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Family Baking Project of the Week

Dear Kay,
This was a summer of alt crafting. I mean, I was knitting steadily, but there were serious detours into other time-consuming and weird fun activities.
“Baking”
My brother Clif and his wife Mary Neal‘s family arrived en masse at the Assembly just in time for Week 8, also known as The Quiet Week. Which meant there was plenty of time for perusing the Assembly’s 29-year-old cookbook.
porch party recipes2.jpg
I’ve discussed Porch Party Recipes before. This was the first time we’d tackled anything more ambitious than Sausage Pinwheels. (“Men like these.”)
Recipe:
cocktailbirthdaycakerecipe.jpg
While Beer Cheese is an obvious and great idea, it was the bottom recipe that seized us. Seized us UP.
Team: Nephews Wilson and James. Filling management by Mary Neal’s sisters Liz and Sarah. Ringers: John Henry and Walter, who took a break from their three-day gizzard-braising project to advise on proportion and decoration.
Result:
cocktailbirthdaycake.jpg
cocktailbirthdaycakesliced.jpg
The problem here was that their family is filled with serious cooks, who’d stocked the fridge with legit ingredients. My nephew James totally skewed the project by baking bread layers in cake pans, so superior to anything storebought that the whole thing actually tasted sort of . . . OK.
Love,
Ann

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33 Comments

33 Comments

  1. I’m scared. Hold me.

  2. Ann, that looks quite gross and yet strangely compelling at the same time.
    Might have had to try the Beer Cheese, but without boiling the beer to get rid of the alcohol. Well, otherwise it’s just a waste, isn’t it?
    B x x x

  3. That is seriously skewed :P

  4. I’m with Clara. That “cake” is one scary food-like object.
    For the top recipe, how do they intend for you to soften the cheese? Leave it on the counter overnight?

  5. Can you please explain what an “Assembly” is? Sounds fun, but I don’t think we have anything like it in Washington State.

  6. That looks so disgusting that it gives me goosebumps!!
    So, “way back” in 1982, did someone think this was a nice birthday treat?!?! Glad that’s not what I got for my 18th birthday ;-)

  7. I saw your post and immediately thought of the sandwich cake that my Swedish friend served at a party. It’s a traditional Scandinavian dish described here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sm%C3%B6rg%C3%A5st%C3%A5rta

  8. Maybe I’ll make that cake for my daughter one day. *With* asparagus garnish. NO, just kidding! She would kill me. But beer cheese, fer sure!

  9. That is AWESOME! I make nasty things like this for April Fools’ Day (last year was meatloaf cupcakes with tinted mashed potato frosting). Must stow this idea away in my brain…

  10. The directions for the birthday cake say to “slice vertically.” Wouldn’t that be the usual way to slice a loaf of bread? The picture looks as if you sliced the bread horizontally to mimic cake layers, which would certainly seem to be the desired effect. Is Marie Duncan—the author of note of this strange masterpiece— still with us to explain what she meant?

  11. Oh loooordy! ;-)

  12. I might have actually tried this, considering that the ingredients were, as you say, LEGIT. However, I have a horror of soggy bread, so I couldn’t face it.
    BTW, it’s so nice to hear you say that we are serious cooks! I mean, I’M not, but the guys are.

  13. It just hit me that the top decoration is obviously inspired by the dread visage of Cthulhu. As in “Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn” – “In his house at R’lyeh, dead Cthulhu waits dreaming.”

  14. That ‘cake’ is a must with pumpernickel, lots of Philly, radishes and rolls of ham – just take a look here if you don’t believe me! (Apparently it’s a popular snack for German gentleman spending a lenghty evening at the card tables)

  15. These cookbook-related posts remind me SO MUCH of my experiences with the cookbook produced by the wives of the VFD firefighters, in a small Colorado town which shall remain nameless. (The wives called themselves the “Firebelles” and honestly, it was not as long ago as you might think.) I still have that cookbook – one of very few things that I kept from that period of my life – but am a little bit afraid to open it again. Maybe I could just buy a copy of yours instead? All fun, no baggage!

  16. How does one cut something like that “cake” without it exploding all over everything? Or eat it, for that matter? I’m a little afraid.

  17. I, too, and wondering how one would attempt to eat this…um…creation.

  18. I remember making this recipe in the 70’s! We used an electric knife to cut all of the crusts around the loaf away and then sliced the loaf horizontally. Thin layers of the fillings actually complimented each other. The loaf was refrigerated after “frosted” with cream cheese and sliced vertically into finger sandwiches. I wish that I could try it again but I’m gluten-intolerant.

  19. Good God! I can see why this seized you UP!!!
    And the name… you must need a LOT of COCKTAILS if this was offered as one’s birthday cake! Apologies to the originator.

  20. I agree with Diane H. Cocktails WILL help. I do still want a copy of that cookbook though!!
    Really, the husband is a chef, he would love it.

  21. dear god.
    when i first read that second recipe, i parsed: “Ice Cream”
    had to go back and look TWICE before i realized it was “ice *with* cream *cheese*”
    I just couldn’t figure anyway that ice cream could “work” with the other ingredients!

  22. God awmighty!

  23. Not sure about that “birthday” “cake” but the Beer Cheese recipe (minus the onion) is basically our cheese fondue recipe. Just warm the beer, add the grated (not softened)cheese and the other ingredients. After everything is melted, stir in some cornstarch mixed with a little water to thicken. YUM! Sounds you had a fun summer with your family.

  24. I gotta ask. Were cocktails imbibed along with the cake? I think that would take the taste from “OK” to sublime. Try a martini next time.

  25. correct you slice the birthday cake into
    little finger sandwiches it was very good

  26. Not Baptist heavy, the Assembly? Beer cheese and cocktail bread?

  27. My ex-mother in law used to make something similar for the holidays. They called it “sandwich loaf” and the layers were: deviled ham, tuna salad, egg salad, spreadable cheese (cheese whiz maybe?), grape jelly, and probably a couple of more that I’m forgetting. Then they did the same cream cheese and olive decorating. Sliced vertically, you got a little bit of all the spreads in one piece. They all loved it and couldn’t wait for it to be sliced. I wanted to vomit at the sight of it… Grape jelly next to tuna? Yuck!
    Maybe that’s why I’m not married into that family anymore.

  28. Just Gawd awful to look at but after a few drinks it probably starts to look more appealing?

  29. It looks and sounds like sandwich loaf… something that scared the bejeezus out of me at one of my first Minnesotan bridal showers. I had no idea there was an equivalent in my home state!

  30. My 2 favorite ingredients:
    “ground ham”
    and
    “etc.”
    Where did I put my ham grinder?
    I have GOT to have one of these for my next birthday. Would be super cute with bread baked in a coffee can. And ever so tasty.

  31. What I Did For My Summer Vacation.
    Birthday cocktail cake.
    Hmmmm.
    Have actually been waiting with bated breath to see that nice blue and white Koigu/garter wrap that was “the boat project”. If it remains a UFO, I understand. I’ve got a few of those myself….
    LoveDiane

  32. Aw, man, I missed the cocktail cake!!!! How did it rate on a scale from 1-10?

  33. That is totally wacky and so super fun!