Shari’s wedding cake–Attempt #2

Shari’s wedding cake–Attempt #2

After our last meeting at Shari’s house, I came home with goodies from Shari glucose, glycerin, fondant mat (returning), recipes, & lots of ideas.  I was going to try to make her wedding cake again, hopefully with different results… lol.

I decided to make a French vanilla cake (since Dale bought me two boxes of that particular cake mix) and was trying to decide what to use for a filling.  Shari went to great lengths to create fillings & icings & wonderful tasting cakes when we did our last tasting, so I felt that I had to come up with something & not just plain frosting for all layers.

I browsed the internet & looked in the pantry & found some dried peaches & apricots (bought to make some Lara bars with).  I made apricot/peach Peach Schnapps puree with the fruit.  Next time I do it, I will either make a syrup to go with it or buy preserves.  I really wanted something that would kind of soak into the cake.  You can barely see the puree for the spatula in the container.

I made the cakes, split & leveled them & froze them to await their shiny coat of fondant.  Of course, I had to put on a crumb coat before the icing & before the fondant but I am getting ahead of myself.

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This was the first cake that all the fondant was homemade!  Shari sent me home with a fondant recipe for Marshmallow Fondant with a variation for a white chocolate one. The recipe can be found here


I sifted the powdered sugar again because sometimes lumps are created during packaging & shipping of the sugar.

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I melted the white chocolate, then melted the marshmallows in a bowl, with some water, in the microwave.

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I added the melted white chocolate & then poured the liquids over the powdered sugar as the mixer (with dough hook attached) started the process of mixing the ingredients together.


(My fondant work station – the kitchen table).


When the powdered sugar was nearly incorporated into the fondant, it was time to start working it by hand.

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I had some trying times working the fondant & realize that I probably OVERWORKED (or worried) it.  I have discovered that if I am still kneading it after a couple of hours, it’s time to stop, let it rest, call it a day, and revisit it tomorrow!!!  I didn’t get any pictures of covering either of the cakes, but here is the bottom layer all covered & it was so beautiful, I almost cried!!!!!


HINT:  I did find that if I stuck the fondant into the microwave & set the timer for 10 seconds, the fondant was MUCH easier to work with.

After I put the cakes on top of each other, then I started the process of decorating the cake.  It actually helps if you read the directions in the book (which I didn’t have last time!) on how to assemble the cakes.  The two layers (8 & 10″) were split in half & puree was layered in between each layer of the cake and frosting around the outside to await the fondant.

After the fondant, and before the final decorations, I had to put pearls around the bottom of each layer.  Now, pearls have NEVER been my strong suit-but I found that I can either make them the way most cake decorators do (lay the decorator’s bag @ 45 degrees & squeeze out frosting & drag it off the side – this doesn’t leave a little tip on the pearl) or I could do them still at a 45 degree angle but not drag them to the side.  All I had to do was come back after the icing hardened a bit & lightly smash the point.   Guess which one I did?


I really think they came out pretty good this time-more like pearls & not little disaster areas!!!

The final decorations consist of placing two stripes of icing down with some fondant ribbon mixed in.  The photos above show how I marked the cake to get ready for the placement of the icing & ribbons.


Shari, if I can’t figure out how to have a steadier hand, we may have to have silver cord & burgundy ribbon.


All kidding aside, I have really had a blast learning to work with fondant.  Jennifer even gets in the action by researching things like – how to get air bubbles out of fondant,  where to buy icing colors & what kind to buy.  I had a really good time even with all the imperfections of the cake – it tasted PRETTY GOOD!  I will be taking half of the cake to Shari’s for our next sister’s week!  Wish you could join us!!!

My Attempt at Shari’s Wedding Cake

My Attempt at Shari’s Wedding Cake

Well, I am NOT a baker (especially of cakes) but Shari has tasked me with making her wedding cake in January of next year.

It is covered with fondant & until last month I had never been closer to fondant than eating it on a cake someone else made & admiring the beauty. So I had a crash course as Shari’s at our last month’s get-together.

I found that it is not TOOOOOO hard to work just have to know what to do with it. I didn’t find out all about it until I worked with it at home on my own.

When Jen was here last weekend to do karaoke at the VFW, I made my practice cake & fondants. Part of the cake (the little top one) has a store bought (Duff Goldman of Ace of Cakes) fondant & the larger one has a home made marshmallow fondant. That in itself was soooo much fun!

I had Shari email me the recipe so I could make it. It is water, marshmallows, & powdered sugar. Needless to say it was a MESS. I had powdered sugar all over me, the counter, & the bowl (where the fondant was).

I should have done a bit of research before I started rolling it out – found out I should have been using powdered sugar to roll it on & NEVER knead it like bread. I got air bubbles in my fondant when I tried to roll it. Jen did a bit of research for me & found that I should not be folding it over on itself as this incorporates air – duh.

The cake is a Red Velvet (box mix) by Duff Goldman (as mentioned above). I have never been much of a cake baker so I had forgotten that cakes sometimes have lots of air bubbles in them. The chocolate cake I made for my granddaughter’s birthday in July was not too bad but the practice one I made at Shari’s was HORRIBLY bubbly, like Swiss cheese or a sponge.

Anyway, cakes were made – 8″ & 9″ cakes, frozen. Frosting made for the cake & decorator’s icing – my refrigerators were definitely on sugar overload.

In order to roll out the fondant, Shari loaned me her Wilton Fondant mat – which helped a lot..gave me sizes to roll out to be sure it would cover the cake.

I bought a 19″ x 2″ wooden rolling pin (it says it’s a rolling dowel). This will be big enough to cover almost any cake.

Fondants rolled, flowers made (the marshmallow flower was easier to mold but the store bought fondant flower kept its shape better).

Cakes assembled, straws placed for strength, layers laid. Next, what to do about the ribbon thing. I sure hope Shari has a ribbon cutter, if not..OH, BOY!!!!

For those of you who might not know me, I am the studious, meticulous, straight by the book person so when it came time to finish putting the cake together, it was a nightmare – not really.

It was hard to tell exactly how the cake was put together so I did the best I could and I think, after the cakes were together, that the little one should have been slightly off-center. I couldn’t get the calla lily to lay on the bottom layer like the picture showed. Also, instead of the silver decoration, I just used white decorator icing, mostly for effect as I didn’t have the stuff to make it silver.

Jen said she thinks Shari is going to want the ribbon to be the red she picked for her wedding. I told her I didn’t know but that I was going to make it look as close to the picture as possible that other stuff can be done on the OFFICIAL cake. Smile

Now for the pearls .Shari said they are EASY. lol I went to the internet for some instruction & couldn’t find a lot other than to use fondant pearls. The pearls around the upper cake were done with decorator icing & the ones around the bottom were fondant circles cut with my larger straight decorating tip.

Here is the picture:


Now, how did it taste? On Friday, I cut the cake & what a mess. In order to cut the bottom cake, I had to remove the upper cake. Both cakes are on cardboard covered with aluminum foil (had no decorators foil). I forgot to put something on the bottom of the upper cake so when lifted it off the fondant & icing from the bottom cake came off with the top. Sad smile

I took the top cake off of the cardboard & set it on a paper plate while I repaired the bottom cake. As long as no one else saw it, no problem lol.  Setting the top cake back down helped.

My husband, Dale said it was okay but a little dry (the thing had been sitting in the fridge or freezer for almost a week-what do you expect lol). It had really good flavor but Dale said the fondant was too thick. I said I rolled it out to 1/8″ like Shari said.  He said it’s more like 1/4″. What happened???????  The icing under the cake had melded in with the fondant to make it look like the fondant was way too thick.

Personally, I thought the whole cake was just fine. I KNOW the plates are a bit busy lol.

That’s all for the Perils from the Kitchen for now!

The cake design is from Rose Levy Bernbaum’s “The Cake Bible.”  You can find more of her designs at


Marinade for Pork Tenderloin

In a previous post, I said I would include the marinade I used for a pork tenderloin dish. This recipe is from Three Diets. One Dinner website –

I used regular pork tenderloins and substituted chopped green chilies (Anaheims) for the jalapeno. This could also be cooked on a grill.


Pork Tenderloin : Texas Style
serves 4

2 pastured pork tenderloins
1 Tbsp dijon mustard
1 Tbsp lime juice
1 garlic clove, smashed and roughly chopped
1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
1/3 cup soy sauce (or gluten free tamari)*
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
2 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 handful fresh cilantro, chopped
1 handful fresh basil, chopped
1 tsp pepper

*fermented soy, like soy sauce, is often considered “paleo” as the fermentation process destroys the damaging toxins in soy. However, if you are super sensitive to gluten, you may want to pick up Gluten-Free Tamari.

Combine all the ingredients in a resealable plastic bag. Add the meat, squeeze out the air and put in the fridge for at least 4 hours, preferably over night. Preheat the oven to 475º and line a sheet pan with foil. Remove the tenderloin from the bag, lay on the pan, discarding the marinade. Roast in the oven for 5 minutes. Turn down the heat to 425º and roast for 20-25 more minutes, until an instant read thermometer registers 150º. Remove from the oven and loosely wrap the foil around the pork. Let the pork rest 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

Samoa Donuts

Samoa Donuts

Having been involved with the Girl Scouts organization for many years, it has been hard for son, Michael’s family to eat the cookies sold by the Girl Scouts. They went paleo/primal/primative almost a year ago so that means no flour or processed foods. I went on a quest to research recipes that I could feed the girls when they came to visit this summer.

One of the recipes I found was for Samoa Donuts. If you have ever had Samoa cookies from the Girl Scouts, you know how very, truly delicious they are – all that chocolate on the bottom of the cookie, how creamy the caramel on top is & topped off with more chocolate!!!

I try not to make many sweets unless there are other people around to help eat them. Remember, I have a truly horrible “sweet tooth.” Before the girls arrived, I made a batch of these wonderful little gems. They are good frozen, still cold, or just room temperature.


For the Donuts

  • 2½ cups blanched almond flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • A scant less than 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons honey
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, softened or liquid
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon Lemon juice
  • 3 whole large room temp eggs

Coconut caramel topping

  • 1 can full-fat coconut milk (about 1? cups)
  • 1/2 cup mild flavored honey or maple syrup, (I like the syrup)
  • A pinch of sea salt
  • 1 rounded tablespoon ghee or butter (can sub palm shortening or coconut oil)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup finely shredded coconut, plus 2 more tablespoons for garnishing

For the Dipping Chocolate

  • 1 bag Enjoy Life Chocolate chips (melted in a double boiler)


  1. Preheat your mini donut making machine OR preheat the oven to 350 degrees if you are using a regular donut pan or making into muffins.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the almond flour, baking soda and salt.
  3. In another bowl, combine the honey, oil, vanilla, lemon juice and eggs.
  4. Add the oil/honey mixture to the dry ingredients. Mix till just combined.
  5. Add about 2 tablespoons of batter to each mold in the donut machine or scoop the batter into a Ziplock bag, twisting the other end to close it. Snip the end off of one of the corners with a scissors. Start with a small cut. You can always make it bigger if you need too. Squeeze batter into molds.
  6. Close the lid and allow to cook for about 2 minutes. Times will vary with each machine. Open the machine and flip over each donut using the forked ‘skewer’ that comes with most machines. Close the lid again cook for about one more minute. Remove donuts and let cool on a wire rack. Repeat with the rest of the batter.
  7. If using a regular donut pan, fill each well-greased mold about ¾ full. Smooth the tops if needed and bake for 10-12 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes, remove from the pan and cool completely on a wire rack.
  8. Makes 12-15 mini donuts or 6 regular sized ones (depending on how much batter you eat during the prep time.)

For the Coconut Caramel

  1. In a small-medium heavy bottomed sauce pan, bring the coconut milk, honey and salt to a boil over medium high heat, being sure that they are well combined. Reduce to a medium heat, and let the mixture boil down for about 35-40 minutes.
  2. Add the ghee and vanilla, stirring it in till well incorporated. Continue cooking for another 5-15 minutes or as long as needed until it is a deep caramel color. Don?t rush the process. Depending on how hot your burner is this process could be faster or slower. Stir often toward the end to keep the bottom from burning too much. A little burning is fine as long as you are stirring it in to the mixture. It will give it a darker flavor.
  3. Remove from heat, transfer to a bowl and let cool for 5 minutes then stir vigorously until it?s creamy, shinny and smooth.
  4. While the caramel is cooking, spread the coconut out on an ungreased cookie sheet and toast the coconut in a 325 degree oven. Stir often till golden, about 5-10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool.
  5. Mix the toasted coconut into the caramel minus a tablespoon or so for garnishing later. Use coconut caramel while still warm for best spreading results. Caramel can be made ahead of time (w/o the shredded coconut) and reheated in a double boiler.

As you can see, there are no instructions on how to complete the donuts.  I dipped each donut in the chocolate & turned it upside down to let the chocolate harden (you can put it in the fridge if necessary).  After the chocolate is hardened, I turned the donuts right side up (with the chocolate on the bottom) & spooned the caramel around the top – letting it slide off the sides.


I put the remaining chocolate into a disposable decorator bag (or you can use a Ziplock baggy as noted above) & drizzled it across the donuts.  Let the chocolate harden & enjoy!  I froze mine until the girls arrived & then we took out what we wanted every day and either ate them frozen or thawed?good either way!!!!!

Dinner at the Ritz?

Dinner at the Ritz?

During one of our “sister’s” weeks, I made a scrumptiously, delicious dinner. It consisted of baked acorn squash, sauteed Swiss chard, & a Texas-style marinated pork tenderloin.

We cut the acorn squash in half, coated the baking pan & edges of the squash with coconut oil – I think that it gives the squash a good flavor as it cooks. The squash is baked cut side down at 350degrees for about 30 – 40 minutes (depending on the size of the squash).


Swiss chard is a member of the spinach family but is much heavier leaf with much larger veins. In my opinion, the stem & stalk are the “best” part of the vegetable. Be sure to rinse the leaves & stalk to make sure that all dirt is removed.


I lay the leaves down with them folded together and cut out the largest part of the stalk. I cut the stalks into 2 or 3 inch pieces to cook. The stems take longer to cook so I cook them first. This vegetable can be cooked in any oil or fat that you choose. My preference is either bacon fat or butter.

Melt your fat & drop the stem pieces into it & cook until they are “fork-tender.” I take the folded leaves and cut them into about 1″ strips. I put them into the pan with the stems and cook them until they “wilt.”


I will post the recipe for the pork tenderloin marinade either in the comments section or in a separate posting. I marinated the tenderloins overnight so they would absorb the most from the liquid.?? They were cooked at 350 degrees for approximately 30 – 40 minutes.

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All said & done, we had a very delicious meal that the whole family could enjoy!



Please remember to laugh often, dance as if no one is watching, & sing as if no one is listening! Peace!