Personally, I like the cocount to stay soft and chewy.
Basket or container or your choice
Mini cookie or cake decorating cutters
1 loaf day old bread, left out open for at least one day to crust and dry out
1. Wash and prepare veggies.
2. For the sweet peppers, cut off the bottom and top, make a slit down one side, unroll and remove core and seeds. Lay out as flat as possible. For cukes or cheese or any other items you want to cut out, clice at least 3 times as thick as the skewer so it will hold. Press out with cookie/decorating cutters.
3. Assemble skewers as desired, some small some tall.
4. Place bread into bottom of basket or container, cutting into pieces as needed to fit entire bottom as uniformly as possible. Cover with Kale leaves. Place skewers in as if arranging flowers, and layer Kale with extra veggies.
Sometimes I'll prepare all the veggies in advance, even making the skewers in advance, covered in a plast bag into the fridge until just before serving when I assemble the basket.