I am happy to say that our 2nd Annual Xmas in July Southern Living Magazine Christmas Cake Baking Party was a success!
with Sam, Esar (my niece’s lovely French foreign exchange student-who was the stand-in for my daughter) and Lauren
Last year I got the bright idea (?!) of getting the girls in the family together with my daughter and my nieces, along with my mom, to bake a Southern Living Magazine Christmas Cake. Despite the heat, outside and in the kitchen inside, we had so much fun that a tradition was born. However, just like the recipe for the cake itself, it takes a lot more planning than you would think trying to coordinate everyone’s schedules and get everyone together at the same time.
This year, the only time my nieces could come was the same weekend my daughter was gone to Chicago and my mom was on her wine cruise in Bordeaux. So, so much for everyone getting together. They were very much missed. However, we did have a lovely guest join us, my niece’s French foreign exchange student, Esar, who was lovely and fun and she was cooking in English- not the metric system!
Since my nieces could only be here for less than two full days, we had to look through the catalogue of SL cakes recipes to find one that didn’t take a month to construct. (As you may have read here before, the Southern Living Christmas Cake is a serious undertaking and is not meant for anyone in real life….hahahaha.) We did finally find one from the December 2007 issue. It was a bundt cake, so it only used one pan. This recipe did not call for a commercially stocked kitchen, which I consider a true Christmas miracle in July! It did however call for red food coloring “paste”, which I could not find anywhere within a twenty mile range of me. I must remember to order everything from amazon from now on. So, we used regular food coloring, which if truth be told, I don’t think we really needed at all because the red and white peppermint candy that we made to be used for the garnish was so sharp it was like shards of glass, and we cut our fingers so many times that there was plenty of blood to turn it red. So, you don’t have to worry about trying to find the paste – that’s just my little Xmas in July “gift tip” to you:) Luckily, I still had some edible glitter left over from one of the SL cakes we baked a few years ago because it only called for something like five glitter flakes, so I had plenty of that. Which was good because, again, it’s something I can’t find anywhere within three states of me and it ends up costing something like $1.00 a flake, so, I’m glad I was able to use it again.
Here are a few photos from our party with some fun party ideas. Once again, we made more than just a cake, we made some fun family memories. And that’s the best gift of Xmas in July!
The idea for our Xmas in July Baking Party was born out of the fact that my daughter and nieces were all growing up too fast and I wasn’t getting to spend as much time with them as I like, and they weren’t getting to see each other as often either. During a conversation with my niece, Sam, she mentioned she wanted to make a Southern Living Magazine Christmas Cake. My daughter and I made these every Christmas for years until she went away to college on the other side of the country. Trying to bake the cake during Christmas added to the insanity of the holiday. So, for some reason I still can’t figure out, I thought it would be less frantic in July. And, I still can’t figure out how I can be so wrong so often.
You can find my popular essay about this yearly undertaking in my book, available here.