Pool Party Cake (Recipe)

By Libbie Summers
Assisted by David Dempsey

Three layers of delicious cake colored in an ombre of “country club” blues. Butter cream frosting, sides covered in Swim at Your Own Risk sprinkles, white gum balls and miniature pool floats. Quite possibly the most adorable, delicious and easy to decorate cake in all the land.

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Pool Party Cake
serves 20

What you need: 
2 cups cake flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla paste (can substitute extract)
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
Blue food coloring gel in three different colors (I used a turquoise, cornflower and royal)
Vanilla Buttercream Frosting (recipe to follow)
Swim at Your Own Risk Sprinkles
White gum balls or other white candy balls
Small pool float toys (I bought mine HERE)

What to do: 
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray three 9-inch cake pans with non-stick baking spray and set aside.
2. In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flours, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
3. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar. |
4. Add the eggs one at a time until fully incorporated.
5. Add flour mixture alternating with the milk JUST until smooth (don’t overbeat).
6. Stir in the extracts.
7. Divide mixture evenly between 3 bowls. Add a little of the different food colorings into one of each of the bowls (each bowl will only have one color in it). Stir until well mixed. Add additional food coloring as needed to achieve the color you like. I liked mine super saturated, so I added enough to achieve that.
8. Pour each color of batter into one of the prepared pans and bake until tester inserted in the cake comes out clean (about 20-25 minutes). Allow to cool before removing from pans.
9. Frost cooled cakes with Vanilla Buttercream Frosting and decorate with sprinkles on the side (watch video below for sprinkling the sides of a cake and final decorating), gumballs on the top and pool float miniatures floating on the sea of gumball bubbles!

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
yields about 5 cups

Ingredients:
2 cups (4 sticks) butter, room temperature
6 to 8 cups confectioner’s sugar, sifted
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vanilla paste (can sub vanilla extract)
4 to 8 tablespoons milk
copper colored food coloring (or any color you like!)

Directions:
In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until creamy. Reduce the speed to low and gradually add 6 cups of the confectioner’s sugar. Add the salt, vanilla paste and 4 tablespoons of milk. Beat for 2 minutes. If the frosting is too thin, add more of the sugar (1/2 a cup at a time). If the frosting is too thick, add more of the milk (1 tablespoon at a time). Stir in a little food coloring at a time until you get your desired color. Refrigerate the frosting for a few minutes before using.
*Vanilla sugar is sugar that has been with a vanilla bean in a jar for a few weeks imparting a mild vanilla flavor
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Watch the video here for easy decorating!

Lamb and Feta Burgers with Sweet Pea Mint Sauce

By Libbie Summers
Photography by Chia Chong
Wine Pairing by @grapefriend

A burger that celebrates Spring!
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Lamb and Feta Burgers (sweet pea mint sauce)
serves 4

What you need:
1 pound ground lamb
4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
½ teaspoon cumin
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
4 Sandwich buns, split
Sweet Pea and Mint Sauce (recipe to follow)
2 tomatoes sliced

What to do:
Heat grill to medium high heat.

In a large mixing bowl use your hands to mix together the lamb, feta, cumin, parsley, salt and pepper. Form mixture into 4 equal size patties and allow to rest while grill is heating up. Brush grill with the vegetable oil and grill burgers 4 to 5 minutes per side. Remove from heat and allow to rest while making the Sweet Pea and Mint Sauce.

To Assemble. Place one burger on each bun and top with a dollop of Sweet Pea and Mint Sauce and top with tomato slices. Serve immediately.

Sweet Pea and Mint Sauce
makes about 1 cup

What you need:
1 cup sugar snap peas, shelled and blanched
1 tablespoon chopped mint leaves
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
salt and pepper

What to do:
Add the peas and mint to the bowl of a food processor or blender and pulse until just smooth. With the motor running, add the vegetable oil until combined. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve with Lamb and Feta Burgers.
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Wine Pairing:  You’ve gotta go red with the lamb, but nothing too, too huge. In a Bordeaux, the predominant grapes are Cabernet and Merlot. The bigger and bolder tannins in Cabernet are balanced out with the softer, lusher Merlot. Think Tom Brady’s brawn with Gisele’s curves. So any Cab-Merlot blend (Bordeaux or not) will be great. Some Cabs even have a little minty, menthol element which will be perfect with the peas.

 

DIY: A Parade Ready Bicycle! (VIDEO)

By Libbie Summers
Assisted by David Dempsey

Did someone say parade?

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