My good friend Paxton, and his partner Alex are engaged. It’s awesome, they’ve been together for years, and deserve the right to wed.
While this is great news, there is a bigger, much more exciting story.
I’m going to be the flower girl!
I was eight when my brother Homer got married, and they said I was too old. So no dice. Paxton, on the other hand, realizes that while my body is the approximate age of the cotton gin, my mind is firmly in preschool.
Their engagement party was a potluck. We brought a bottle of Honeygirl hibiscus mead, some beer from Raleigh Brewing, and the betrothed ones requested I make them a lemon/raspberry cake.
I decided I would modify an Ina Garten lemon loaf cake, raspberry up my mom’s famous frosting, and spoon some lemon curd on top (store-bought).
The cake and frosting are both pretty easy.
Vanilla bean lemon pound cake
1/2 pound (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 vanilla bean, scraped
2 1/2 cups granulated sugar, divided
5 large eggs, room temperature
1/3 cup grated lemon zest (6 to 8 large lemons)
3 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice, divided
3/4 cup buttermilk, room temperature
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 9-inch cake pans. Line bottoms with parchment paper (then grease and flour the parchment).
Cream butter, vanilla bean caviar, and 2 cups sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer, until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, and the lemon zest.
Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. In another bowl, combine 1/4 cup lemon juice and the buttermilk. Add flour and buttermilk mixtures alternately to the batter, beginning and ending with the flour. Divide the batter evenly between the pans (about 3 cups per pan), smooth the tops, and bake for 30 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.
Combine 1/2 cup granulated sugar with 1/2 cup lemon juice in a small saucepan and cook over low heat until the sugar dissolves. When the cakes have cooled for 10 minutes remove from the pans and set them on a rack over a tray or sheet pan; brush the lemon syrup all over cakes and on both sides. Allow the cakes to cool completely before assembling and frosting.
I used about 2 & 2/3 batches of icing for the whole project. You can make two batches at once, but three boxes of powdered sugar in your mixer will turn your kitchen into the final scene from ‘Scarface’.
Mom’s raspberried frosting
1 box powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 scant teaspoon cream of tartar
1/3 cup butter-flavor Crisco
1 egg white
1 tablespoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup seedless raspberry jam
Water, for thinning
Dump all ingredients into standing mixer. Beat at low until it starts to come together. Turn it up and add enough water to make it creamy and spreadable.
1 1 /2 cups lemon curd
Cut each layer in half. Frost each layer, ending with a bottom, with its nice straight sides serving as the top. Generously frost the rest of the cake.
Pipe stars around the bottom. On the top, first place berries evenly around the cake, leaving room for one star between each berry. Spread curd on top, using the berries and stars as a barrier to keep the curd in place.
Let cake and frosting set at least 8-12 hours before cutting. Serves 12.
I love these guys and am so happy for them. And at the wedding, I promise that I won’t wet my pants, pout, or have a tantrum and refuse to walk down the aisle.
Conversely, I can’t promise I won’t break a hip, forget what I’m there for and wander away.
I wonder what my dress will look like.
I’m honored and excited to be their flower girl; unless of course, they come to their senses and pick someone who wasn’t alive when monkeys went into space. Or I wake up and chicken out.
Thanks for your time.