How would you bake a cake if you didn’t have an oven?
Better question: What would you do if, knowing you were missing an oven, had lined up a Plan B, but the Plan B didn’t work out, you were EXHAUSTED from being at Camp Blogaway, you still had a dinner party to attend, and a bridal shower office luncheon cake was due the following morning?
You’d tweet a cry for help.
And if you were Nancy of www.acommunaltable.com, you’d be the first to employ the Camp motto of “community” and come to the rescue.
One big take-away from my weekend at Camp is that there is no substitute for old-school networking.
It’s one thing to be a community of bloggers who share a common love for eating food, talking about food, writing about food, and photographing food. It’s an entirely different experience when you all show up at the same place at the same time, so close you can see up your new friend’s nostrils or spill water on their dinner. I’ll spare you the details about snoring so loud the cabin is almost evacuated.
No amount of Stumbling, Tweeting, or Facebooking can replace the real-life fireside chats, bonding, and mentorship that happen when you get the opportunity to spend an entire weekend with someone. Now imagine multiplying that for about ninety someones. While the formal sessions were incredibly informative, and evening enlightening, (screw you, SEO!), for me, it was meeting other campers (including staffers and speakers) during meal breaks and moonlight hours that really gave me value. Bree spent an entire hour teaching me about photography. Cheryl encouraged me to find my voice. Amee let me borrow her fondant (because I was late to the table). And Heather piqued my interest in crochet.
It was about mid-way through the Camp itinerary that I realized I was actually part of a “community.” And I was overcome with a feeling of gratitude. Over the last year, I’ve been fortunate enough to befriend many people in the room. People who have opened up their homes to me… people I’ve opened up my own home to, people I’ve met for coffee on a Tuesday afternoon, and people I’ve (now) spent a night in a cabin with.
So at 8:30 PM on Sunday evening, having just said good-bye to Nancy at Camp just hours earlier, we were reunited in her kitchen with a bottle of Chardonnay. We traded Camp stories, recapped our lessons, and within a couple of hours, baked four layers of chocolate cake.
Nancy, you are my hero. Thank you for being such a great friend.
Happy Friday, friends!
- Use the smallest saucepan you have to make the syrup; otherwise, the bottom of your candy thermometer won’t reach the syrup to measure its temperature.
- If you have a scale, use it to measure your dry ingredients.
- Use espresso in place of water to create syrup.
Italian Buttercream Frosting
~ Frosts 1 Double-Layer 8” Square or Round Cake ~
- 3 sticks (1 ½ cups) unsalted butter
- 6 tablespoons water
- 151 g (¾ cup) sugar
- 3 large egg whites
- ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
~ Preparation ~
Preparation Time: 30 minutes
- Cut butter into pieces and soften to cool room temperature.
- In a 1 ½ quart heavy saucepan, bring water and sugar to a boil, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Boil syrup, without stirring, until a candy thermometer registers 248˚F.
- While syrup is boiling, in a bowl with an electric mixer, beat whites with a pinch of salt until foamy and beat in cream of tartar. Beat whites until they just hold stiff peaks and beat in hot syrup in a stream (try to avoid pouring onto beaters and side of bowl). Beat mixture at medium speed until completely cool, 5 to 10 minutes. Beat in butter, 1 piece at a time, beating until mixture is thickened and smooth. (Buttercream will at first appear very thin and at some point look like it is breaking, but, as more butter is beaten in, it will thicken and become glossy and smooth.) (Buttercream may be made 2 days ahead and chilled in an airtight container. Bring Buttercream to room temperature and beat before using.) (If Buttercream is too cold when beaten it will not be glossy and smooth.)
Nutrition content per batch: 3,686 calories, 208g carbs, 17g protein, 319g fat, 0g fiber
Cost per serving: $9.16