My good friend Kim asked me to make a cake for her dad's seventy-fifth birthday party a few days before Christmas, which also happened to be the very same weekend we moved into our house. And even knowing how busy and tired I would be after moving, I just couldn't say no to her after everything she did to help me with my wedding.
Moving day was indescribably exhausting, but it was only the beginning, as everything needed to be unpacked and put into place, and the first room I tackled - at least after unpacking our sheets and making up the bed - was the kitchen. Nearly everything fragile made it safely, including all of my cake pedestals, except one which broke cleanly in half, but hopefully can be glued back together. Sadly, a box of coffee cups fared the worst, with at least six broken cups and several more cracked. It's strange that so many sturdy coffee cups broke, when there wasn't even a single broken wine or champagne glass.
I am learning my new oven. It's a gas range and oven, which is new to me, and the oven runs low, so although my cake took a little longer to bake, it still baked beautifully. We are trying to figure out if we should over-compensate on the temperature or see if we can get the oven re-calibrated, but regardless, there haven't been any disastrous results due to the wrong temperature.
Kim asked for carrot cake, so I made my browned butter carrot cake with a salted pecan cream cheese buttercream. Since it was Christmas, I melted bittersweet chocolate into Christmas tree cookie cutters and sprinkled the chocolate with chopped pecans before letting it harden again, for a wintery garnish for the side of the cake. I did the same thing with the 75, melting the chocolate onto lollypop sticks so I could insert them into the top of the cake as an edible topper.
The cakes were so moist and fragrant, I wished I could have a taste, but Kim told me later that her family could not stop raving about my cake, and that it was the best they had ever tasted!
Click here for the cake recipe published in a previous post; note that instead of pressing the pecans and salt into the sides of the cake, I mixed them right into the frosting.