Monday, May 27, 2013

Princess Cake for the ER

Korena of Korena in the Kitchen was our May Daring Bakers’ host and she delighted us with this beautiful Swedish Prinsesst√•rta! 

This was one of those challenges that I wasn't sure if I'd have enough time to make.  However, David was working in the ER the first weekend and I found out they were bringing food one, I made this that weekend.  K helped with the cake and kept asking if she was going to eat "birthday cake."  don't you know...ALL cakes are birthday cakes!  :-) 
I decided to go simple and just make a quick fondant instead of marzipan (not a big fan anyway!).  K had to taste every color because obviously the different colors taste different.  I make the logo of our hospital for the decoration and it was a hit in the ER.  They ate half overnight and I took the other half to the lounge the next day.  It was gone by the time I went home.  I'd say people liked it!

Vanilla Custard

1 cup (240ml) heavy cream, divided
4 egg yolks from large eggs
2 tablespoons (30 ml) (15 gm) (½ oz) cornstarch
2 tablespoons (30 ml) (30 gm) (1 oz) granulated white sugar
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped (or 2 teaspoons (10 ml) vanilla extract)
1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the cornstarch, sugar, and egg yolks. Gradually whisk in ½ cup (120 ml) of heavy cream until smooth. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan over medium heat until just boiling. Slowly whisk the hot cream into the bowl with the egg mixture to temper the eggs.
2. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and cook over medium-low heat, whisking constantly, until it becomes thick like pudding and just comes to a boil. The mixture must hit a boil for the cornstarch to properly thicken the custard, and also to cook out any starchy taste. If it starts to look curdled or lumpy, remove it from the heat and whisk vigorously until smooth, then return to the heat. As soon as it comes to a boil, remove it from the heat. If using vanilla extract, add it now.
(If desired, pass the custard through a fine mesh sieve before continuing.)
3. Pour the custard into a clean bowl and press a piece of plastic wrap directly onto the surface to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until completely cold. Can be prepared a day ahead and kept in the refrigerator.

Sponge Cake

Fine dry breadcrumbs for the pan (such as crushed panko)
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup (240 ml) (225 gm) (8 oz) granulated white sugar
½ cup (120 ml) (70 gm) (2½ oz) all-purpose (plain) flour
½ cup (120 ml) (65 gm) (2¼ oz) potato starch (or cornstarch)
1 teaspoon (5 ml) (5 gm) baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1. Preheat the oven to moderate 350°F/180°C/gas mark 4 with a rack in the lower third of the oven. Thoroughly butter a 9” (23 cm) round springform pan, line the bottom with a circle of parchment paper, then butter the paper. Dust the buttered pan with enough breadcrumbs to coat the bottom and sides, just like flouring a cake pan. Set aside.
2. Place the eggs and granulated white sugar in a mixing bowl and beat on medium-high speed with an electric mixer or stand mixer with whisk attachment until the eggs are tripled in volume and very light coloured and fluffy, about 5 minutes. The mixture should fall from the beaters in thick ribbons. Don’t overbeat the eggs – once they form thick ribbons and stop growing in volume, stop beating.
3. Sift the all-purpose (plain) flour, potato starch, baking powder, and salt into a bowl, then sift the flour mixture over the whipped eggs. With a balloon whisk, fold the flour into the eggs until blended, keeping as much air in the batter as possible. Use large, gentle yet confident strokes, bringing batter from the bottom of the bowl to the top. Once mixed, the batter should be quite thick and smooth.
4. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, spread it out evenly, and bake in the lower third of the preheated moderate 350°F/180°C/gas mark 4 oven for about 40 minutes or until golden brown on top, springy to the touch, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs sticking to it. Let the cake cool in the pan for a few minutes then run a knife around the edge and remove the sides of the springform pan. Don’t worry if it sinks a bit in the middle. Invert the cake onto a cooling rack and peel off the parchment paper. If the cake is lopsided, press gently to make it level, then allow it to cool completely before continuing. The cake can be made a day ahead and stored, well-wrapped in plastic, at a cool room temperature.

Prinsesstårta Assembly

2 cups (480 ml) heavy cream, chilled
granulated white sugar, to taste (scant 1 tablespoon is plenty)
Sponge Cake, cooled
1/3 cup (80 ml) seedless raspberry jam (or regular jam pressed through a sieve to remove seeds)
Vanilla Custard, chilled
Marzipan Covering and Rose
Icing sugar, for rolling and dusting
Optional: melted chocolate, royal icing, or piping gel
1. In a large bowl, whip the heavy cream until soft peaks form. Add sugar to taste (keep in mind that the rest of the cake components are sweet, so the whipped cream should be very lightly sweetened at most) and continue whipping the cream until stiff. You want it to be sturdy enough to provide structure to the cake, but not over-whipped enough to make butter. Set the whipped cream aside.
2. With a long serrated knife, slice the sponge cake into three even layers. This cake is very delicate, so do this as carefully as possible. Use a gentle sawing motion to move the knife through the cake instead of trying to pull it through the cake. Use a spatula to help you lift off each layer after you cut it. Set aside the middle layer – this will become the top layer of the assembled cake as it is the most flexible and therefore easiest to bend into a dome over the whipped cream.
3. Place one of remaining layers on a cake board or serving platter and spread it evenly with the raspberry jam. Spread or pipe half the chilled custard over the jam in an even layer, leaving enough room around the edges so that it doesn’t spill over the sides of the cake.
4. Top the custard with another layer of cake. Spread or pipe the remaining custard evenly over it, again leaving some room around the edges.
5. Reserve ½ cup (120 ml) of the stiffly whipped cream. Pile the rest into a mound on top of the custard. Spread it into a thick layer with a thin, flexible spatula or off-set spatula, then hold the spatula at an angle to shape the whipped cream into a dome, piling it up in the middle of the cake as much as possible. 
6. Place the final layer of sponge cake (the one cut from the middle of the cake) on top of the whipped cream. Do not press on the top of the cake – instead, gently tuck the edges of the cake layer into the whipped cream, so that they are flush with the cream. This will create a smooth, seamless dome on top of the cake.
7. Gently spread the reserved ½ cup (120 ml) of whipped cream over the entire cake to fill in any cracks and even out the surface. If necessary, refrigerate the cake to firm it up before continuing.
8. Use the rolling pin to drape the rolled-out marzipan or fondant sheet over the cake and smooth it around the cake gently with your hands. If it seems like it wants to fold or buckle around the cake, gently lift and stretch it away from the cake with one hand while smoothing it down with the other. 


Friday, May 24, 2013

The Guys

Now, obviously, I didn't pick out the groomsmen...David did...but I know them all!  What a great bunch of groomsmen to stand by and support us as we start our life together.  (Such a cool picture!)
My dad tried to join in but I think he's just crashing the party!  ;-)  Just kidding!
First up is Michael...
Interestingly enough, Michael and I grew up at church together, did debate together, were friends in med school.  We taught Sunday School together and were in a SS class together.  He went on his first missions trip with my dad...and now wants to do medical missions.  He and David are in the same training program at the med center, doing med-peds...David is a year ahead.  Michael was actually his M4 on his first wards team (along with another groomsman as the lead resident).  So, he has been a part of both mine and David's life.  So glad he was able to be a part of our day!
Next is Andrew.  Andrew is in David's same year in med-peds.  He was the first person that David remembered from orientation for residency.  David says that they just got along and commiserated about the difficulties of residency.  From my standpoint, he's just a fun, down to earth guy and will be staying to work here next year...and likely with David in the future.  He and his wife have been so helpful.  I'd love to do things with them...double dates, maybe?!
And now Kevin...what to say about Kevin?  Well, Kevin was David's first pediatric upper level (with Michael as the M4, remember?) and is also a med-peds guy.  David says that Kevin made him realize that the med-peds folks take things seriously and work hard...but have fun, too!  I mean....he is going to Montana to work so that he can hike and enjoy the view in his spare time. I worked with him several times in the PICU which made that overnight shift much better. 
The last of the med-peds guys is Zeb.  Zeb has been one of David's attendings during residency.  He and his wife, Anna, have been so helpful with K.  David would take her to their house when he had to be at the hospital before daycare opened or overnight.  Anna just took her on as one of their children.  K loves "Miss Anna" and "Mr. Dr. Zeb!"  And we love them, too!  I think Zeb and Anna were the first ones to realize something was going on between me and David.  They started praying for us before we were even "official."  What a blessing from God to have friends like they!
This is Philip, my little brother.  He's really grown up and become such a neat guy!  I love watching him working on cars, with Kenna, with K, and more.  Who would have thought my little brother would grow up and be so handsome, kind, smart, and fun!  He and Kenna just bought their first house...near the beach, too!  Hmmm...I smell a trip coming. 
And last but not least is David's dad, Jim...his best man!  Jim is not a man of many words but he is a quiet leader.  For that David and I are both thankful!  He has worked hard and now he is enjoying being a granddaddy to Kate.  Tinkerbell, tea parties, painted toe nails...he'll do it all!  I can't wait for him to have more grandchildren.  :-)
What a great group of guys!
Especially this one!  :-)

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The Girls

When David asked me to marry him, I already knew who I'd ask to be my bridesmaids.  Right after college, I wondered who I would ask.  They say you leave college with your lifelong friends but most of my friends came from childhood.  In fact, half of my bridesmaids were childhood friends!

 Robby did a great job showcasing all of my girls' beauty as well as the gorgeous flowers by Wendy.  We ended up with a great day outside, so we took some pics in front of the church.
 Now, allow me to introduce you to my bridesmaids.
 Jennifer if one of my childhood friends.  We grew up in church and school together.  We were ballet friends - she took, I think, a year (or two) longer than I did but we both LOVED it!  Maybe K and E will both love ballet, too!  She was the first of my friends to get married and I was able to be a bridesmaid and sing in her wedding...I even caught her bouquet (the first of THREE mind you!).  So glad she could be a part of my wedding...with baby number TWO growing inside!  :-)
 This is Stephanie, David's sister.  We haven't gotten to spend that much time together just due to schedules and distance but I am so blessed to call her my sister-in-law.  She is a children's minister and you can tell that she loves what she does and is great at it!  She loves K and is always doing things to encourage her.  I hope that we will have more nieces and nephews to add to the mix so they can love Aunt Stephanie, too!
 And again, my sister-in-law (married my brother), Kenna!  She has worked so hard to be a great P.A. but has always maintained her sweet spirit.  She helped make some of the reception decorations and did my hair...all on short notice and without complaining.  Funny story - Kenna's brother was in my class at school.  We had study hall together, and he and this other guy called me "val" because they were sure that I'd be class valedictorian.  At that time, Philip and Kenna weren't even close to clue they would be!  :-)  I'm so thankful for God blessing Philip with such a kind, patient, and generous wife...and glad she is part of our family now!
 This is Sarah, my matron of honor.  She and I met in medical school and did our pediatric training together.  We sat on opposite sides of the room first year but both did a summer program in the peds clinic after that we were FORCED to spend time together.  After that, we working in the Pediatric Interest Group together and were fast friends!  We tried to do as many rotations together as possible third year and Sarah worked hard to keep me at UMC for residency...promising we'd find me "a hot resident to marry." worked!  I stayed...and found a hot resident to marry.  ;-)  We've been through a lot together in 8 years (really? wow!) and I am so thankful for her. 
 This is Sarah, my "oldest" friend.  We have been friends for as long as we can remember...forced together because our mothers were friends.  But how glad I am that we were.  Sarah is the kind of friend that I don't see much (she lives in CA) but whenever we DO get to see each other, it's like we haven't been apart; we pick up right where we left off.  She is a pediatric nurse and spend some time in Africa at an orphanage, which is where she actually met her husband!  It was such fun to be a part of their wedding...and to have her be a part of mine.  They are moving closer next year but not quite close enough.  Guess we'll have to take a road trip to visit.
And last but not least is Katie.  Katie and I haven't always exactly been friendly with each other.  We've known each other since Brownies...but we did NOT like each other.  In fact, in any scout picture, I'm on one end and she is on the other.  I thought she was loud and annoying (which was true) and she thought I was a goody-goody (which was true!).  Then came the day when she and Jennifer became good friends.  Being that Jenn and I were friends, Katie and I were basically FORCED to be friends...but it worked!  I was in her wedding and now she's been in mine!  She and her husband are such fun.  Thankfully, they live nearby, so we can hang out...if things would ever slow down!
I am so blessed to have each of these girls in my life and so thankful that they would honor me and David by supporting us on our wedding day. I am thankful to know that they will be the kind of friends to hold me and David accountable.  Can't wait to spend more time with them!

Sunday, May 05, 2013

A Quick Recipe Break

I'm having fun reliving our wedding day through the wedding posts, but I thought I'd give you a little break with a recipe. 
As has been established, K loves making things.  I realized this past weekend her entire motivation (well, maybe not ENTIRE but a big one).  We were making something and all that had been done was whipping some eggs and sugar.  I pulled out a spatula to be sure everything was off the bowl before adding more stuff and she says "Can I lick something?"  Good grief!  Anyway, a few weeks ago we made some M&M cookies (the ones that led her to ask for more "emmie m" cookies when we made peanut butter cookies.  I found this recipe on Picky Palate and know that any recipe with pudding in it is great!  It did not disappoint...except that my cookies didn't look nearly as good as hers. Maybe it was due to the fact that we used regular sized M&M's rather than mini.  Who knows!  Alas!  They are good....give them a try!

Perfect M&M Cookies from Picky Palate
  • 1 stick/1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose Gold Medal Flour
  • 3 tablespoons Instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 cup chocolate chips
  • 1-1 1/2 cups M and M’s
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. and line a large baking sheet with a silpat liner or parchment paper.
  2. In a large mixing bowl cream your butter and sugars until well combined. Add your egg and vanilla mixing to combine. Add your flour, pudding mix, baking soda and salt, stirring to combine. Add chips and m and m’s stirring to combine.
  3. With a medium cookie scoop, place dough 1 inch apart from each other. Bake for 10-12 minutes until cooked through. Let cool on cookie sheet for 10 minutes before transferring to cooling rack. Enjoy!

Saturday, May 04, 2013


David and I are so blessed to have great support from our families.  His family has been a big part in helping with K so that he could stay and finish his residency here.  We're excited to put our families together and make our own little family!  For some reason, K was not having it when we took these pics but she got better.
The whole Gilliam family!  We were sad that David's cousins couldn't make it but it was too far...hope we'll see them soon!
This is David's Grandma Carrier or Nana to K (I tend to say Nana, too).  K adores her "Nana banana" and we are so thankful for her sweet and giving spirit!
This is GG and GP, David's dad's parents.  I love watching them together.  So precious!  GG spent some time with us over Thanksgiving and GP was so sweet to encourage us to always make God first...the KEY to a successful marriage!
David's sister, Stephanie, is great!  She loves K so much and K loves her - sending her cards, getting her (traditionally) Twinkle-toes, writing down things they've done for K, making cupcakes, and having sleepovers at her apartment.  So blessed to have her as my sister-in-law!
This is us with our parents.  The joining of two great families!  We are both so blessed to have parents who have made the choice to stay true to the covenant of marriage that they made and to make God a prominent part of their relationship!  They have all been a great example to me and David and truly generous in their giving to us in all ways.
This is my side of the family.  My parents and Philip with Kenna, his wife.  We're a little family but we love each other and have fun together!

I was so excited that many of my family members were able to come.  None of my grandparents are living anymore but we still love getting together with my parents siblings and their families.  First up is my dad's family.  There are still several people missing but a nice big group.
Now Mama's family.  Again, several people missing but so thankful for those who could come (and those who couldn't).
This is brother.  He's turned into quite the handsome, smart, hard-working, fun, kind, and giving young man.  I am so proud of him and can't wait to watch him and his own family.
We are both so thankful for all of our families and are looking forward to our own.  God chose to bless me by including K with David, and I am so excited to be her Mama and can't wait to add to our family.  But one thing I am so thankful for is David and his desire to lead our family in God's will. We pray that God will use us for His glory and continue to grow our family in Him.

Friday, May 03, 2013

The First Look and Us

So, after Daddy saw me it was off for my love's first look!  Yes, we saw each other before the wedding.  I think it was super special and made everything less stressful.  Can I just say, even seeing each other before, when I saw David at the end of the aisle it was still exciting.  Once again, Robby did a fantastic job!
I love this series...first a look of anxiety, then a smile (he can hear me coming)
then I'm there,
and then the first look!
I was so excited...and wanted a kiss...'s probably illegal...but we kissed anyway!
:-)  Then there was more dress checking
...and sweet nothings!
Then Robby went to work on some outdoor portraits (there are more coming at our reception venue!)
Then it was inside for pictures with the wedding party and our families!  The beginning of a perfect day!

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Getting Ready

Almost two months ago, David and I got married.  How can it have been that long ago?!!  I did a few posts about the day a few (yes, a few!) posts about the wedding.  First off, I want to give credit for the photographs to my WONDERFUL photographer Robby Followell of Followell Fotography.  He is great at capturing the day...the whole thing.  However, he not only takes pictures, he gets to know you, makes everything personal.  FANTASTIC!  I highly recommend him (and his great wife, Jess!). Check out some of his other work here...if you look far enough, you'll see the post about our wedding along with some engagement shots, too.  :-)

After the rehearsal dinner, I went back to my apartment.  I had kicked my parents out for the night so I could just relax and have one last sleep by myself.  I slept be expected.  Then got up the next morning and actually sent out an e-mail to work (got fussed at by my co-workers for that but it really only took 5 seconds!).  After that I just relaxed until time to go to the church to get ready.  I was the second to arrive, Mama was first.  Then we went in and got busy!  I started with my make-up...even putting eyeliner on my bottom lids.  :-)
In the meantime, Sarah and Sarah were steaming my dress and veil.  The dress was new, the veil was the under portion of Mama's veil when she and Daddy got married. (something new, something old (one of them)
Then Kenna, my brother's wife, started on my hair.  I didn't really want to go to a salon to have my hair done...just not me.  So, I found some styles that I liked on Pinterest, did some trials at home and picked one.  Then Kenna did it...for the first time that day!  It looked perfect!
In the meantime, the guys were busy getting ready, too!  Working on buttons, cufflinks, and putting vests and bowties on!
Once Kenna finished my hair, it was time to put on THE dress!  This was the dress that I had been eying since David and I started talking about getting married....but I was convinced it wouldn't look good. was the one!  I knew it when I put it on. did have lots of buttons!
Patiently waiting for buttons to be buttoned.  :-)  Love this pic.  It shows my first ring from David and my last ring from my Daddy.
A few more finishing touches!  The garter...that mama made (something blue)
Shoes (that were SO hard to find!  Everything was true ivory rather than I went silverish) and blue toes
And a pearl bracelet that is Mama's (something borrowed)
The finished picture?  Just after mama put on the veil. She likes...I like...
Then Daddy came to see.  I must admit...I cried!  Thankfully, no one got a picture of it from the front (I can't pretty cry!).  Daddy likes! see my groom.  Sooooo excited!
Will he like?