Pine Bluffs Post - Serving all of Eastern Laramie County since 1908

By Charlene Smith
Pine Bluffs Post staff 

A basket of love for Mother's Day


Mothers are often asked what they would like for their special day coming up Sunday. Most moms will say, “ Oh, nothing, dear, just knowing you love me is gift enough,” or something gushy like that.

But as a mom, I think I can speak for some of us and say, it’d be really cool to have a fancy dinner made (and cleaned up) that I had nothing to do with.

The modern holiday of Mother’s Day was first celebrated in 1908, when Anna Jarvis held a memorial for her mother. Jarvis later campaigned to make “Mother’s Day” a recognized holiday. Successful in her attempt by 1914, she stated her disappointment in its commercialism by 1920. Jarvis’ holiday was adopted by other countries and is now celebrated the world over.

Jarvis wanted each family to honor their own mother, so she wanted to the day to “be a singular possessive, for each family to honor their mother, not a plural possessive commemorating all mothers in the world.” However, plural possessive and plural non-possessive are sometimes used.

However you say it, love to our mother often comes in bushels, bunches, loads, and mostly phone calls and flowers to our moms on Sunday. But Mother’s Day, we try to bring out a classier, more refined way to show those special women in our life how much we love them.

A basket full of love is much more fitting. And the recipe today is mom-approved, because it comes with a serving of fresh fruit (along side a rich cream and lots of sugar).

Fruit basket cake is new to my recipe book, and how appropriate to give you a basket cake recipe to show mom the loads of love for her. My dad requested this cake recently, and given my love of baking and my dad, I tried it. Many grocery bakeries will make this special for you, but some call it a Derby cake and is typically chocolate.

The recipe is pretty straight forward, even for the novice baker. A cake filled with lots of fruit; strawberries, bananas and kiwi, but you can adapt to your fruit tastes. The cake can be vanilla, white or butter cream, my favorite.

If you use a box cake mix, a little hint a friend of mine gave me is to add a box of pudding, vanilla in this case, to make the cake extra moist and tasty.

Bake your chosen cake in three 9 inch round pans. If your cupboards are like mine and only have two, no sweat, just bake the first two, rebutter and flour the pan and bake the third. Let the cakes cool completely before the next step.

While your cakes are cooling, make a custard filling. The cake production process will go; cake, custard, fruit, and repeat. An authentic French custard recipe comes from Julia Childs.

Boil two cups of milk in a saucepan. Add five large egg yolks and 1 cup sugar and 1 cup cream together in a bowl until the mixture is pale yellow. Beat in 1/2 cup flour and slowly drizzle in the boiled milk. After the mixture is well combined, return it to the saucepan and bring to a boil and whisk the entire time. It will get lumpy but keep whisking and a smooth custard will form. Remove from heat and whisk in one tablespoon of butter and vanilla extract. Set aside.

Thinly slice your fruit selection or 3 large kiwis, 6 giant strawberries and two large bananas. Heat a 1/2 cup of water in the microwave for thirty seconds and stir in one tablespoon sugar until dissolved, creating a simple syrup. Place a completely cooled cake in the center of your cake tray. Tuck in pieces of parchment paper under the cake to keep your serving tray clean. Brush the simple syrup on top of the first cake layer to keep your cake moist. Add two heaping tablespoons of custard to the center of your cake and spread evenly. Keep it within a circle that is about 1/2 an inch from the edge. The weight of the cake will spread the filling out. Arrange your fruit selection in alternating layers, Carefully place the second layer of cake on top of the fruit. Repeat the process, simple syrup custard, then fruit. The left over custard will be good if left in the refrigerate up to a week. Top the second layer with the last cake and frost your cake with whipped cream.

For a homemade version, combine 2 cups of heavy cream, 2 tablespoons of sugar, 1 teaspoon of vanilla and beat on high until stiff peaks are formed.

After covering the cake with the cream, you can decorate the cream by pulling a serrated knife around the outside. Reserve a little cream and pipe a stream around the top perimeter and bottom. If you like, you can place a bit of fruit in the middle of the cake after decorating for an added touch. Leave in the refrigerator to cool and set before serving.


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