Tuesday, June 29, 2010

On to the 4th

Every year (or nearly) for the past 5 years, we have gone to a lulu of a 4th of July party. The friends who host it live in an old farmhouse a bit north of here.

The crowd starts rolling in in the early afternoon, and the last stragglers weave away on the following day (having camped out in the nearby woods).

I like to bring a few food items. Everyone contributes. Sometimes it's booze-soaked fruit on skewers, sometimes a cake, or a salad. Too, we bring spirits or beer, and something for the grill.

Everyone lounges around, talks, has a few drinks, eats to repletion and beyond, plays croquet (on a very uneven lawn) and some bands play. (The host has a band of his own, and many other musician friends.) There's also a chance that some of us will forget we're glad the 80s are past, and we'll bop around to various 80s music...all kinds.

But right now I'm fixated on the dessert I'm bringing. It's going to be a three-layer cocoanut cake with a lavender cream cheese frosting. And my inner cornball is helping freely--one layer is red, one is white...and yes...the third is blue. The frosting is nearly white.

The recipe is delicious. I found it in a 1928 Royal Baking Powder book. Caveat: the damn thing sinks in the middle, whatever I do. I've made it five times so far, so I should know.

The oven is hot enough. Believe me, when your oven dates from 1938, you remember to pre-heat. Two possible culprits remain: the mixing technique, or too much baking powder. I've been following the basic cookbook directions, and melting the butter.

Usually when I make a butter cake, I cream it in with the dry, and then add the liquid gradually, beating for a minute or minute and a half between additions...I think I'll try that next time. And lessen the baking powder amount. It calls for 4 teaspoons! That's a lot for a one-layer cake.

If you're a baker, feel free to sound off and let me know your opinions, and/or what you're done to correct the same problem.

When the cake is assembled, I'll post a photo or two.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Caroline Cloche

This pattern is from Popknits...which is no longer publishing, sad to say, but is still available online.

It's the hat in the center (being the only knitted topper). I used 100% silk yarn instead of Silky Wool, and the trim is silk. The badge is embroidered in a pattern from one of my 30s needlework books--I used mercerized cotton. The trim around the badge is from my stash. According to the receipt it was wound around, it's from 1941. The badge is backed with facing, which I applied after embroidery, but before the edging.

I dipped the hat in heavy starch before blocking, and it's unlined.

(The photo was taken at Chifferobe's Bayoo Ballyhoo...I am sorry, but at the moment I can't track down the photographer's name.)

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Picnic...and A Movie

Not just any movie, either. King Kong (1933). If the weather holds, we'll be going to watch it near Tazza in downtown Providence.

I've packed a picnic supper to bring. So far we have these sandwiches: chicken salad with fresh thyme, cheese & butter spread with cucumber, and red onion (all on various white and brown breads).

For dessert we have cocoanut teacakes and peanut butter cookies. Probably lemonade to drink.

All will be packed into a wicker hamper complete with plates and cutlery. I've also sprinkled paper towels with rosewater for clean-up after.

I hope it doesn't rain!