Saturday, November 10, 2012

A History of Groomscake

During the Victorian Era, it was traditional to pass small pieces of the wedding cake through the wedding ring of a happily married man or woman. The bridesmaids would then wrap the pieces and,  distribute them to all the wedding guests. custom had it that the unmarried women would then place the piece of wedding cake under their pillows that night in hopes of dreaming of a future husband.

Fruitcake was the traditional wedding cake in the United States until the mid-nineteenth century. Before the advent of the home freezer, the Groom's Cake, made of heavy fruit and liquor-soaked, had a long shelf life. That is why it was the one that was kept and eaten at the first anniversary celebration.

The Groom's Cake still retains the concept that it is a gift from the bride to her groom. While the wedding cake is served to all the wedding guests, the groom's cake is used for extra pieces that are packaged for guests to take home and "dream on." The Groom's Cake provides children and others who could not attend the wedding a way of "sharing" in the couple's good fortune. Superstition holds that a bride who keeps a piece of her wedding cake will have a faithful and loving husband.

In 2006 while I was cleaning out my paternal grandmother's basement, I  found a fossilized piece of wedding cake that had been saved by her mother, my great-grandmother, from her Christmas 1907 wedding cake!

I made a groomscake for my wedding and passed it out as the favor. William and Kate did the same with 650 boxed pieces of fruitcake, I only did 200. Here is the recipe I used and it was delicious!

White Groomscake Fruitcake
By Aida Mollenkamp


3 cups raw pecans, coarsely chopped
1 1/2 cups dried cherries, coarsely chopped
1 1/2 cups currants

1 1/2 cups dried pineapple, finely chopped
3/4 cup bourbon
1/4 cup Cointreau

For the cake:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking soda
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
4 sticks (1 pound) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
6 large eggs, at room temperature
Bourbon, for aging (optional)


For the fruit:
1. Combine all ingredients in a large container and stir to mix. Cover tightly and let macerate at room
temperature for 24 hours.

For the cake:
1. Heat the oven to 300°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Coat two 9-by-5-inch loaf pans with butter;
set aside.
2. Combine flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and ginger in a large bowl and whisk to aerate and break up any lumps; set aside.
3. Place butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix at medium-high
speed until pale yellow, about 3 minutes. Add sugar and continue mixing until fluffy, about another 3 minutes.
4. Add eggs one at a time, letting each mix in fully before adding the next. Stop the mixer a few times to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
5. Remove the bowl from the mixer and transfer the batter to a large mixing bowl. Stir in the flour mixture until just incorporated. Fold in the macerated fruit until just incorporated. Divide the batter between the prepared pans.
6. Bake until the cakes are golden, set throughout, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out
clean, about 1 1/2 hours.
7. Let cool 30 minutes in the pans on a wire rack. Run a knife around the outside of each cake, turn
them onto the rack, and let cool completely before slicing and eating, or aging.
8. To age the fruitcakes, store each at room temperature in an 11-by-7-by-3-inch plastic container with a
tightfitting lid and brush with 1/4 cup bourbon every 10 days for up to 3 1/2 months.

Monday, October 8, 2012

How to Change Your Name

So you meet the man of your dreams and
you decide to take his name (or you're just ready to get rid of Mildred as your middle name).  And now you are swimming in a sea of paperwork and rules. Where to start? This blog entry will be based on changing your name due to marriage in King County of Washington state, but could assuredly by applied elsewhere and under other conditions. This is one of those "if I knew then what I know now" post, hope it helps you.
  1. You can mail in your marriage license to the King County Recorder's Office at:
    King County Administration Building
    500 Fourth Avenue, Room 311
    Seattle, WA 98104

    Or the better option in my opinion, is to waltz on in there and take care of it in person between 8:30 am and 3:30 pm. It is $3 a copy and you should get 3-5 of them. (Why ever go back?)
  2. Now bring your marriage license and go to the Social Security Office and get a new card. You will need this change filed before you can switch over any existing bank accounts or credit cards. Just go in person and avoid mailing all sorts of critical documents. 13510 Aurora Ave N Seattle, Washington 98133 between 9 am and 3pm.
  3. Again, bring your marriage license and go to the DOL and get a new license. Since there are so few locations you have to choose between Shoreline, Downtown and West Seattle These links will show you location information, including current wait times. (Rumor has it West Seattle is pretty slow around 10am -just sayin'.
  4. Now you can call your bank and each of your credit card companies to change your name and issue you a card with your new name. And you can order checks. Because you have your new drivers license now you can open a new or joint bank account with say, your husband.
  5. Now that you have your new driver's licence number you can change your auto insurance into your new name.
  6. Let HR at your work know and contact your Health Insurer.
  7. Don't forget to contact voter registration to get your name changed before the next election.
  8. To apply for your new passport, go to: (Although a US Border agent told me that I could use my old passport for up to a year after, but why risk it?)