Last day of the Georgia State Fair over in Perry today. We were going to be heading over to it but in the end decided to leave that til next year as we were both feeling frazzled, Bill especially as he had to jump right back into work after his trip to England. Instead we decided to take a visit to Target try to chase down the remaining ingredients and equipment I’ll be needing in my battle to make a wedding cake.
I say battle because so far pulling all this stuff together has been proving rather more complicated than I realised it would be. One evening during the week we drove across to the Dekalb Farmer’s Market and discovered that translating my recipe into American wasn’t exactly going to be a piece of cake. Here follows my post to the K1 advocacy forum on the baking situation so far….
Well, traditionally a wedding cake is a fruit cake and as these things are supposed to take a few months to mature, having now arrived in the USA and with the wedding being set for 23rd December I thought that I ought to get underway and start baking.
I got a copy of my Nanna Downes’ special fruit cake recipe and headed for the farmer’s market.
Things soon turned a little tricky though, had a few problems translating my recipe into American…
1 teaspoon mixed spice – a favourite among spice racks in Britain which drew complete and utter confusion over here. Am still looking for an alternative. Apparently I might find something similar under “pumpkin pie spice” or I guess I’ll have to buy a heap of different warm spices and compile a mix of my own! Must try to follow Nanna’s recipe properly!
1 teaspoon cinnamon – @#%$! Talk about wastage?! All I need is a teaspoon of cinnamon but I had to buy a HUGE great big container of spice! Hope that’s just a Farmer’s Market thing, at this rate the kitchen cupboards will be jam packed with insane supplies of herbs and spices gathering dust! Okay it was cheap, but I really don’t need that much!
plain flour – sounds simple, but when faced with a wall of complex flour varieties but nothing labelled “plain” this soon became daunting.
2 oz lard – no comment on American groceries here, just a plain “ugh!!! LARD?!!!” *shudders* Decided to definitely amend Nanna’s recipe here and just go for extra butter instead! (heh, reminds me of my mum feeding Bill black pudding when he visited and only telling him what it was afterwards! poor boy! he was almost sick when he found out! When he found out the cake recipe had lard in it his face had the same expression of horror!)
1lb currants, 1/2 lb raisins, 1/2lb sultanas – this caused great confusion too. Bill had no idea what I was on about when I said I needed sultanas. Again, I couldn’t find anything labelled as sultanas but I did find some “golden raisins” in the dried fruit section, they looked about right so I picked some of those up. (These all have to be soaked overnight in sherry, mmmmm) Oh, and I had to search quite hard to find currants too, they were labelled a little differently as well. (Heh, Bill thought I was after currants as in berries *think redcurrant, blackcurrant etc!)
cherries – here I presume my Nanna would have meant glace cherries. Drew a complete blank for now, am going to have to try Publix or Kroger and apparently look for “cocktail cherries?”
sherry – hoorah! finally a brand I recognised. One bottle of Bristol Cream duly purchased. (cake will be thirsty and needs feeding once baked)
1 orange – surely an orange is an orange? but, oh no, not at the Dekalb Farmer’s Market! yikes…decisions decisions!
sugar – what’s wrong with granulated, castor and icing?!!
By now I am of course thoroughly confused and I haven’t even got to trying to convert Nan’s ounces into cups! In fact I think I might just skip that and go get me a proper set of kitchen scales before my head explodes with the effort! This was supposed to be fun!
Anyhow today more progress was made and now I am the proud owner of some wooden spoons, a set of cake tins, a cake storage box, a wire cooling rack and a set of kitchen scales amongst other things. We were also sucked in by some rather groovy orange and black Halloween tea-towels, an oven glove and pot holders. Oh!…and a spooky ghost soap dispenser! Almost bought a proper kettle too but decided it could wait for the moment as I was already adding to the trolley left right and center.
Purchased some “maraschino” cherries yesterday although I’m still not 100% persuaded that those are the correct sort that I’m after. They came in a small glass jar and are preserved in some sort of liquid rather than being the candied cherries I was hunting for. Hmmm. Still missing the mixed spice alternative and I’ve been told I’d be better off using vegetable shortening (Crisco) for the lard instead of the extra butter so I’m on the hunt for that too.
Think I’m going to go ahead and soak the dried fruit in sherry overnight regardless though. Hopefully I’ll have completed my ingredients mission by the time I get to mix the cake tomorrow evening and all will be perfect. *fingers crossed*
It’s a fabulous day out today and Quince’s paw is finally beginning to heal up nicely after he cut it at Camp Leslie while Bill was in the UK (we’ve had to try to keep his foot bandaged up which hasn’t always been easy, and Bill has affectionately been calling him Club Foot all week) so were able to take him out for a walk for the first time in what must have seemed an age to him. Poor dog has been cooped up in the house all week. We went over to a park and gave him the chance to stretch his legs.