It’s been a full week since my last post, which was not at all the schedule I had set for myself. But here we are. This was a really full week for me, including a number of new experiences. I saw and did some really wonderful things on Saturday in particular.
Saturday started with Zumba, which put the music in me for the day. Great start. Early afternoon, I went to the Passport DC Around the World embassy tour. It’s an annual event where more than 40 embassies, this year for nations from Afghanistan to Venezuela, open their doors to the public. The embassies show off their buildings, generally beautifully-appointed old buildings in and around Dupont Circle, and showcase their culture through exhibits, live performances, food and the like.
I met up with my friend Nanda and her friend Lauren, and we went to the embassies of Colombia and Indonesia. Both were gorgeous. The Colombian embassy had huge vases of roses all over, fresh because they fly in fresh roses from Colombia every week! And they gave out lots of freebies, including Colombian coffee samples and bottles of mango juice. The Indonesians were basically having a dance party in the house! It was lively and festive in their embassy, and the house was so beautiful.
I’ll definitely attend again next year. I heard great things about the Saudi Arabian open house, so that’s high on my list for the future. Next Saturday is the European Union Open House, which I attended last year but I spent all my time at the joint French-German open house on Germany’s expansive grounds. I hope I can make it out this year!
On my drive home from Dupont, I stopped by the annual Flower Mart at the National Cathedral. It was a large outdoor fair with various vendors, including many plant sellers. There was a flower show in the nave but it closed before I got there 😦 However, I’m still glad I went. I made some really good secondhand buys and just generally enjoyed my time. Two thumbs up for Flower Mart.
I was left feeling very appreciative to live in the DC area. This city has so much to offer, and I love that I can access the embassies, the National Cathedral, so many monuments and museums, and the more “unofficial” sources of culture (and multiculturalism) all around the city like quality restaurants, theater, the schools and universities, and more. Basically, I love my city!
I also did some exciting new baking this week. First, I made a Tres Leches cake for Cinco de Mayo. It was a huge success! It was my first time making tres leches and I am patting myself on the back for that great first cake. Mmmmm.
For Mother’s Day, I kept the cake simple with a yellow cake mix but I made an amazingly delicious buttercream frosting for it, and I got creative with my decorating. Mom loves puzzles, so I made a jigsaw puzzle-themed cake. I haven’t done much fondant work lately, and I’ve never made a cake like that. The presentation could use a little work, but it was very tasty. I hope she enjoyed it! We had a lovely Mother’s Day lunch, which included looking at an old photo album which had a picture of a handmade Mother’s Day card I gave her like 25 years ago. Some things never change!
Because I loved the buttercream in my Mother’s Day cake so much, I’m sharing that recipe this week. This simple buttercream will work with just about anything, even your box cakes. I tend to like cake mixes, but the frosting in a can cannot compare to a good homemade frosting. This buttercream frosting will be a nice touch on top of your next dessert. I’m a huge fan of Georgetown Cupcake and I’m boldly going to state that my buttercream is just as good as theirs. Really! Check the recipe below.
Recipe: Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
- 1 cup (2 sticks) of butter, unsalted
- 3 cups of confectioner’s sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 tablespoon heavy whipping cream
Directions: Let butter soften. In stand mixer, mix together softened butter and confectioner’s sugar. Start on lowest speed to incorporate the sugar into the butter (so sugar doesn’t fly everywhere), but after a minute or so increase speed to medium-high. Let mix for approx. 3 minutes. Mix in the vanilla and cream.
This creates a nice consistency for icing cakes and cupcakes. For detailed decorations like buttercream roses, you’ll need to add more confectioner’s sugar to get a stiffer consistency. If you desire a thinner consistency, mix in cream or water, 1/2 Tablespoon at a time, until you reach desired consistency.