One Saturday morning, my friend Thea called me and told me that she left a gift on her front porch. She opens her driveway for CSA vegetable pick-up every Saturday morning. So, hubby get the gift when he picked up the veggies. Got home, I opened a bag of gifts and a beautiful card filled with a lot of red heart shapes. At first, I didn't understand why she gave me those gifts. What a surprise! It was for my anniversary, and I didn't remember. My parents and sister had just visited us for two weeks, and a day before (Friday), we just got back from taking them to Atlanta airport. We had such a busy and wonderful moments, made me "ignore" our 6th anniversary.
Among the gifts, there is a jar of strawberry jam. The jam had been in our refrigerator for almost a month when hubby suddenly was eager to open it because I just took out a bread from the oven. It was almost 11 o'clock, but he persistently wanted to have bread and jam. I tried the jam (and bread), and goodness gracious! It was so good! The texture was great, because she let big pulps, just as we like it. The sweet and sourness was balance, unlike store-brought jams that are sugar overloaded. The Mennonite bread I baked was also good. It was one of my lucky days in baking that's hard to repeat. In consequence, the jam was down to a third from the bottom just a day after we opened it.
The women of my church wanted to throw a bridal shower for our friend. It started from one or two person came up with the idea, and as usual, everyone offered themselves to bring whatever needed for the party. That loving and caring relationship is one that I treasure so much. Our congregation is small and has soft structure, yet we have whatever the church needs because everyone feels it's one's responsibility to make things happen.
The bride-to-be is a simple girl that loves wild nature. Her job as a park ranger says it all. One day, she brought a snake and some animal models for church's kids weekend. Her session was one highlight of the kids weekend that year. Knowing her and what she likes, it took me a second to decide what flowers I needed to use for the shower. I knew she would prefer wild flower that bloomed at that time to store-brought roses and tulips.
Early Sunday morning, hubby and I walked to a pasture close to our apartment where a patch of wild beautiful bright orange Lily grew. I cut some stems and brought home. On the way to church, I cut some Daisies and Bachelor's Buttons. Then cut some big white Magnolia flowers from the church's yard. From those flowers and some church's glass vases, three arrangements were made for two serving table and a gift table. While working on the arrangements, I couldn't stop praising God for those beautiful wild flowers He has provided. I was reminded of this verse: "Consider how the lilies grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. Luke 12:27. That verse is so true.
I also had fun of making cake pops for the dessert. Since she likes green, I used green tea powder my sister brought from home for the base.
Green Tea Cake
Ingredients: 2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cups white sugar
1 Tbs green tea powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 pack of cream cheese
1 pack of white chocolate
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Cover bottom of a 10 inch round cake pans with waxed paper; then lightly grease the side and bottom.
In a large bowl, combine flour, green tea powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
In a separate bowl, beat the eggs and sugar until batter is thick and fluffy.
Add the oil and milk in a steady stream. Gradually, add in the dry ingredients just well blended.
Pour batter into prepared pans.
Bake for 35 minutes, or until wooden toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean. Cool layers in pans on wire racks 10 minutes. Loosen edges, and remove to racks to cool completely.
After cake is completely cooled, crumble it into a large bowl (I only used 3/4 of the cake and did not include the crust).
Mix thoroughly with cream cheese. Roll mixture into quarter size balls and lay on cookie sheet. Then refrigerate for 30 minutes.
In the mean time, melt a small part of the chocolate. Follow the direction on the package.
Dip a stick (or multiple sticks at once) in the chocolate mixture then insert to the each cake balls. Refrigerate for 15 minutes to secure the sticks.
Melt the rest of the chocolate in a small bowl.
Insert a cake ball to the chocolate bowl until the ball is completely chocolate-coated. This part is kinda tricky but gets easier after practicing several times.
Sprinkle with pearl sprinkles right away as the chocolate get hardened fast.
Yield: about 35-40
I'd been wanting to bake a cake then decorate it with chocolate transfer sheet my sister brought from home, so I baked one for last Sunday's potluck. Although I knew that's what I wanted to make, baking on that Saturday was really a drag for me. I had a job and a personal project that needed to get done soon. The fact that I wasn't in the mood of cooking made everything worse. Hubby suggested to buy apple pie or something else from a store, but we did that for several last potlucks, and didn't feel right to do that again. Although you may not agree, deepest in my heart, I still believe that things made from scratch or half home-made have deeper meaning than the ready-made ones.
It was almost dark when I finally decided what recipe I wanted to use. The base was black forest cake I found on Allrecipe. When I am running out of time, I rather use volume-based recipes to save a lot of time than weight-based ones that require a scale. The recipe called for 2 9-inches round pan, but I poured all the batter in one pan, the only one I had. Thus it required more time to bake. It was about 10 o'clock when my cake was taken out from the oven. Since it needed to be cooled before I could apply the icing, I decided to do the finishing in the morning.
Here came the fun part. Fortunately there was an unopened heavy cream in my refrigerator. I whipped the cream and added mocca paste my oldest sister gave. That way I could save time from making butter cream icing. The last part and the most exciting one was decorating using chocolate transfer sheet. I love all great patterns my sister picked for me. I was starring back and forth at all of those and undecided for some time. All was good.
What upset me was the cake was super sweet. I love baking from scratch because I can reduce the sugar like what I usually do. Yet that Saturday, my brain didn't function well. Other than that, hubby and I love the cake. Hubby loves to drink black coffee, and the too-sweet cake was perfect with it.