Monday, January 12, 2009

Happy Birthday Jim

My hubby, Jim, turns 37 tomorrow. His sister's birthday is today. We are celebrating both at their mom's house tonight.

I made this plain yellow cake for Jim. While the cake is plain, the icing and decorations are not. I like to bake like that: keep the cake/crust or "back bone" simple then embellish it with the finishing touches. It makes you look like a uber chef. The focus of this cake will be the sugary-spicy toasted pecans backed up by the lusciously smooth and sweet icing.

I must add that the cake stand is vintage white glass and I picked it up from my friend Marlene at her store, "Lene's Web Trash & Treasures". I love it. It puts a cake on display without distraction.

The icing is your basic 7 minute icing made with egg whites and sugar, beat over a simmering double boiler. It comes together perfectly and would make even a novice feel like a champ. The pecans were sugared yesterday and applied ever-so-carefully to the icing. The end result is a pretty cake that will make everyone stop and take notice.

Today my Lodge 6 quart enameled cast iron Dutch oven arrived along with Ina Garten's cookbook, "Back to Basics". I have a braising cookbook on the way next week which I plan to put to use with the Dutch oven. I'm going to work on learning good braising technique. If you're a frugal chef like me and you want to be able to use cheap cuts of meat to turn into tender dinners, you master the art of braising! It's going to be a tasty adventure.


  1. Happy Birthday Jim, You lucky Devil. lol Great looking cake Amy. You may need to enroll in Bakers Anonymous, or just start sending me all those goodies.


  2. Make sure you try the New York Times No Knead bread recipe in that new cast iron pot. Just google that and you will find one of the BEST breads ever! I have been making mine for over a year now, and everyone that tries it is amazed it comes out of an ordinary oven!

  3. That is one scrumptious and beautiful cake! Jim is lucky. I bet everyone will ooh and aah over that one.

    You'll love your dutch oven. I like making jambalaya in mine, among other things. To add to Cyn's suggestion on the bread, you can also find videos on YouTube demonstrating how to make the No-Knead bread.

  4. Happy birthday to your hubby. Your cake looks sooooo yummy!

  5. Amy, I'm serious, sign up for some of the FoodNetWork competitions, you'd do good.

    I have a Dutch Oven, I think I bought it when I was trying a bread in it, oh yeah this one -

    or Google, Dutch Oven Bread

    it turned out pretty good actually

    Inspire me with some of your recipes to dig it out again.

  6. Chris, Bakers Anon huh? I'm not ready to admit that I have a problem yet. I'll get back to you in a few months OK?

    Cyn, got it. I'm going to try it in a few days when things settle down a bit. The weekend might be the best time to make it.

    Susan, I'm definitely going to try some soups in the pot and the no knead bread. It's such a versatile cooking utensil and I'm really looking forward to seeing just how much it can do!

    Kim, thank you. The cake was a big hit and everyone oooooed and aaaaaed over it! The icing and the sugared pecans were the perfect taste combination. YUMMY!

    Joanna, I think I'll just keep doing what I like and not compete with other over it. I think that would take the fun out of it for me. I'm just having fun learning new technieques that all tehse new pots can perform. Not to mention the versatility of them all. I'll check out the link and see what I find.

    Sweetheart's Mom, thank you!

  7. Happy Birthday to Jim... and I hope he saves me a piece of that delicious looking cake!!
    (Fat chance, I know..)
    You will LOVE the dutch oven, Amy... I've only had mine for a couple of months but I haven't used my slow cooker/crockpot since!!

  8. YUM!
    I have a blog award waiting for you. Come on over and get it!

  9. Happy Birthday to both Jim and his sister. How lucky they are to have you in their lives.

    My birthday is in September. Shall I place my cake order now?


  10. Wow! That is by far one of the most beautifully embellished cakes I have ever seen! Jim is a lucky husband!
    Greetings from West Africa,

  11. Happy Birthday to Jim and his sister! Such a beautiful cake to celebrate with! Yum!!

  12. That cake is making my mouth water. If I EVER get to come and visit you, will you make one for me?


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