Well, y’all, the wedding’s over and my entire family is positively adrift…. what are we supposed to do now? The marriage of my niece was beyond beyond. It was Bollywood on steroids… saris, drums, lavish jewels and lots of regaetton. There were so many parties and two wedding ceremonies, first a Catholic ceremony at our family church and later a Hindu wedding at the Fort Lauderdale Historical Society down on the river. Both were magical.
The bride, Elizabeth, was beautiful! And the groom was dashing and so happy! Can one be any happier? Emotions were running high. I was so proud of myself in that I didn’t cry. I didn’t want to miss one second of anything because my eyes were filled with tears. And the music…oh, my word! All of Elizabeth’s favorites were played for the entrance procession including Bach’s Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring and the Arioso from Cantata 156. More favorites were played by the string quartet, namely Handel’s La Rejouissance and then, as the newly married couple strode, all smiles, down the aisle, the strains of the Arrival of the Queen of Sheba filled our magnificent church.
Look at that handsome man. Oh, the joy! Then on to the Hindu ceremony. Talk about crazy, gorgeous venue. As I mentioned the Hindu wedding was on the river, under huge, old Florida oaks with Spanish moss gently swaying in a delicious breeze, the trees providing much appreciated shade. The groom and groom’s men pulled up in a boat replete with drums on board and on land. All had on brilliant orange turbans and RayBans with their groom’s men outfits and cut quite the figures.
The bride’s family was to meet the groom and his family. My sister, Cynthia, the mother of the bride, fed Jinal, the groom, yoghurt and honey to refresh him after his long journey on the water from the Riverside Hotel to the Historical Society, a boat ride taking all of five minutes . With traditional drummers playing, this procession, the Baraat, signified the joy and excitement of Jinal and his family welcoming Elizabeth into their family. As the wedding party made their way to the to the flower draped altar, the mandap, ice-cold mango lassis in crystal flutes were served in the gazebo. It was just all too much fun! The priest had flown in from India and she explained everything in English as the blessings and vows were made. Elizabeth’s two cousins, James and Christopher, offered puffed rice to be put into the fire signifying the couple’s willingness to sacrifice all their worldly possessions because the most important thing in life for them is that they are together. I might not do too well with the puffed rice. Well, anyway, everything that didn’t move was draped with brilliant orchids, richly scented roses and monstera leaves. It took our breath away. We moved on to drinks and hor’s d’oeuvre while the bride and Indian guests changed, once again, into more elaborate outfits in which to dance the night away.
As the sun set, we sat down to the bride’s and groom’s speeches, thank you’s and first dance. We had a terrific DJ who introduced THE MOST FUN rapper who had been their classmate at HBS and had flown in from Singapore for the wedding. We were regaled with special dances, heartfelt toasts and, most importantly, our wonderful family was together under the stars for one, whole spectacular night.
I found myself so…. directionless the Tuesday after the wedding. Tired and feeling the heavy blanket of sadness, I decided to bake a cake. That always makes me feel better. This is what I came up with. It’s a super easy cake which, like so many pound cakes, is better the next day. If you’re not a fan of icing, a light dusting of confectioner’s sugar will dress the cake up nicely enough to serve to company. Without icing it freezes beautifully after having been carefully wrapped to avoid freezer burn. The recipe calls for soft wheat flour. Two brands which I prefer are first, White Lily and second, Martha White. If soft wheat is unavailable, cake flour is a fine substitute. Oh, and one more thing. When greasing and flouring your pan try to use shortening instead of butter as butter browns and burns more easily. Also, use your fingers to make certain every nook and cranny of your Bundt pan is covered with the shortening followed by a very light layer of flour.
Almond Pound Cake with Almond Cream Cheese Icing
- 2 cups soft wheat flour, plus extra to flour pan
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 8 tablespoons (one stick) butter, softened
- 1/4 cup shortening, plus extra to grease pan
- 1 1/3 cups sugar
- 4 eggs, room temperature
- 1 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup milk, I used almond milk because that’s all I ever have
- 4 ounces cream cheese
- 2 tablespoons butter, softened
- 6 tablespoons plus 3 teaspoons heavy cream
- 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
- 2 cups confectioner’s sugar
- pinch of salt
- sliced, toasted almonds for garnish
- Pre-heat oven to 350°.
- Flour a 10-inch Bundt pan with shortening and flour and set aside.
- In a medium size bowl sift flour and baking powder. Set aside.
- In a larger bowl, cream stick of butter and shortening until completely combined.
- Add sugar and mix thoroughly.
- Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each one.
- Add the almond and vanilla extracts to the milk.
- Add the flour mixture to the butter-egg mixture in thirds, alternating with the milk, beginning and ending with the flour. Mix just to combine. Do not over beat.
- Bake 50-55 minutes or until edges have pulled away from the pan and cake tester comes out clean.
- Cool pan on cooling rack for 20-30 minutes, remove cake from pan and continue to cool on rack. Cake must be completely cooled prior to icing.
- While the cake cools prepare the icing. In a medium size bowl cream cream cheese, butter and shortening with a hand mixer until completely combined.
- Add cream, almond extract and salt and mix well.
- Add confectioner’s sugar and beat until smooth.
- Cover completely cooled cake with icing and scatter toasted almonds over the icing.
- For an added treat serve each slice with a scoop of ice cream.