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MY BROTHER GOT MARRIED!

Photo credit to Dei Gratia Photo

Just last week my older brother and his fiancé got married! Congratulations!!! It was such a beautiful wedding filled with love & laughter, the best things to have at a wedding. I am so happy to say that I now have another sister! My brother and his (hehe) WIFE asked me about a year ago if I would bake their wedding cake, and my first reaction was to laugh. It probably wasn’t the best reaction, but I wasn’t a professional baker, I had yet to master making creme brulee. I had baked and decorated a couple of birthday cakes only for family members, which I think turned out pretty good. Each time I learned what not to do from the previous time.

Eventually, I convinced myself that I could do it. All I needed was a little faith and of course, the equipment and ingredients to bake and assemble the cake. Every now and then, my mum would ask me, “Charis? Are you sure you want to make the cake? We can get it made by the bakery and I’ll help to fund it.” But my brother and his fiance had asked ME to do it and I really wanted to make them proud.

I was never really nervous about the process until the day before the wedding. I wanted the cake to be as fresh as possible and so I had planned to bake the cake the day before and freeze them until assembly time. I had completely forgotten the time constraints for getting ready and attending the rehearsal and the dinner, leaving me with a few hours less than I thought. Later that night I baked the 2 last layers of the bottom tier of the cake, breaking one because I was too impatient to wait to turn it out of the pan. I had prepared all of the fondant flowers the week before so decoration wasn’t a huge issue but the interior structure of the cake seemed that it would be compromised by the broken cake layer.

The next day, Wedding Day, I got a few extra ingredients having second-guessed how much I really needed of each, and off we drove 40 mins away from the center of town. a trip that I knew if I ran out 0f ingredients no one would want to make, especially with the wedding in just about 7 hours. I mixed up fillings and syrups and I filled and stacked the different tiers of the cake and then my biggest worry, frosting. With the wedding being outdoors on what was supposed to be an 85-degree day, without research haha, Italian buttercream seemed like a good choice. Its base was meringue which would help to hold the butter up, and it tastes fantastic. But the only issue is that it’s very finicky. one wrong move and the frosting could be a soupy mess. To my horror, I hadn’t let the Italian meringue cool enough before adding a small amount of the butter. The meringue that I had beaten for ages to get the silky, hold-the-bowl-over-your-head meringue, was destroyed.

I didn’t have enough time or enough eggs to re-whip it so I had to wing it. I did a little research, the first result saying that this had happened to them and so they added all the butter in one go and it worked. That was a huge gamble being that it was all of the butter that I had brought. So I read other results saying it was gone, I had to start over, no one knows how to fix it. So I did it, I added ALL the butter in one go, in hopes that it would cool the mixture down fast enough that I could whip it in and then reincorporate air to get the frosting to that bright white.

In the end, it had worked! I couldn’t really tell if it was a super bright white frosting but I had been told by passers-by that it looked bright to them. The bride and groom were so relaxed that they said it’ll taste good anyways and they gave me confidence that no matter what it’d be okay. I frosted it together and stuck the cake in the fridge, I think the bottom 2 tiers must have weighed 30-40 pounds 😅 because my and my sister’s arms were shaking as we tried to keep the cake level on a wobbly stand, going into the fridge. After the ceremony, we recruited 2 of the groomsmen to help us carry it to the barn where the reception was and there my sister Emma and I topped it off with the last tier.

It was done. The cake was finally a cake, 3 tiers high, Tiramisu, White chocolate cake with strawberries and whipped cream, and lemon and whipped cream. Now it was up to the weather to not melt the icing off the cake. My sister and I rushed off to take pictures, icing on her bridesmaid dress 😆, but the bouquet could cover it. She thought it was funny as well so we laughed and enjoyed the wedding.

There was live music, dancing, and a mac ‘n cheese bar. Later that night I got to drive them away in the getaway car, the night was so peaceful driving through the countryside with the stars twinkling above and the bride and groom sitting up on the back of the convertible, the wind in their hair, and such love beaming from them.

It was an absolutely wonderful day, congratulations I & N! I love you guys so much! Xx

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MY 17TH BIRTHDAY CAKE!

This summer I turned 17! It was so much better than when I had baked my cake on my actual birthday. This year I made the decorations 2 days before and baked and decorated the cake one day before. This way I had my cake exactly how I wanted it and I wasn’t stuck making it on my birthday, just in case it didn’t work out.

As you might have already noticed, I am a lover of the sea and anything to do with the sea. My family and I live about 1 to 2 hours away from the coast, and on my birthday my parents and I went! I would really love to go again because I always think of the ocean and it makes me happy. My birthday is in July, I believe I could not have been born on a better day. When I was younger, and my parents did not have my older brother and sister in college, we would go on holidays and they would be around my birthday. If I could live on the beach I would, better yet I would live in Hawaii! Since I’m not quite old enough to have graduated,  don’t have a full-time job, and am unable to begin building my dream house, I can still bring the beach to me. Here is yet another of my beach-themed cakes!

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CHRISTMAS EVE SEAHORSE SURPRISE!

A rather unusual delivery A rather unusual delivery for the kitchen… —- Video available in HD mode —–

Christmas eve surprise

Posted by KitchenBean on Thursday, August 13, 2015

On August 13, 2015, a package arrived in the mail from eBay. My daughter had ordered two dwarf seahorses. Unfortunately, one of them didn’t live for very long and died. So we ordered four more but sadly the remaining seahorse from the original batch also died. It could have been injured during the journey.

Looking after seahorses isn’t easy. From what I observe, the tank has to be topped with filtered water frequently to maintain the right salinity. On top of that, my daughter has to hatch shrimps from eggs to feed the seahorses. Before she can hatch the shrimps she has to bleach the eggs to strip the shells and place them in an aerated container which she devised herself with some plastic tubes, an air pump and a cut out soft drink bottle. The aerated pump goes on 24/7. For a while, the kitchen looked a bit like a mad scientist’s lab and it was very noisy with the pump, so eventually, she moved all the equipment to the laundry room which was a great move. I just had to make sure not to drop any of the laundry into the brine water filled with thousands of microscopic shrimps!

What a delight when we found seven baby seahorses on Christmas eve.

A Christmas Eve Surprise. Read the rest of the story on http://charissummers.com/blog/christmas-eve-surprise/

Posted by KitchenBean on Friday, January 1, 2016

I’m pleased to say today is New Year’s day and the babies we found on Christmas Eve are still thriving. One did die but we found another baby seahorse the next day. The survival rate for baby seahorses is known to be extremely low but hopefully, in good hands, we’ll be able to see them mature into adults. We hope to keep you posted in a month’s time so do come back and check us out. Thank you for reading our blog.