Everyone who attended knew one another and was in party mode upon arrival.
Nevertheless I stuck a post-it note on the back of each guest. With only “yes” and “no” questions the object of the ice-breaker was to figure out whose name was on your back and find your famous partner.
In the food department, we used the dining room table for hors d’oeuvres and snacks.
Most of these dishes were contributions by the guest hostesses.
My contribution to the food (in addition to a tres leches cake) was a build-your-own taco bar on the island in the kitchen.
I have found that even picky eaters (and we had some self-proclaimed ones attending) will be able to find something to eat if at least one of the dishes is deconstructed.
Drinks were served from the stainless steel counter that forms the border between the kitchen and dining room.
We ended the party by presenting the guest of honor with a money tree.
As a signal that the good time was coming to an end one of the hostesses put the party favors — ring pop in a bride box — on a tray and passed them out.
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into chunks and softened
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 large eggs, room temperature
2 cups sugar
1 cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Milk mixture: Pour the condensed milk into a microwave-safe bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Microwave on medium-low, stirring often and replacing the plastic wrap several times, until slightly darkened and thickened, 9 to 15 minutes. I heated the condensed milk in 2-minute intervals at 20-30% for a total of 12 minutes. It was thick and caramelly.
Gradually whisk in the evaporated milk, cream and vanilla.
Set aside to cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes.
Cake: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat to 325 degrees. Grease and flour a 9-by-13-inch baking pan. Whisk the flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon in a medium bowl.
Heat the milk, butter and vanilla in a small saucepan over low heat until the butter is melted. In a large bowl whip the eggs with an electric mixer on medium-high speed and gradually add the sugar; beat 1 minute. Increase speed and whip until the mixture is very thick and voluminous, 4 to 8 minutes longer.
Reduce mixer speed to low and add the melted butter mixture, beating until combined, about 30 seconds. Add the flour mixture in two additions, beating until incorporated, about 30 seconds. Increase the mixer speed to medium and whip the batter until fully combined and smooth, about 30 seconds.
Scrape batter into the prepared pan, smooth the top, and gently tap the pan on the work surface to settle it.
The batter is thin. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few crumbs attached, 30 to 35 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through baking.
Let the cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes.
Using a skewer, poke about 50 holes in the warm cake (you do not need to poke all the way through).
Slowly pour the cooled milk mixture over the cake. Let the cake cool for about 15 minutes, then refrigerate until the milk is completely absorbed and the cake has cooled completely, about 3 hours. I refrigerated the cake overnight.
Frosting: Let the cake sit at room temperature 30 minutes. With an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the cream, corn syrup and vanilla in a medium bowl to soft peaks, 1 to 2 minutes. I used commercial vanilla syrup instead of corn syrup and vanilla. Spread the frosting evenly over the top of the cake and serve.
Instead of spreading the cake with the soft cream I whipped it a little stiffer and piped it on the cake with a pastry bag. I used more than one cup of heavy cream to finish covering the entire cake. Makes 18 servings.
We served the Tres Leches Cake with diced mangoes and strawberries.
Four people asked for the recipe and everybody else said it was delicious.
This weekend we’ve got a variety of goals to accomplish.
First our friend the Viking is back to install window trim. We have 3 windows still needing casement: the master closet window
and the circular windows in the new showers.
When the window trim is finished it would be a good time to take the protective film off all windows that still have it on. Unfortunately Charlie told me the peel-off film is now stuck tight. I told him I would take care of it. I hope I can.
If time allows I’d also like the laundry room door hung.
In the mean time I want to create a money tree, clean and decorate the downstairs bathrooms, make a grocery shopping list for the wedding shower, make a party prep timeline for the shower, clean and straighten the first floor, decorate the mantle and dining room in fiesta fashion.
I plan to use items from around the house like this vase I painted ochre a few years ago and my fish plate.
I’m sure the lawn will also get it first cutting this weekend.