My grandma (who has Alzheimer's and lives with us) is 88 years old. She has a sister, Helen, who is 89 years old. They have always been the closest of sisters, even though for the past 48 years, Helen has lived in Arizona. My grandma used to spend several months of the year in Arizona with her sister, but hasn't been out there for about three years. It had become clear within the last year that she would not be traveling out there, definitely not alone, and even if I took her, I think it may have been stressful and disorienting. Helen's husband had been chronically ill and she was unable to travel here. I was worried these sisters would never see each other again.
Earlier this year, Helen's husband passed away, and just last week, Helen came back here. For good! She is moving back here. She has been to see my grandma every day and I am soooooo happy to see them together again. Of course, I had to have a party so all the family members could get together and see welcome Helen back. Of course, I had to make a cake to celebrate. I was thrilled that this week's Tuesdays With Dorie recipe was The Perfect Party cake, chosen by Carol of mix, mix...stir, stir.
I baked my cake Saturday and figured I would fill, frost, and assemble it Sunday morning. One of my layers turned out really lopsided though. I wanted it to be perfect. (No pressure from the name of the recipe, right?) Sunday morning, I decided to bake another one. Both layers turned out perfect. I decided to shave the lopsided part off the one cake and use the rest. Seven cake layers would make a spectacular cake. I also had some lime curd needing to be used, so I alternated the layers with blackberry preserves and lime curd.
I hadn't actually started frosting the cake when my guests started arriving. One uncle brought his own cooler of Budweiser he started drinking out of. (He actually does this every time he comes to my house, regardless of whether there is a party going on.) Another uncle put some Moosehead beer in the refrigerator and offered me one. I accepted and drank a Moosehead while I was beating the buttercream with a hand mixer. Yes, it takes that long to make this buttercream. I started feeling a little tipsy and commented to my husband that it must be strong beer. He asked what I had eaten so far that day, and I realized I had only had about 8 cups of coffee.
I put wax paper strips down on the plate, got another beer, and proceeded to assemble/ fill/ frost the cake. I would bet that spreading buttercream over jam and/or lime curd is not easy sober. It was sloppy fun being a little tipsy and I finally got all seven layers stacked. When I pulled the wax paper from underneath on one side, part of the bottom layer came with it, so my cake ended up lopsided after all!
We had a great time visiting and catching up. Someone else bought some Heineken and some Miller Chill, and my cousin kept offering me some Jack Daniels from a bottle he was pulling from his pocket. I declined the Jack, but someone headed out for more beer. We finally cut the cake and it was delicious. Cousin J decided to stabilize it with a knife.
That worked for that side, but part of the cake ended up on the stove, and for some reason, that seemed really hysterical to everyone and we laughed and laughed. And had more cake of course! And beer of course!
For some reason, these pictures are fuzzy and unclear. I thought it was just my perspective at the time, but I guess I am about as good at drunken photography as I am drunken frosting. I loved this cake and loved having the family together laughing and eating and reconnecting.
16 hours ago