I admit it. To quote the lovely birthday present my friends Marilyn Santulli and her beautiful daughter, Meredith Dahle gave me,
"Always Remember You are Loved and Blessed."
This post is a testimony to the goodness in the gluten-free world. I am surrounded and blessed by it. (Please note: this is in no way a paid endorsement. It's about the spirit of a celebration.)
I had a wonderful almost birthday weekend with my family and my gluten-free friends this past weekend. I met Marilyn and Meredith at the American Gra-Frutti headquarters (look for a tour post soon) and we went to lunch. They showered me with lovely American Gra-Frutti treats for my birthday, and I've been enjoying them all week! (more about that tour and the amazing refined sugar-free products by the amazing Marilyn in an upcoming post).
The highlight of my weekend was a long-anticipated lunch with the Gluten-free Gurlz, Jennifer D. Harris and Lori Pocock, at the Park 75 Restaurant in the Four Seasons Hotel Atlanta This is destination gluten-free dining at its best. I am sure this is available at any of this establishment's fine locations.
What I didn't know prior to the event was that Jennifer had made arrangements to have an entirely gluten-free tea service with sandwiches on Udi's Gluten Free Whole Grain Bread. And Lori and Jennifer had gotten together Friday night to bake me a marvelous gluten-free coconut cake.
I was so surprised, I was in tears.
Here's a pic of Jennifer with the tea service. Isn't it beautiful (so is she!) I honestly haven't had little tea sandwiches in almost three years -- and who could tell they were gluten-free? And what a magnificent person Chef Robert is, because he didn't mind using our bread at all. That's a credit to Jennifer's planning and thoughtfulness. The egg salad tasted just like my Mama's egg salad -- a dish and a memory of her I needed Saturday, when I was among caring friends. Curried Chicken Salad. Smoked Salmon. Cucumber Dill. I have to admit, I scarfed down a GF currant scone and a half and sandwiches, totally neglecting the bottom plate full of beautiful chocolate goodies (but I took a few pieces home. I also ordered some of their wonderful GF Lobster Chili to go.)
Here's Lori, enjoying her hamburger on Udi's. I was surprised Lori didn't have the Tea Service, but a few minutes later I knew why.
Our server brought out Lori's Beautiful Birthday Cake. Coconut. My favorite. Then I find out they'd consulted my sweet Randy for suggestions.
I asked Lori to write \ about the cake, it was so beautiful and delicious. I wanted you all to have the chance to make a Beautiful Birthday Cake.
Here’s the recipe for Ginger’s Yellow Cake with Coconut Frosting
My GF gal pal Ginger has a birthday this week so Ginger, Jennifer (JGF) and I met to celebrate at the Four Seasons Hotel Saturday. Of course, no birthday is complete without a birthday cake and candles so we brought one with us. Ginger’s husband suggested yellow cake with coconut icing as one of Ginger’s favorites. So here it goes for a semi-homemade cake. Oh – and because I liked Ginger so much, I did NOT sing for her – I keep my friends much better that way.
Bob’s Red Mill GF Yellow Cake Mix – prepare according to package directions for 2 8-or 9-inch layer pans. The only substitution was that I used light coconut milk in place of the water. I think next time I will add in ½ to 2/3 cup of coconut. Let the layers cool completely (which I have learned the hard way in life!!)
2 sticks salted butter
2 pounds powdered sugar
Light Coconut Milk (this makes it dairy free – you can alsouse any variety milk or cream that you have)
About ¼ teaspoon salt (this cuts the sweetness a bit)
About 1 ½ teaspoon Vanilla (to taste)
Soften the butter, then mix on medium for about a minute. Stop the mixer, put in the powdered sugar, vanilla and salt. Add milk about 2 tablespoons of milk / coconut milk and put the mixer on the slowest speed. Gradually add milk until the frosting is a spreadable consistency. If you want chocolate frosting, add cocoa powder to make it aschocolately as you want. This frosting will nicely ice a 2 layer cake. It can also be easily made into peppermint, lemon, orange or whatever flavor is needed.
Set the first layer on the plate and frost the top. Put the second layer on, and start frosting the sides, then finish with the top of the cake. While the frosting is still wet, press the flaked coconut around the sides of the cake. Decorate the top as you like, or just sprinkle more coconut on top.
I like to make this the day before or early in the morning if it is being served at night so that the icing has time to set up in the fridge – especially if I have to take the cake with me. Enjoy with friends.
and we did. Look at this!
There was delicious tea, fun conversation, plans for the future, and presents -- GLEE Season One, a beautiful loaf of gluten-free bread and a beautiful scarf. We ended the afternoon with a shopping excursion and vitamin samples.
Special shoutout and thanks to Marvin Booker, the assistant manager of the restaurant, who took exquisite care of us. We had a thoughtful, attentive server, but how lucky we were to have the manager at our side! Imagine.
I know we're going to have a lot of fun at our next Gluten-Free Gurlz birthday gathering next month, when Jennifer turns a birthday with a zero in it.
That night, as I shared another birthday dinner with my Daddy, Mary and Jeffrey, we had a second slice of that luscious cake. And I had to freeze the rest, lest my blood sugar climb to the stratosphere.
But you know what? It was worth every bite.
Much love, and much love to the Gurlz!