baby shower, cakes, and appreciation

my shower was last weekend! what a blast! we had it in a big old church turned into garden and community center. light shone in through the pastel colored windows, several tables decorated in green table cloths and egg-shaped candies that filled bird’s nests. adorable. my sister knows me too well, and everything i wanted, she executed perfectly! we had a pretty packed house, maybe 40 of my closest ladies were there.

we had food catered from our local middle eastern eatery. -my favorite hummus, a giant greek salad, and so many other goodies. i didn’t get photos of the food because i was busy having a blast, but it was set up in the most beautiful way. description would not do justice.

this baby is already spoiled. jogging stroller, baby magic bullet, high chair, cloth diapers, car seat, christening blanket,.. i can’t name a favorite. all i can say is that my friends and family are amazing and supportive. thank you to all of my pals who love this baby already! from the bottom of my heart, this joy of this whole pregnancy was totally illuminated at my shower.

my sis and i had a blast spending 2 full days in the kitchen, the first day baking 2 layer cakes, and the second filling and frosting the cakes and also making a lemon tart. we also whipped up a few bird’s nests, made from coconut and egg whites, to top the cakes with.

the first cake we made was an almond layer cake, filled with strawberry jam and frosted with fluffy cream cheese frosting.

the second was chocolate layer cake with chocolate filling and chocolate frosting.

they were both delicious, and i’m happy to say the leftovers were gobbled up quickly!

this recipe makes 2 round 8″ layer cakes.

almond layer cake with fluffy cream cheese frosting

ingredients

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 1/3 cup room temperature butter

4 cups almond flour

1 cup coconut flour

1 tsp salt

1 1/2 tbsp baking powder

8 eggs at room temp

1 cup milk (i used whole)

2 tbsp vanilla

optional 1/4 tsp almond extract

1 cup strawberry preserves

method:

preheat oven to 350f, position racks in center of oven. prep 2 round 8″ cake pans with parchment rounds and nice coating of butter.

begin by creaming butter and sugar with electric mixer. once combined and fluffy, add milk, vanilla, and almond extract (if using it) at a low-speed, until it is all wet and combined. add eggs, a few at a time, and let it slowly mix.

combine all dry ingredients together.

add dry ingredients into wet ingredients. a fragrant, irresistable batter will form, and your fingers will find themselves into the bowl, scraping sugar and almond from the sides, and before you know it, you’re eating the raw batter! stop yourself.

pour violated batter evenly into 2 cake pans, and bake for 35 minutes or so. watch carefully as nuts burn quickly.

let them cool for a bit before loosening edges from pans and inverting onto cooling racks. these cakes are best served the day after, as the lovely flavors meld nicely with time. -like booze does.

i spread (thickly, may i add) some fancy, expensive strawberry preserves between the layers as a filling. i layed it on thick, spread it evenly, and then stuck the un-frosted cake into the refrigerator so the filling would stiffen up a little before icing it.

fluffy cream cheese frosting

3/4 cup heavy cream

1 cup cream cheese at room temp

1/4 cup maple syrup

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

method: whip cream until it is stiff.

in separate bowl, beat cream cheese until it is creamy. blend in sweetener and vanilla.

fold cream into cream cheese gently.

pipe edge around filling to help keep preserves contained in center of cake. place top layer on, use frosting to cover top and sides of cake. place in cool area for a few hours to help set up, then keep at room temperature to serve.

for the chocolate cakes

this recipe makes one layer, so double it if you are doing a 2 chocolate and single vanilla layer cake like i did.

adapted from the wholesome home

1/2 cup butter at room temp

1 cup sugar, minus a few tbsp

5 eggs at room temperature

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup coconut flour, sifted

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted

3/4 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup milk

1/4 cup strong brewed coffee at room temp

method: prep 8″ round cake pans using butter and lining the bottom with parchment round. preheat oven to 350f.

combine coconut flour, cocoa, salt, baking powder, and baking soda in a large bowl. set aside.

crack eggs open and put in a bowl with a pouring spout. set aside.

combine milk, vanilla and coffee in cup with pouring spout. set aside.

using stand mixer, cream butter and sugar until fluffy. yum!

after just a few minutes, turn on low-speed and add one egg at a time to the butter and sugar. plop. plop. until all the eggs are gone and well combined.

next, scoop about a cup of the flour mixture into the batter, then pour 1/4 of the milk mixture into the bowl. continue alternating additions until both are mixed into the batter. stop mixer and scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl to reincorporate any butter or other stuff that may be sticking to the bowl. mix until evenly combined. pour into prepped pan.

bake for 35 minutes or so. the center will be just set and no longer jiggly. do not over bake. please, for the love of all things good. cool in pan for half an hour or so. use a knife to loosen edges from pan and cool completely on rack.

cocoa frosting

adapted from bon appetit magazine, feb 2011

10 tbsp unsalted butter

1 1/3 cup light or golden brown sugar, packed

1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 cup heavy whipping cream

2 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp salt

method: melt butter over medium heat. stir in sugar, cocoa, and salt. gradually stir in cream. continue to stir over medium heat until mixture is hot and begins to simmer around edges. remove from heat and stir in vanilla. stir off heat for a minute or two. put a lid on it. stick in refrigerator for 1 1/2 hrs, stirring occasionally.

after chilled, let stand at room temp for another hour, again, stirring occasionally.

frost and fill the cake liberally. do not keep cake cold, store at room temp.

it was a total honor to serve desert to all of the guests at the shower. this was a great way to greet everyone individually, which i really don’t think i would have been able to accomplish if i hadn’t served up the cakes myself.

normally, i don’t include many photos of myself in posts. but this is a special occasion, because i look at this as more of a photo of my baby! look at how big that thing is! so i wanted to post a photo of my big tummy in case anyone wanted to tell me what the sex of the baby is based on just looking. i love all of the guesses i’ve been getting, what fun!

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