Christmas has come and gone and here we are at the last day of the year! December brought a bad case of the too-busy-to-blogitis, combined with an extended case of writer's block, days too dark to photograph anything well, two kids with pneumonia, and then a terrible cold the week before Christmas - the week which I had set aside to get everything done. So I went to the stores and shopped for hours when I should've been home in bed. I even managed to get some Sticky Buns made - for that is a Christmas morning tradition that cannot be skipped!
Christmas Eve, I was so exhausted, I fell asleep during the first 2 minutes of our family viewing of A Christmas Story, and completely forgot about the annual reading of The Night Before Christmas before bed. I didn't wake up until 5 am - just in time to see Santa scurrying around, trying to get the gifts under the tree before the kids woke up. Santa's helper told me that he fell down the steps while trying to navigate the house in the dark and he may have hurt his back.
After all that, I get to hear after Christmas that so-and-so got this expensive gift for Christmas and so-and-so got this expensive gift AND that expensive gift for Christmas. It's very hard to keep up with Joneses in our neighborhood (I don't even try). *sigh*
I've decided that next year we're going to Key West for Christmas. We'll leave all the Christmas hustle and bustle behind (we'll bring the sticky buns with us if necessary!)
December also brought a lot of baking, mostly Christmas cookies such as these. But this cake is what's been on my mind to tell you about. The combination was suggested by a friend who asked me to make this cake for her daughter's birthday. It was a fantastic combination! The basic vanilla buttermilk cake is a cake I've made umpteen times before. This time, I made one recipe and divided the batter among six 6" cake pans to bake. The bonus is that I could make one cake for my friend, and we could keep the other as a special treat. Six-inch cakes are adorable and can serve a surprising number of people (you can easily get 10 more-than-big-enough slices.)
The frosting is a new addition to my repetoire and a welcome one. This French Buttercream differs from Swiss Meringue Buttercream and Italian Meringue Buttercream in that it uses whole eggs and not just egg whites (no leftover egg yolks!). The caramel is brought to soft ball stage on the stovetop and poured over the whipped eggs, then the butter is added once the mixture has cooled. It's silky and smooth and rich, but not too dense or sweet. It was delicious!
Maybe one of these days, I'll post a comprehensive study on the differences in buttercreams (I didn't even mention American Buttercream which has no eggs at all). A side-by-side comparison would be fun. Anyone want to toss those dieting New Year's Resolutions out the window and volunteer to be a tester?