Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Wreath Making Lunch with Friends | Gingerbread Cake

For the last several years I've wanted to host a group of friends for a wreath making party but never quite seemed to get my act together.  December is always such a busy month and our calendar seems to fill up so quickly.  About a week ago, I came across a wreath making luncheon blog post by Jenny's Cookies and was so inspired I decided to grab my calendar right away and see if there was anyway to pull something off before Christmas.  I saw a two hour window on Sunday, texted a few friends and next thing I knew we had a wreath making party in the works!  Yes, adorable invites, more people, better planning would have all been ideal, but there was something nice about a casual get together on somewhat short notice too. Next year, I have plans with another friend to host a much larger group of girls at a different venue and I'm already looking forward to it!  I considered this year a bit of a test run.  It was therapeutic to be creating something natural and beautiful with a group girlfriends. It was especially nice to step away from the hustle and bustle of these last 10 days before Christmas and just enjoy time together.

For lunch I kept things very simple and made my favorite apple and stilton harvest salad and added chick peas (recipe here) and for dessert, this stunner of a gingerbread cake (recipe here, see my modifications below).  One of my friends brought a delicious pomegranate and lime holiday cocktail for us to share. We ate at the dining room table before making wreaths.  Originally, I had planned to have lunch inside and then make the wreaths outside but the weather was chilly and rain was in the forecast so I kept everything inside.  It was cozy that way too with the fire on and Christmas music playing.

As for supplies, I gathered tons of free frasier fir clippings from the corner tree lot and cut everything into sprigs that were the size needed for wreath making.  I purchased 20" wire wreath forms and 20 gauge, green, paddle wire from Amazon.  I gathered 4 other types of greens, including a variegated, boxwood looking green, a type of holly with red berries, juniper, and cedar.  I purchased my greens through a wholesaler.  If you host a party like this and can do the same it will save lots of money or find a florist friend to do it for you.  You need a ton of greens to make pretty wreaths!  One of my friends had experience with wreath making and was able to lend us a hand.  I also found this video suggested by an instagram friend (thanks, Nikki!) to be very helpful too.  There is a little bit of technique involved, but it's not difficult and it doesn't need to be perfect!  That's always the beauty of something homemade!

Recipe for Gingerbread Cake can be found here.

These are my notes after making it the first time...

1. Finding vanilla boxed cake mix was kind of a nightmare.  I went to 4 different places before I found it (Kroger and Walmart do not carry it around here.)  Target has it online and in store.

2. This recipe is HUGE!  Tons of cake mix, molasses, buttermilk and 12 eggs!  Unless you have an industrial sized stand mixer don't even try to make it work.  I realized this the hard way.  Find the BIGGEST bowl you can and use a hand held electric mixer!!  You will thank me for this. ;)

3. Sift the cake mix before mixing in the other ingredients.

4. Watch the cooking time.  Mine was finished 15-20 minutes before the recommended minimum cook time.

5. Icing - I had butter at room temp and cream cheese right out of fridge.  When icing the layers put at least a cup of icing in-between.  1/2 cup will not give you enough and the icing makes the cake!  It was my favorite part.

1 comment :

  1. They turned out so pretty. The cake looks scrumptious. What a fun idea!