Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Showers and Showers

I knew September was going to be insane, but it truly seemed to go by in a blink of an eye. So cliché, but so true. Many doctor visits, multiple catering jobs, endless car juggling and two baby showers, not to mention trying to get a nursery in order and launching our annual fundraiser at work to buy coats for local school kids.

Needless to say, most of the cooking I did last month was not for me and mine. We ate what I was feeding everyone else.

But it was all good, everyone survived, and here it is October. And insta-Fall here in Oregon. Not two weeks ago we were all complaining marveling at our late September temperatures in the mid to upper 80s. This week it’s raining, and I think we’ll be lucky to hit 60. But I’m not complaining. This is, after all, my favorite time of the year.

I did manage to snap a few frantic pictures and will be sharing those in upcoming posts. For now, I thought I’d share the culmination of our busy month with some photos of O2’s second baby shower. She had one thrown by friends at the theater, and we had it outside in the park. Weather was beautiful. A week later we had another thrown by her best friend, and hosted by a dear friend of mine, as a ‘school friends and family’ kind of a thing (and luckily indoors as it was much chillier, and a little gloomy looking outside).

I wanted to keep the buffet fairly small and simple. Probably a good thing as we had about a third of the people we were expecting. One of my biggest peeves is people who say they’re going to attend something and then never bother to show. They seem to have zero understanding of the time and expense that is put forth on their behalf.

Anyway, I’ll save that rant for another time.

So, the buffet…

These little guys just HAD to make an appearance again, only this time they were sporting binkies and bottles…

We had some really simple umbrellas (as a nod to our ‘showers’), made from Babybel cheese and bendy straws…

I put together another fruit tureen since it was so popular at the first shower, and also a little baby buggy filled with fresh fruit…

And since I needed all of 2 pretzel rods to make the trees for the first shower cake, I opted to use the rest of them here, dip them in white chocolate and roll them in sprinkles…

Rounding out the buffet were cucumber rounds topped with a smoked salmon spread that O2 put together, as well as little canapés topped with the chicken salad recipe I stole borrowed from C after our last ‘dinner extravaganza’ (which I realize I have yet to share). We also had jalapeno popper dip and chips at the mom-to-be’s request. And E made a blue punch that we could float a little duck family in.

And since the cake itself was so popular at the first shower, I thought I’d just make the spice cake portion of it again for this shower, but this time turn it into cupcakes topped with little animal faces, which I have to say were just a blast to make. Fondant is like adult play-doh, I swear.

Spiced Cake
adapted from

2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cardamom
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
4 large eggs
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup whole milk

Sift all dry ingredients (except for sugar) onto a piece of waxed paper, or into a bowl. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 350º. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine butter and sugar. Cream together at high speed about 3 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, until well combined. Alternate adding dry ingredients and the sour cream and milk until everything is incorporated.

Line 2 cupcake pans with liners (24 regular sized). Spoon batter into liners about ¾ of the way full. Bake until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 22 minutes. Allow to cool completely before frosting (I used a cream cheese frosting).

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