Summer Solstice, Peaches and Cream

In which Betty attempts to make a peaches and cream cake for a holiday she didn't know existed.

So, what does Summer Solstice have to do with peaches and cream you’re wondering?

Well, the Summer Solstice is the longest day of the year. Not that I knew anything about that. But, my youngest Bissela came home very excited from school talking about how tomorrow is going to be the Summer Solstice. 

“What are we going to do to celebrate?” she asked. “You celebrate it?” I wondered. I told her, we’ll try that new Peaches and Cream cake, it’s kind of like strawberry shortcake but with peaches. Bissela wasn’t so convinced since the last time I tried to bake something with Grace that involved cream it turned out to be a total disaster.

“You’re not exactly a maven baker,” she said. But I was inspired now by all the summer solstice stuff. Turns out making the Peaches and Cream cake took as long as the summer solstice!

I called Grace to let her know about Summer Solstice. She didn’t know anything about it either. I said, let’s try this new Peaches and Cream cake recipe, but she was experimenting on a new chocolate gellate recipe that she was sure was going to knock us into big-time bakers.

Buying the Ingredients

I wanted to get started on the cake first thing in the morning, so we could have it to “celebrate” summer solstice. I needed peaches and whipping cream. As soon as my other kids arrived home from school, we piled into the car and headed to the super.

Everything was running on time until we ran into Mrs. Fischer who needed to tell me all about her oldest daughter’s engagement. I had to hear every detail from the time he was born to his present-day super-man accomplishments! Forty-five minutes later, we finally broke free and headed to check out.

As soon as the kids were out of the house the next morning, I started on the cake. I made the batter and put it into the oven. After 30 minutes it was ready.

First Mistake

Next, the recipe said to turn the baking pan over and peel away the parchment paper. Oh, I was supposed to use parchment paper? How did I miss that? It wouldn’t come out of the pan without breaking. Not going to work. I started over. Got the parchment paper this time, batter made. It came out beautifully, cooled and I split it into three perfect layers.

Everything was going great. I lost some time having to make the cake twice, but it was still before noon. Next step: make the cream. 

Hamsters?

All the ingredients for the cream were whipping up in my kitchen aid. Beautiful soft peaks were forming. Then my son Munchkin’s teacher called. She wanted to let me know that he’s not allowed to bring hamsters to school. “He has hamsters?” I asked. Where did he get hamsters? I needed to go to school right away and pick him up and the hamsters. Just what I needed.

I put the mixing bowl in the fridge and headed off to school to pick up Munchkin and his hamsters. The day was rapidly ticking away. We got back and after a stern interrogation, I learned the hamsters belong to his friend who is not allowed to have hamsters in his house. I didn’t have time right then to deal with the hamster story.

Almost Perfection

Back to the cake. Now my soft peaks were not so peaky anymore, so I fired up the mixer again and soon those peaks were back. Next, you’re supposed to line a baking sheet with parchment paper—got it this time! And then place down the first layer of cake. Then you spread some whipped cream over the layer. It was already 2:00, but all in all, things were going great.

About this time, Grace came over to show me her new chocolate gellate. I’m not sure exactly how it was supposed to look, but… It wouldn’t win any awards for presentation, but the taste was excellent, a vast improvement over her previous efforts.
Munchkin wanted to taste the chocolate gellate too, so he came out along with his hamsters. Grace wanted to see the hamsters so she took the cover off the box. I’m not sure what happened, but the hamsters escaped and began running around the kitchen counter, first through the chocolate gellate and then through the whipped cream.

All of us were trying to catch these now slippery hamsters whose feet were covered with chocolate and whipped cream. For some reason, Grace found the entire episode to be hilarious, an emotion I did not share at first. But you must admit, three people running around the kitchen chasing chocolate-whipped cream covered hamsters would have made a pretty good YouTube video.

So, what happened? Yup, I started over. And you know what, we had that peaches and cream cake and celebrated the summer solstice which was already over by the time we finally got to eat it.

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