The good thing about making a cake ahead of time is that you can check it off your list and not get all embarassed showing up at the party with the ingredients in a bag. The not so good thing is if the cake has been waiting for you to slice into it since yesterday, and it’s not fully cooked. I hate when that happens.
And you know what? If you’re traveling hours to family you only see once a year, and you are trying to make a good impression, trying to at least impress upon them that you can bake a cake for God’s sakes after 14 years in the business, forget about making a cake that could undercook. Any recipe can be poured into 3 or even 4 pans instead of one. Layer them with cream and fresh fruit and serve a side of caramel sauce that you make by melting half a cup of sugar in a heavy pan, stirring just until it melts and then as soon as it begins to melt not at all–just tip the pan around a bit–wait for it to go deep amber, then (carefully) pour in a a few tablespoons of fresh orange juice. Cool. I pass on these tidbits of information, not because I have any hope of learning myself, but I have high, high hopes for you.
For dinner we had a pot luck of fresh swordfish on the grill, a roasted corn salad, a warm pasta salad Sicilian style with black and green olives, fried onions, sundried tomatoes, capers and I would say balsamic and fresh basil from my cousin’s daughter’s new boyfriend, a potato salad with olive oil, vinegar and fresh herb from my Aunt Faye, a string bean salad with red peppers from my sister Elizabeth, amazing shrimp and vegetable fresh spring rolls that my sister Emily said took her 14 hours to make, and a mouth watering jewel of a rhubarb strawberry pie with a lattice top from my cousin’s daughter.