Apr 27, 2011

Addie Alexander's Lady Baltimore Cake

I've recently been contemplating whether or not I should enter some food items into judgment at the Iowa State Fair this year. On Sunday I discussed the idea with my dad and he reminded me that my great-great grandmother, Addie Alexander, was quite the baker and between the years 1915-1924 she won 159 first place, 101 second place, and 19 third place prizes at the Iowa State Fair. My great aunt, Laurel Webb, made a cookbook in 2003 that features a couple of recipes for the basic cake of a Lady Baltimore Cake. I decided to try it out.

First of all, I'm not a big cake maker. Secondly, I had NO CLUE what a Lady Baltimore cake consisted of, which proved to be an experience since Addie's recipe was just for the ingredients and a guesstimate of the amounts used. No instructions...no icing or filling information...just a basic white cake recipe. I figured a cake with such a fancy name had to consist of more than just a basic white cake, so I dug through a couple of cookbooks. I found a Lady B recipe in my culinary bible, The Joy of Cooking, then decided to check my copy of The Modern Family Cookbook by Meta Given since it's such a classic collection of recipes. In each book, it explained the lady Baltimore cake to be a white layer cake with an icing and a filling consisting of chopped nuts, raisins and/or figs.

When Addie Alexander baked all these prize-winning morsels, she used a wood or kerosene stove, so I realized that there really shouldn't be instructions on what to set the temperature at, should there? The Joy of Cooking proved helpful in guiding me through the cake making and baking processes, and each of the reference cookbooks suggested a 7-minute icing, which I would like to rename "7-minutes in Hell" or "7-minute icing MY ASS"

The cake turned out okay but it was a bit dry and crumbly. The icing was supposed to be cooked atop a double boiler, which I do not own, so I had to fashion one out of a round enamel roasting pan placed upon a stock pot. The water wasn't boiling when I placed the icing mixture in the enamel pan, so I had to whisk FOREVER for the icing to form a peak. I don't know what I did wrong...but the icing turned out grainy. Maybe I didn't whisk it fast enough? Maybe there wasn't enough water in the bottom of my "double boiler"? Maybe I just needed to use a real double boiler?!

Anyhow, I baked the cake in a glass 9x13 pan, because I don't have any cake pans, let it cool, and cut it to make 2 layers. The filling, since it is made with the grainy icing, turned kind of crumbly also, and the cake itself didn't look the prettiest because I didn't have enough icing to cover the top and the sides. HOWEVER- the cake tasted fabulous!

It was quite a lot of work and quite the experiment for me since I don't make a lot of cakes. Great-great grandma Addie must have been a wonder woman to make prize worthy desserts using a wood burning stove! I have contacted the self-designated family historian, a granddaughter of Addie, to see if she has any more information or possibly recipes for me to sift through. I'm hoping there are some out there...

Apr 26, 2011

Royal Wedding Inspired Collection - Personalised Gift Ideas

Apr 20, 2011

Ocean Waves Collection

I made this today:

Apr 18, 2011

HUGE Easter Sale!

I've decided to have a holiday promotion this week - 15% off of everything in my ArtFire shop until the day after Easter! (April 25th)

Check out the sale HERE

Apr 13, 2011

Strawberry Stuffed French Toast

This morning I whipped up some stuffed french toast using leftover fruit dip that I made last week. The local grocery chain had marshmallow creme on sale for $0.15 a jar last week because it was about out of date. I bought a few jars, knowing I shouldn't because it is less than 6mos from my wedding day, but did it anyway. I gave most of it away but had some available to use so I decided to make a fruit dip. It was great with apple, pineapple, and strawberries!

Here's how you make the dip: Beat 7oz of Marshmallow Creme (or Fluff) and 8oz of Neufch√Ętel cheese in a bowl. Done. Eat. Refrigerate.

We had some strawberries that needed to be eaten and a little less than half a loaf of 12-grain bread that was about to be stale, so I decided to make some stuffed french toast. First, I added cinnamon to the fruit dip and stirred it. Then, I spread a thin layer of the dip on two slices of bread and added a layer of sliced strawberries before closing the sandwich. Dip the sandwich in your favorite egg mix for french toast and fry as you would french toast! Drizzle a little pure maple syrup over or dust with powdered sugar and there you have it! Deliciousness!

The food didn't last long enough for me to get any photos.

Apr 12, 2011

Scootchidoo Too: Handmade Shop Guide

My Etsy shop is on this shop guide!Scootchidoo Too: Handmade Shop Guide: "Do you have a handmade shop or webiste? Add your link here!"

Apr 8, 2011

I've been Pounced!

My studio has been selected by @AFPounce to be "pounced" on twitter!
Check out the AFPounce blog for more info on what it is.
or go straight to the twitter page HERE

Also mentioned on the #AFPounce daily. Check it out HERE

Apr 7, 2011

Stitch Into Spring! an ArtFire Collection

Facebook Fan Coupon!

I've created a 15% off coupon code for anyone who "likes" my NicheStitch Facebook page! Check out my FB page here!

Apr 4, 2011

Food Update

I've decided to upload recent pics from my camera, most of which are of recent food adventures.

Here we have my first ever homemade tapioca pudding! It was quite delicious and economical!

This is my "Turnover Experiment" using a cherry pie filling and some phyllo dough. They tasted great, but didn't hold up well overnight.

 A Spinach & Artichoke Lasagna.

Some pie risers/stands I made with items from a thrift store. We may end up using some of these for our wedding pie buffet. I haven't decided whether or not to paint them...
 Why not make a pie to test out on a pie stand? An orange chiffon pie - recipe from Joy of Cooking. I LOVE making pie crust in the food processor!

 The stand seems to be holding up! Success!