First, a victory in the garden! I hadn’t been in my vintage garden for four days, so I went out last night to check it and look what I found!
Now, for the good stuff. I am SO EXCITED because the girls and I are headed to Louisville tomorrow for the Jane Austen festival! This is our third visit to the event, which has become a summer highlight for us.
It’s a great mother-daughter bonding day. We dress up in our Regency clothes, act elegant and refined, shop, enjoy good food and tea, and learn new things about the era. It’s such a beautiful day-the clothes, the manners, the food- and it’s always a great way to make history come to life your kids. I always make a point to tell my girls about the hardships the women of this era faced. It wasn’t all tea times and piano playing and bonnet-wearing. These ladies had to depend on men for their financial security. They faced life-threatening danger in childbirth. They endured the hardships of poverty and disease. This is why Jane Austen is so incredible-she was among the first women to make her own money writing novels and she created believable, flawed characters who found themselves in all kinds of desperate situations, but who persevered.
One of the big improvements the girls and I are making on our trip this year is lunch! I received a picnic basket for my birthday and I’m putting it to use. I’ll be packing us an authentic Regency-era picnic-cold meat and cheese, biscuits and jam, berries, some root vegetables from the garden, and a cake! Specifically, this wonderfully delicious and easy cake which I found in Cooking with Jane Austen and Friends by Laura Boyle.
This cake is easy to mix in modern times (thank you Kitchen Aid mixer! What a chore it would be to do this without you!)
Now, I do confess to having a bit of a disaster with the final product. The instructions call for you to cool the cake in the pan, upside down like an angel food cake. I think I greased my pan a little too well because when my husband and I flipped it, the cake came sliding out-in two pieces! Now, it was still warm and we immediately put the two pieces back together and the sugar, which was still caramelizing, sort of glued the two pieces together. No matter, really-you serve this cake by slicing it thinly, and spreading some jam between two thin slices, then topping it with a dollop of whip cream. It has a crunchy crust and a fluffy texture inside-really yummy!
10 eggs, separated
2 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cup flour
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour well a Bundt or sponge cake pan.
Whip the egg whites with a beater or in a stand mixer until stiff peaks form, about 10 minutes on medium high speed. Set aside.
In a separate bowl, whip the egg yolks until foamy. Add the sugar and, when that is well incorporated, mix in the flour.
When the ingredients are well combined, fold in the egg whites slowly (I did mine in three sections).
Pour mixture into the pan and bake it for one hour or until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Cool on a rack, then remove from the pan carefully.
Slice thinly, spread jam between the slices, and serve with whipped cream.
To say I cannot wait for tomorrow’s picnic would be an understatement. Here’s hoping for no rain! Watch for photos and a wrap up of the festival in the coming week and if you are attending, look for me and say hi! I’ll be wearing a white dress with a green sash and a straw bonnet with green trim!