Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Grandma's Birthday

{Bella and I sporting our Molly-made aprons}
Yesterday would have been my grandma's 84th birthday, and it's hard to believe that it has already been 6 months since she died. Emily and Denise had the fabulous idea to bake one of her cakes in celebration of her birthday every year. Perfect. I didn't know about this plan however until about 4 pm, so I madly started searching my pantry to see what ingredients I had on hand since I wasn't about to bike over to the store for a second time. I decided to make chocolate cake with White Mountain frosting, since it is my all-time favorite and I had it for at least 24 of my first 25 birthdays. (The exception being my first when my mom made a cake with whole almonds in the frosting, causing me to choke, and grandma to quite possibly have saved my life when she gave me the Heimlich maneuver.) Since my 25th birthday I have not lived with or near someone willing to make it for me. Somehow I have made it to 29 without making it for myself I don't know know why. I didn't have the ingredients for the usual chocolate cake that accompanies the frosting, so I used this amazing cake recipe of hers. It is unsurpassed.
Bella learned to sift flour.
Disclaimer: I screwed up. I am not a total idiot in the kitchen, I swear. I do some dumb-a things sometime, but overall I think I do okay. Sometimes better. I have been taught by the best after all, and I am not new to baking. Nevertheless, it was kind of a mess. First of all, I just greased and floured my pans, I didn't use wax paper. 
So this happened to the first layer I turned out:
Not great, but if I put that layer on the bottom, face down, no one will be the wiser. 
Time to carefully turn out the second layer:
Oh good hell.
Hell's bells.
Good hell almighty.
I thought about throwing it in tribute to grandma, but I couldn't afford the time or ingredients.
Almost an entire half of the cake was ruined.
Unsalvageable, right?
I made it work.
I had already invited friends over to share the cake, so I was kind of stuck. I used a lot of licence in frosting liberally and creating illusions. What's a little extra frosting, especially when it's White Mountain? I had one great thing in my favor: My friend Trish had never even tasted a cake from scratch. How is this even possible? I can wrap my mind around never having baked a 'real' cake if I try- but never having tasted one??? There is so much wrong with that I can't even begin.
I didn't take a picture of the final product because everyone had been not so patiently waiting and needed to get to bed. 
It was de-li-cious.
If I don't mind saying. 
And I don't.
And I even pointed in out and logged it.
(18 points for 1/8th of the cake. Better than I thought actually.)
Happy Birthday Grandma.
I'm so thankful for all of the lessons she taught me and still does, both in the kitchen and out.
I love that I have someone on the 'inside' now, taking care of things and taking care of my baby.
I love that I can celebrate because I know I will see her again.


Anonymous said...

All that and no picture of your amazing recovery effort! Dang :)

I think this is a wonderful tradition and it's so fantastic it is one you can share with your girls for years and years!

emily said...

I love that you, me, and my Mom all made the same cake. And they were all delicious. So delicious. I'll probably have more for breakfast tomorrow, health be damned.

And my layers did the exact same things, though I was too frustrated to document. Some careful placement and strategic frosting did the trick, though!

michelle said...

I'm glad you were able to make a cake yesterday! (and sad that I wasn't)

I really love that Grandma has thrown a few cakes in her day and totally would have understood if you had felt the need to do that. Hooray for frosting camouflage!

I don't even know where to start on someone never having tasted a from-scratch cake. It's criminal, really, so kudos to you for rectifying that situation.

p.s. Thank you for believing my recounting of your first birthday, since no one else seems to back me up. It totally happened.

p.p.s. I have no small amount of guilt about never having made you your proper birthday cake...

Jill said...

I think this is a fabulous new family tradition!

One of the main reasons I never make cake is because of the high probability of it turning into a royal mess that I can't fix. If I make cake, I tend to make Denver sheet cake so that turning it out of the pan isn't an issue.

Trisha said...

I think I was talking too much so you never got to tell me the complete story of the cake. i was absolutely none-the-wiser and it was so super soft and yummy. better than any cake i've ever tasted. true story.

Denise said...

Thanks to Miranda, I had some Baker's Joy on hand and my layers turned out of the pans beautifully! You should look for some--it really works.

I don't mind saying that my cake was DELICIOUS, too. Perfectly baked, full layers, moist, fine crumb, etc. A fine tribute to Grandma and a great new tradition.

I have no words to express the horror at someone never having tasted a cake made from scratch. What the? . . . We're spoiled, I guess.

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