The very first cake that I ever made was for him. Mom helped me pour the mix into a tiny blue plastic bowl; part of the Easy-Bake Oven kit Santa had left. I stood on a chair to reach the cold water necessary to stir into the batter. I watched breathlessly as it miraculously baked from the heat of a light bulb. I swirled on the glue-like frosting, sprinkled on the ‘cake glitter’ included in the package and waited. It was his twenty fifth birthday. I was five years old. He played hockey that afternoon. Mom was making a special birthday supper when his car pulled into the driveway. I heard her scream when the back door opened. He’d been hit in his left eye with a puck. His eyelid was the size of a goose’s egg and there was blood everywhere. Mom cleaned him up, sat him in the living room rocking chair and gave him a bag of ice to put on his swollen eye. I stood back quietly watching. He told mom that he didn’t feel like eating supper. I knew the only thing that could possibly make him feel better was his birthday cake. I carefully took it from it’s hiding place and tiptoed into the living room.
He lifted his painfully swollen and bruised face from it’s icy resting place and smiled at me from ear to ear.
I realized while I was making his year’s cake this year that I’ve made more birthday cakes for him than anyone else in my life. His accident last winter made this year’s cake, while not as exciting as the first cake that I made for him, far more emotional. I couldn’t push away the thought of without him. The five year old me had a life time of birthday cakes to make for him ahead of her. Half a century later changes everything except his huge smile as I carried his cake to the table.
VANILLA LAYER CAKE WITH CHOCOLATE FROSTING
Makes 2 – 8 inch round cakes
Preheat oven 350*F
- 1 cup butter, room temperature, it needs to be really soft
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 3 cups sifted all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup buttermilk
- Arrange rack in center of oven.
- Butter two 8 x 2-inch round cake pans; line the bottom of each pan with parchment paper then dust bottoms and sides with flour; tap out any excess.
- In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- In a large mixing bowl, cream butter on high speed until whipped, 1 to 2 minutes.
- Gradually add granulated sugar, beating on high speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes.
- Scrape bowl with a rubber spatula then slowly add eggs, a little at a time, beating continuously for 5 minutes; scrape down sides when required.
- Beat in vanilla.
- Alternate flour mixture and buttermilk, a little of each at a time, beating slowly until everything is in the bowl and the batter is creamy.
- Pour batter evenly between the prepared pans.
- Check cake at 40 minutes by inserting a cake tester into the centre of one cake. It should come out clean.
- Transfer the cakes to a wire cooling racks for 15 minutes.
- Remove cakes from their pans and place them back on the cooling rack until completely cool.
- Using a serrated knife, slice each layer in half horizontally.
- Fill each layer with about 2/3 cups of chocolate frosting.
- Spread frosting thinly around the sides.
- Use the rest of the frosting for the top.
- Sprinkle with gold stars. [optional]
THE LOVE: Brush away any crumbs from the sides and tops of the cakes to keep them from ending up in your frosting.
Enough to frost a 4 layer 8 inch round cake
- 5 cups icing sugar
- ¾ cup best quality cocoa
- 1 cup soft butter
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 2/3 cup whole milk
- Place all of the ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
- Beat on low until the ingredients are combined then increase to high.
- Beat until frosting is light and fluffy.
- Add more milk if necessary, but only a teaspoon at a time.
THE LOVE: Remember you can always add more milk if necessary, but you can’t take it out. Add additional milk in drips, if necessary.
Thanks for reading.