No Wedding Cake for Me, Thanks

From the start, I knew we weren’t going to have a wedding cake. Instead I wanted something really special made with lots of love- desserts from family. Since our families don’t live nearby, it’s rare that we get their good home cooking and I miss it. A lot.

There are a handful of incredible sweets floating around my family that I would choose over the fancy schmanciest cake any day. Desserts that have been around on holidays and special occasions for a big part of my life and just make me really, really happy.

Although every confection has a story, I don’t have time to tell them all, and you probably don’t have time to read them all, so instead, here’s the background on a few, eye candy for all, and recipes for three.

First up is my Aunt Gay’s Rum Cake. Every year, a few weeks before Christmas, she makes a boat load of them for everyone in our family. (We’re talking a really large family here, so it’s no easy task). Every year I eagerly await the arrival of mine on my doorstep (yes, she ships them if we’re far from home and can’t hand deliver. She even sent them to San Diego when I lived there!). In recent years, Ravi has started anticipating its arrival even before I do. The holidays just wouldn’t be the same without it, and I didn’t feel my family favorites dessert table would be the same without it either! Thankfully my sweet aunt was kind enough to grant my wish of having it as part of our big day.

Aunt Gay’s Rum Cake
Cake Ingredients:
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 box (18 1/2 oz) butter golden cake mix
1 instant vanilla pudding (3 3/4 oz)
1/2 cup light rum
1/2 cup water
4 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable cooking oilRum Glaze Ingredients:
1 cup sugar
1 stick butter
1/4 cup light rum
1/4 cup water

Rum Glaze Directions:
Place all ingredients in small saucepan and boil for 2-3 minutes.

Cake Directions:
Place cake and pudding mixes in large mixing bowl. Add rum, water, oil and
eggs; mix for 2 minutes. Grease and flour a bundt pan or a tube pan.
Pour chopped nuts in pan first and then pour batter into cake pan and bake at 325
degrees for 50-60 minutes.

Remove from oven and poke small holes in cake and start to pour some of the warm Rum Glaze on it. After a few minutes turn cake out of pan onto cake plate and poke more small holes around the top of cake and gradually pour the rest of the Rum Glaze over cake.

Best if made a few days ahead of time and let cake set in a cool place.
It gets better and better with time (if you’re able to refrain from eating immediately, that is!)

Chocolate peanut butter balls (also known as Buckeyes) were also a holiday staple in our house. If my mom didn’t make them, then at least one of my aunts would. I can only hope that tradition continues for the rest of my life because creamy peanut butter awesomeness combined with chocolaty goodness really can’t be beat!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Balls
2 sticks butter
1 lb peanut butter
1 1/2 lbs powdered sugar
1 large bag chocolate chips
1 bar paraffinMelt butter and add peanut butter and powdered sugar. Make into 1-inch balls. Melt 1 bar paraffin and 1 large bag chocolate chips over low heat, stirring to prevent sticking. With toothpicks in balls, dip into hot chocolate mixture. Place on waxed paper until chocolate hardens.
Coconut Cake
Chess Squares

Date Ball Cookies
2 cups sugar
2 sticks butter
1 lb of dates (chopped)
1 cup nuts (chopped)
2 tsp vanilla
4 cups Rice Crispies
Powdered sugar

Melt butter in pan. Add sugar and dates. Mix and bring to a boil.
Reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes, stirring so it doesn’t burn.
Remove from heat and add in nuts, vanilla, and Rice Crispies.
Allow to cool slightly then shape into small balls and roll in powdered sugar.

Magic 7 Layer Bars

These bars weren’t something I grew up with, instead this was a favorite from Ravi’s family, so appropriately his sis and I made these together the day before the wedding.

Dark Chocolate Cake with Whipped Cream Filling
made with lots and lots of love by my mom

And last, but certainly not least, our “Wedding Cake”. This cake is hands down my favorite cake on the face of the earth. I’m not exaggerating. It won my sister a blue ribbon in the late 70’s. I’ve requested my mom make it for more birthdays than I can count, so of course it would be the star of the family dessert table.

Sorry that I won’t be sharing the recipe for this one.
There’s good reason. Actually a very selfish reason. I don’t want to know what’s in it because I know it’s very, very bad. Maybe one day I’ll get up the nerve to look at the ingredients…..

Photo credit: Inara Studios