Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Italian Cream Cake ... and an awesome dad

In the minutes before my husband and I were married, my dad and I were hanging out in the basement of our home church - a vintage, little "white church in the valley" sort of place that had been the sight of his own wedding some three-plus decades before.

"I brought this with me," he said, reaching into his pocket and hauling out a white handkerchief. Since I was worried about tripping over my own feet and thankful that I was fitting into my wedding dress, I spared him the withering glance that I had reserved for my family members who were on the verge of tears.  But then he flipped it around and showed me the initial that was embroidered onto the fabric - a large "E" that stood for my late grandpa's last name. 

"Oh dad," I said.  "That is so sweet."  And it was ... this wasn't even his father's handkerchief he was holding, it was my grandpa Stan's - my father's father-in-law.  A huge absence in the group of loved ones that were gathered up above, waiting for the bridesmaids to hustle down the aisle and the appearance of my father and I at the back of the church.

All of the sudden it hit me - although I didn't plan on tearing up, I should likely be prepared in the event that common sense left me and I found myself weeping like a little kid.  I gave dad a panicked look and he sprung into action - bringing me back a paper towel.  I had to grin - we didn't truck with no Kleenex in my family - paper towels, toilet paper and real handkerchiefs were the snot rags of choice.

"I'm ready," I said.  The following is one of my favorite pictures from the day ... my friend Weaver snapped it as my dad and I were waiting to ascend the stairs.



How do you honor an awesome man?  You make him cake.  And not just the kind where you crack open a box of Duncan Hines and faux your way to a good looking cake (although I do have a yen for a good marble cake with the canned chocolate frosting.  It's childhood and comfort food wrapped into a single package.)  So I made the Pioneer Woman's Italian Cream Cake.  And no alterations were needed - I made the recipe as-is and uff da ... it was good.  For Father's Day I made a layer cake, so I could be cool and impressive, but I made this before for a group of co-workers and put it in a regular 9 x 13 cake pan.  I just adjusted the baking time to cook it longer.
This picture is straight off the camera and not really a great example of food photography.  Not that I care too much ... cake is made to be consumed!
I hope that all the fathers I know out there had a wonderful day.  And as for my dad?  There's no one like him in the universe and I'm very glad that he is my dad.

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