Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Day 10 of 31: Welcoming Friends

A house feels like home when it is full of people. (I touched on that a bit yesterday.) We have always enjoyed inviting friends over for dinner...and Brent always says the more the merrier! (Interesting, that's what I say about desserts!)

I, on the other hand, tend to prefer smaller groups, as it's easier to have deeper conversations...however, some of my favorite memories from Oklahoma include large groups gathered in our home around homemade pizza or out on our back porch for barbecue sandwiches.

I'll be honest with you...I fall into the category of women who want their home to be spotlessly clean and perfectly decorated. I want the table beautifully set and the food to rival a five star restaurant. I love the little details that make gatherings extra special. But I'm learning--baby-step by baby-step--not to let those guidelines prohibit the opening of our home.

Completely out of character, I invited neighbors over for dinner 4 days after having our household goods delivered to this house. There were boxes to be seen all over...but the children had a ball playing in cardboard, and we enjoyed conversation on the back porch.

An old friend who came for dinner a few weeks ago set my heart at ease. While showing her around the house, she commented that she loved the fact that we invited them over even though the dining room wasn't quite clean (and may or may not have been dusty!) She said it made her feel more at home AND more comfortable knowing she needn't worry about her home looking perfect when we came to visit them. 

So true. When we can disregard the imperfections in our home to allow for true hospitality, we reveal that we care more for the person coming than for their approval of us.

So, regardless of the state of your home, invite some friends over (maybe this weekend!?!?) and make this delicious cake to enjoy together. You won't be disappointed.

Sea Salt Caramel Cake

3 cups flour
1 1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3 tsp vanilla
1 cup crémé fraîche (or sour cream)
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
4 large eggs, room temperature
Caramel Glaze, recipe below
Sea Salt

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour the inside of a bundt pan. (I like to use Pam Baking spray with flour.)

2. Mix the flour, baking powder, soda, and salt in a large bowl and set aside.

3. Using a standing mixer, cream the butter and sugar together, until it is light colored.  Next add the eggs, one at a time, mixing until incorporated. Add the vanilla extract. Add crémé fraîche to the mixture 1/4 cup at a time until it is blended together. 

4. Add the flour mixture in small amounts, allowing each part to be blended in completely. Scrape the sides of the bowl as necessary. 

5. Pour the batter into the prepared bundt pan, smoothing the top, and bake for 50 minutes, until an inserted toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow cake to cool in pan on a rack for 12 minutes. Invert the cake, removing from pan, onto a cooling rack and allow to cool completely, about one hour.

6. Place cake on a pedestal or serving plate. Pour the caramel glaze generously over the top of the cake. Sprinkle with sea salt. Serve with additional caramel glaze if desired.

Caramel Glaze

1 cup sugar
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 stick of butter

1. Have all ingredients measured and on hand. In a medium sauce pan, place the sugar and whisk constantly over medium heat, allowing the sugar to melt. Once the sugar begins to turn an amber color, add the butter and whisk quickly until all the butter is melted and mixed with the sugar. Remove from heat.

2. Add the cream while you continue to whisk until the mixture is in a cream caramel glaze form. Pour the glaze into a glass container and set aside until ready for use.

~This is Day 10 of 31 Days. You can find all posts in the series here 31 Days of Making this House our Home.


Valerie Bishop said...

Oh my oh my! That cake is mouth-watering! Thanks for sharing the recipe!

Lauren said...


Susan said...

Oh. My. Goodness! That cake looks incredible. Will be bookmarking this (and probably pinning it too) so I can make it later. Yum!!

BTW, one of my favorite entertaining sayings is "people come over to visit us, not perform a white glove test." Once I learned to actually APPLY the truth of it to my life, it made preparation for entertaining so much less stressful. :)

momstheword said...

Love the cake, it looks and sounds yummy. Loved your post too.

My kids only have one cousin close in age to them. They are close to another cousin although she's a bit older. The rest of their cousins are a lot older, some as much as over 20 years older.

So, when they were little we had friends over a lot on the weekends. Just so that they could have someone to play with and we could have some friends to fellowship with.

Often it was just popcorn and pop or water, nothing fancy because who can afford to feed a ton of people every Sunday after church?

But in a way, their friends became their "cousins" and they are still close today with so many of these friends.

I knew one person who never had people over because they felt their home was never clean enough to entertain.

You miss so much that way! You're right, when you're caring more about the person you're inviting over, then you aren't worried about their approval of you or your home.

Amy said...

Great point! I found myself dreading get togethers because I had to have this and had to have that and had to serve this and finally just felt like the caterer. I had no time to enjoy the people, because I was catering to every little whim as though it was on their bucket list and they were in the last days of their lives.

Monday I start a book club at my house. Basics will be clean, but I'm not stressing over my mail on that counter, or cleaning my windowsills, or clearing every surface of all evidence that we live here. I'll build a fire in the living room, serve a warm dip and some wine/bottled water.

And if it bothers someone, I'll hit them with the book... oh wait, it's on my kindle.. I hit them with someone else's book. HA

Jen Kershner said...

If I lived close to you I would happily come over and eat some of your cake. I might even wait til you invited me!

Nevette said...

Such words of wisdom, dear daughter. "When we can disregard the imperfections in our home to allow for true hospitality, we reveal that we care more for the person coming than for their approval of us". You do have the gift of hospitality and making everyone feel loved and welcomed!! Love you!


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