Cake it On

Let’s talk about something that really is delicious….. cake!

My overall style for my wedding was very classic and traditional. It made it easy for me to decide that from the get go, because I can easily be lured by fun and funky options that could have clashed with some of my choices. For example, I saw tons of invitations I loved and thought were so cool but in the end opted for a simple white one. Then I saw all kinds of fabulous topsy turvy cakes, but I just kept repeating to myself, “Keep it simple!” Otherwise, the choices would have overwhelmed me.

Anyway, without further ado, here is our cake:

I’m a little biased, but I was really excited about my cake. To me, it looked like it cost twice as much because of it’s height. So, a good budget trick is to put flowers in between the layers. It cost the same as a regular three tiered cake that might look like this….

…only it looked more expensive because it was so tall.

Also, those flowers on the top of my cake weren’t wasted. They were actually the bouquet I threw to all the single ladies, so that’s a good way not to pay twice for those!

And, because I want you to think I’m a crazy Louisianaian, here is the groom’s cake made to look like the table at a crawfish boil. For that sweet sentimental touch, the pastry chef actually recreated our football tickets from the first LSU game we ever went to together. I kept the original tickets because it was one of our first dates. :)

So, that’s the story of our cakes with a few budget tips thrown in if you’re getting ready for some nuptuals!
Any other married folks out there with good ideas for keeping the wedding cake beautiful and budget friendly? How’s about fun designs for a groom’s cake? Spill the beans!

Wedding Recipes: Turtle Soup

In this spirit of wedding week, let’s talk food.

As many of you know, the hubs and I are both born and raised in Louisiana. So, we had some amazing Louisiana food at our wedding including Couchon de Lait Cobbler (a yummy mix of Louisiana yams, greens, etc.), seafood pasta, and a delicacy: turtle soup. Now, I know turtle soup sounds gross to lots of folks and might conjure up images like this:

But in reality, it’s pretty delicious. We actually had the soup served in little espresso cups on a tray passed around by waiters so people could just pick up the cup, have a little taste and set it back on the tray. It was a big hit and didn’t cost anything since pass around trays were included in our package.
Here is the turtle soup recipe from Commander’s Palace, which is Emeril’s restaurant in New Orleans in case you’re feeling sort of wild this weekend. And, I do realize you might not be able to pick up turtle at the grocery store… Louisiana is a special place, haha. So, lots of people substitute veal for turtle in these recipes. My dad says they end up tasting about the same after it’s all said and done anyway. :)
Here you go:
  • 10 ounces (2-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 pound turtle meat, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 cup minced celery (4 stalks)
  • 2 medium onions, minced (2 medium)
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons garlic, minced
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1-1/2 cups tomato purée
  • 1 quart beef stock
    • NOTE: If turtle bones are available, add them to the beef bones when making the stock for this dish
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste, as needed
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 5 hard-boiled eggs, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon minced parsley
  • 6 teaspoons dry sherry

Melt 8 ounces (2 sticks) butter in a heavy saucepan. Add the flour and cook, stirring frequently, over medium heat until the roux is light brown. Set aside.

In a 5-quart saucepan, melt the remaining butter and add turtle meat. Cook over high heat until the meat is brown. Add celery, onions, garlic and seasonings, and cook until the vegetables are transparent.
Add tomato purée, lower heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the stock and simmer for 30 minutes. Add the roux and cook over low heat, stirring, until the soup is smooth and thickened. Correct seasoning with salt and pepper to taste. Add lemon juice, eggs and parsley.
Remove from heat and serve. At the table, add 1 teaspoon sherry to each soup plate. (Psst. the sherry is really important. Without it, it’s not turtle soup!)

Happy cooking!
Do y’all have any fun and bizarre (but amazingly tasty) local recipes where you’re from?