May Flowers


By Barbara Crady Whitley

Oh, those Southern ladies with their hats on Mother’s Day! Two pivotal women in my life were capable, as few are, of wearing their hats with grace and aplomb.

In a long-ago photo, before we all captured images on our phones and one could actually hold a photo in a hand, my mother, style maven that she was, stands with me and my brother, one hand lovingly resting on my shoulder and the other tweaking my brother’s ear (he was suffering the 12-year old’s indignity at being so close to his pest of a little sister.)

Our clothes had been made by Najgy, my mother, but she had splurged on hats for me and her. Mine was adorned with some flirty little silk blossom, very little girly, but my mother’s was a fantasy concoction (refined, of course) of tulle and blossoms and ribbons. I thoughts she looked like something from and Arthurian legend; she wore the hat with a regalness that few other women could muster. My brother, on the other hand, looks as if he were wishing the earth would swallow him up. To this day, he disavows that it was actually he in the photo. A changeling perhaps!

The other is my first sister-in-love, Pat. In this memory, just as she and my older brother were beginning their life-long love affair and marriage, she is standing in front of their home in beautiful Charleston, S.C. as she awaits the arrival of her dashing suitor, Luther. Why this memory includes me is so unfathomable, other than that was during the summer I visited my brother at his first parsonage and he had nothing else to do with me except drag me along on their date. Yet, in my teen-aged eyes, she also looked similar to Queen Guinevere—tall, regal, self-composed, soft-spoken and totally oblivious (I thought) to the idea of my tagging along on their date. From that day, I have loved her without reservation, even though in the Crady family, she and my husband have always been lovingly referred to as “the outlaws”.

When she and my brother were married not long after that first date, she, in turn, made me feel like a princess when she asked me to be an attendant at their ceremony. I even wore glass slippers down that long aisle at the church in North Charleston. Actually they were lucite, but what a wonder they were.

Here at Crady’s Eclectic Cuisine on Main, I often will make “hat” cakes to recognize, in a small part, the mothers who come to dine with us on mother’s Day.

Use your favorite butter recipe cake batter.

In a pizza pan, place enough of the batter, to within an eighth of the rim. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Use a 1 and ¼ quart heat-safe bowl for the remainder of the batter. Use the same technique to test done-ness. When both cakes are cooled completely, place the domed cake on the flatter cake in the center. Use some buttercream to adhere the dome to the flat layer

For buttercream frosting:

To 1 and ½ lbs. of unsalted butter, add 1 lb. of 10X confectioner’s sugar and beat until completely mixed and lightened in color

You can now use this to cover the two cakes.

Color can be added to some for additional trimming and making fanciful Mother’s Day cake hats. Edible flowers are a nice touch as is ribbon.

Crady’s Eclectic Cuisine on Main will have miniature versions of these confections during the month of May.

My rascally brother may even want one!