Betty from Allouez, WI (2017 Week 6: Botanical)




Allouez, WI

Baking Challenge

3-Tiered Floral Cake

Give your botanical creation a clever name – and tell us about your recipe.

Rosy Raspberry Gold and Silver Cake (one tier of a potential 3-tiered cake). The 1896/1901 Presidential Cook Book suggests a silver cake using 6 egg whites and a gold cake using 6 egg yolks so I decided to make a layer of each and halved the recipes. For the botanical part, I used rosewater that I had distilled myself back in June when the wild rose bushes were blooming profusely. Not only did I get distilled clear rosewater, I also saved the pinker extract from the waters the petals had simmered in. The rosewater and extract are the sole flavorings in the cake. There is a filling between the layers of farmhouse made raspberry jam and a meringue like frosting of egg white, powdered sugar and rosewater.

Any disasters? Did you take any risks? Proudest moment? Lessons learned the hard way? Tell us about it.

It was a hot summer’s day in July of 1905 … with the wood stove burning for the bake. While the cake layers were cooling, I went hunting for rose blossoms. I did find some late forming buds and blooms on the wild rose bushes and although a bit ragged from age and bug nibbles, I decided they would at least give a show of botanical color. Disaster then struck as I put the cake together. I spread the raspberry jam on the gold layer as a filling and covered that with the frosting. When I laid the silver layer on top … Sqwoosh! Out it came, jam and all. The filling was not thick enough to hold up to the weight of the top layer. Long story short, I cleaned up the mess, thickened the frosting, re-stacked the layers and used up all the rest of the frosting over it all, at this point thinking – if it is going to droop down the sides from up here, all the better to hide the messy under layer. A few botanical embellishments … and done – for better or worse. In 1905, we have no air conditioner, no refrigerator. Had I thought to get ice from the ice house or set my eggs and mixing bowl to cool down in the cellar on the cistern for a bit, perhaps all would have gone better. And then there is the issue of how much, exactly, is a small teacupful of powdered sugar allowed for one egg white?

How did you add a Wisconsin twist to your flavors or decoration?

Wisconsin grown wild rose blossoms – petals for rosewater flavoring and buds and flowers for decoration; Wisconsin grown raspberries; and Wisconsin fresh laid eggs from our Wisconsin Heritage Hill State Park Belgian Farm

How did you do?

Feeling humbled.