Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Strawberry Cake for Bible Study

Today was Bible study at my house, and we studied the Church in Sardis [Book of Revelation, Chapter 3].  Our Lord wrote a very sobering letter to this church [via the Apostle John], but in his grace and mercy, He provided the ways the people could be forgiven and revived. 

After Bible study I served a cake that I assembled rather piecemeal [no one particular recipe].  I had an unfrosted white layer cake in the freezer that my granddaughter, Izzy, and I made when she came to  visit, so that was my starting place. This was definitely not a picture-perfect cake, but since it was a very informal gathering it didn't have to be, and I'll provide corrective solutions if you should want to try making it in your kitchen.

Not knowing if the cake was still moist or had become dry from freezing, I opted to poke it with strawberry jello.  One 3 oz. package Strawberry Jello dissolved in 1 cup of hot water and then 1/2 cup of cold water stirred in.  With a dinner fork I poked holes in the tops of both layers and spooned the Jello over the top, then refrigerated it for three hours.  

I purchased a can of Strawberry Pie Filling and spooned it between the layers and refrigerated it overnight [covered in plastic wrap].  This morning I frosted the cake with a delicious Strawberry Frosting recipe I clipped from Southern Lady magazine by Swans Down Cake Flour.

I sliced fresh, large strawberries and drained them on paper towels, then began laying them in a circle working from the outer edge toward the center.  Strawberries are 91% water, so my first mistake [which allowed the liquid to run down the side of the cake] was putting them too close to the edge.  Also, I should have piped a frosting border around the edge to create a barrier to keep the strawberry liquid contained. And the strawberries should have been more layered or overlapping - not single rows. 

Now that I think about it, my life is kind of like the cake.  I'm not picture-perfect either and God continually makes corrections to develop me into the person He desires me to be.

Back to the Strawberry Cake... lastly, I melted a small amount of strawberry preserves, and lightly brushed it over the tops of the strawberry slices to seal them, give them a nice shine, and add a little sweetness.  Then I refrigerated it until it was time for serving.  The taste more than made up the mistakes. The chilled cake is perfect for summertime, and I will definitely make it again.

Our tea was Marco Polo by Mariage Frères [a black tea] that I ordered from The Cultured Cup in Dallas, Texas.  Marco Polo tea description:  Fragrances of Chinese and Tibetan flowers lend a uniquely velvety taste to this medium to full-bodies Chinese black tea with strawberry and floral [orchid] notes.  Marco Polo is the "Chanel No. 5" of tea and Mariage carefully guards the recipe which has never been successfully duplicated. The red fruit [strawberry] flavoring made it the perfect accompaniment for our strawberry cake.

It was a wonderful afternoon of study and fellowship.  When the ladies went home I got out my informative Mariage Frères book for some serious tea study.  There's so much to learn about... the Bible... tea... and so many other things.  Learning is lifelong process.

~ Chapter Two ~

Monday, August 13, 2018

"A Star-Studded Affair"

Today was the annual fundraiser tea for the Taylor Conservatory and Botanical Gardens.

It was a beautiful day with temperatures in the mid-80's and a nice breeze.  Perfect for an outdoor tea!

I was happy to see a sweet friend, Joanie, in the parking lot.  She had the misfortune of breaking her leg a few months ago, but you can't keep a good woman down.

Louise Doute, a Conservatory staff member and friend, greeted guests on the red carpet.  As always, she was classy and gracious.

Joanie with her beautiful granddaughter, Ashton.  You can't tell in the picture, but Joanie's top was filled with little gold, sparkly stars.

I don't own anything glitzy as you can see in the picture below - too much clothes for a Hollywood affair, but I don't own anything risqué either.  I was a good portrayal of Angela Lansbury who is matronly and usually well covered! ;-) 

Every lady who wore a hat or fascinator was given a raffle ticket, and one lucky lady received a prize when her ticket was drawn. 

The Red Carpet and Walk of Fame.  The committee covered every detail.

Pavillion where the tea was held.

The tea was catered by Victoria's Tea Salon.  That's Vicky O'Neil in the pink chef's jacket [below].

~ Tea Station ~

The tables were beautifully set in keeping with the theme.

~ Program ~

~ Silent Auction Items ~

~ Popcorn for the Afternoon's Activities ~

Jennifer and Linda dressed in their Hollywood glitz. 

~ Sandy and Barb donned their bling too.  ~

~ Sandy's fancy shoes that even lit up.  ~

~ Tea Savories ~
Turkey w/Basil Parmesan Mayo on Tomato Herb Wrap; Cucumber finger sandwich with Herb Cream Cheese on Italian; Roast Beef triangle w/Horseradish Sauce on Light Rye; and Cheddar Mango Chutney round on Oatnut bread.

~ Pineapple Cream Cheese Cream Scone with Lemon Curd and Devonshire Cream ~

~ Desserts ~
Chocolate Cupcakes with Ganache and Gold Stars; Lemon Crisp Cookie; and Cinnamon Raisin Bread Pudding Cups.

The two teas served were Berry White Tea and Raspberry Panache Black Tea.  As always the teas and food were delicious. 

~ The entertainment for the afternoon was by Taylor Dance. ~

They had a magician scheduled to come too, but he mysteriously disappeared [pun intended].  ;-)  Thank you Taylor Conservatory for a delightful afternoon!  Another theme tea well done.

Friday, August 10, 2018

Victorian Tea Parlor Closing Sale

When I read the list of weekend estate sales yesterday, Victorian Tea Parlor in Berkley, MI was among them.  The owner, Lillian Li, had two tearooms with the same name.  One was in Grosse Pointe Park on Charlevoix, and the other in Berkley on 12 Mile.  The Grosse Pointe Park location closed a few years back.  Lillian said after 20 years in the business she was ready to retire.

The sale was scheduled to open at 10:00 a.m. so my hubby and I drove over early and arrived at 9:00 a.m.  Lillian opened the door and let us in upon arrival.  I discovered this was actually the third weekend of the sale, but there was still LOTS of merchandise left, and Lillian was still unpacking boxes and totes from a storage unit.  She said the sale will run for two more weekends after this weekend.  Everything is 50% off.

There's two rooms at the back of the shop that I didn't photograph, as well as a section at the front of the store.  

What did I purchase?  A commemorative Tuscan bone china teacup of Queen Elizabeth's 1953 Coronation.  Half price $17.50.

~ Front ~

~ Back ~

~ Backstamp ~

A Royal Albert Old English Rose teacup.  My mother had this teacup, and it was always displayed on her round marble-top coffee table. I think she liked it because her middle name was Rose. When my granddaughter, Tiffany, visited her before she passed, my mother gave it to her.  I was happy for Tiffany to get such a lovely keepsake, and told myself if I ever saw one like it at a reasonable price I would get it for myself.   $18 half price was 'reasonable'.

A Royal Albert Lady Carlyle teacup.  I have a luncheon plate to go with it.  Half price $13.

A Royal Albert Sweet Violets.  Half price $8.

A Royal Patrician Shamrock Luncheon Plate.  Half price $4.

And a Hankie paper doll.  Half price $4.50.

It was worth the drive to Berkley.  For local readers the address is:  2737 Twelve Mile Rd.  I think they'll be open until 4:00 today and Saturday and Sunday.  For confirmation call 248-542-5253.