Saturday, October 17, 2009
Once Upon a Time
"Hey, let's celebrate your birthday on Friday. How about Frenchy's?", he said casually. She didn't realize how much he had invested in that particular casual suggestion. What if she decided she wanted to go elsewhere for her birthday dinner? He knew her too well. She would never turn down the chance to eat at one of their favorite restaurants on Clearwater Beach.
Friday night could not come quickly enough. The ring sat in its box on the desk, in his pocket, on the nightstand just screaming to be on her finger. Everyone knew except for her.
The sun was setting when they arrived at the beach. It was particularly beautiful, bringing peace to the end of a stormy day. "Let's go down to the sand. I want to give you your birthday present", he said.
The box was not shaped like a camera as she expected. The Bible inside the wrapping was engraved with her future last name. "Oh my. That is beautiful. Thank you so much", she said.
It was not until he opened the book and began to read that she realized this was it. She began paying close attention to the moments that seemed to start speeding by. She wanted to remember everything.
He asked her if she wanted to marry him. She said yes. Then he asked her if she wanted to see the ring. She said yes to that as well.
Her parents were there, ready to pop out of their disguises as soon as they were signaled. They were dressed as a homeless couple with nice cameras. This is exactly the way she would have wanted it.
They engaged couple left the beach and headed to a party at her parents house where about 25 of their closest friends waited to congratulate them. The party guests brought food. One particular party guest brought cake.
Happily Ever After Engagement Cake
(cake recipe from Smitten Kitchen, frosting recipe from All Recipes)
4 1/2 C cake flour
3 C sugar
5 1/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
3 sticks (12 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 C pureed frozen strawberries
8 egg whites
2/3 C milk
4-5 drops red food dye
1/2 C unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 C confectioners' sugar, sifted
2 tbsp milk
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter three 9-inch round or 8-inch square cake pans. Line with parchment or waxed paper and butter the paper.
Put the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large mixer bowl. With the electric mixer on low speed, blend for 30 seconds. Add the butter and strawberry puree and mix to blend the ingredients. Raise the speed to medium and beat until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes; the batter will resemble strawberry ice cream at this point.
In another large bowl, whisk together the egg whites, milk and red food dye to blend. Add the whites to the batter in two or three additions, scraping down the sides of the bowl well and mixing only to incorporate after each addition. Divide the batter among the three prepared pans.
I only had two pans so I had to bake the third pan after these were done.
Bake the cakes for 30 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow the layers to cool in the pans for 10 to 15 minutes. Invert and turn out onto wire racks and peel off the paper liners. Let stand until completely cooled before assembling the cake, at least an hour.
Cream room temperature butter with a hand mixer until smooth and fluffy. Gradually beat in confectioners' sugar until fully incorporated. Beat in vanilla extract.
Pour in milk and beat for an additional 3-4 minutes.
Assembling the Cake:
Once the cakes are completely cool, use a long serrated knife to trim off the rounded tops of each cake to provide a flattened surface.
Spread frosting between each cake layer as you stack them.
Continue generously icing the cake on the top and outside, smoothing icing out.
Decorate and serve it up.
Congratulations to the beautiful couple, Jonathan and Megs. I could not be happier for you, and I wish you all the best forever and ever!
...and they all lived happily ever after.