A few weeks ago, I was honored to throw a baby shower for my sister Kelsey. Her and her hubby Jordan are expecting their first baby in August. We are patiently waiting for the first Smith cousin for Huntley! The shower was a wonderful success; great food, great company and an amazing location.
I was lucky enough to host the shower at my aunt Christine’s house in Keystone, South Dakota. Her house backs up to the 1880’s train that runs from Hill City to Keystone. It was a real treat to enjoy lunch and games down by her wonderful waterfall and creek, all while waving to the passerby’s on the steam engine 1880’s train!
I enjoyed planning this baby shower, in part due to the fun theme; Woodlands Baby. The shower was everything woodlands – acorns, lanterns, trail mix, pine trees, babbling brooks, wildflowers, and baby animals galore!
Our menu consisted of a watermelon baby carriage (mom-to-be request), owl veggie tray, woodlands animal crackers, porcupine cheese dip, broccoli salad, and sandwiches. The baby shower showcase was the lemon-thyme vanilla cake with cream cheese buttercream.
These cakes were so delectable and the cream cheese frosting made for the perfect finish to the strong vanilla flavoring. I frosted these “naked” as I thought it looked appropriate in the forrest with the family of deer and added garnishes of fresh thyme to pull in our woodlands element and the thyme flavor.
After the shower I got to snap a few photos of my sister, so that she will always remember her cute baby bump. It is so fun to watch my little sister in this special moment in her life. I can remember the months leading up to having Huntley where you prepare for every little moment, but nothing prepares you for the amount of love that is coming your way, until you hold that sweet baby in your arms. Baby Ellis will be here before we know it!
Lemon-Thyme Vanilla Cake
3 c. sifted cake flour
2 c. sugar
4 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
5 large egg whites
1 whole egg
1 c. whole milk
2 1/4 t. pure vanilla extract
2 t. lemon juice
2 T. thyme, minced
3/4 c. unsalted butter
CREAM CHEESE BUTTERCREAM
1 c. salted butter, softened
1/2 c. shortening
16 ounces of cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 T. vanilla extract
4 pounds confectioners sugar
*1/2 t. salt (if you use unsalted butter)
Prepare Cake: Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and line 3 6-inch cake pans or 2 8-in cake pans with parchment paper. In a large bowl, whisk together egg whites, egg, milk, and vanilla extract. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the dry ingredients together on low speed. Gradually add in cold butter and continue to mix until mixture is a fine, crumbly texture. Add the liquid mixture to the dry ingredients in separate batches, making sure to scrape down the sides each time. Mix in the lemon juice and minced thyme. Mix until light and fluffy. Divide batter evenly into pans and bake for 25-35 minutes. Check with a cake tester to ensure the cake is done baking.
Prepare Frosting: In a mixing bowl with paddle attachment cream together shortening and butter. Mix until creamy. Add in cut up cream cheese and vanilla and blend again. Then a little a time add confectioners sugar. Turn on high for 15 minutes to make frosting smooth and fluffy.