It was my brother's birthday recently! Happy Birthday Brother of mine! First of all, check out this photo editing:
|I blogged about my brother, the King Of All Pests, HERE|
Hooray! Here's my brother and little me. How old am I in this picture....4 maybe?
And now, thanks to the magic of computers, check this out:
Seriously--is it not amazing what a little online photo touch-up program can do? Thanks Picnik. No, they're not paying me or anything to say that, but I was feeling all smoochy toward their program after I worked some magic over an old, yellowed 1970's photie.
So, because it was my brother's birthday, I made his favourite cake, which is a sour cream "coffee" cake. It is an oldish recipe that we have that my Mom always used to make. It's a moist, yellow cake with a layer of brown sugar cinnamon candied nut heaven in the middle.
|a good recipe is always splattered with something|
This is my bro's favourite cake. It's not overly sweet, and not covered in icing, but dusted lightly with powdered sugar. So, now that my Mom is gone, I have made this cake for the past two birthdays.
I have to tell you, I love making the cake for my brother, but I don't love making the cake. I feel like I'm not supposed to be the one making this cake, and damned if the thing is just different enough to not be like my Mom's. This reminds me of a small story a woman I know told me about how her mother used to make the most wonderful Christmas puddings and cakes and things, when she was alive, and try as she might to recreate them, they just never came out the same.
Somewhere along the road to just-about-asleep one night, I had this sleepy, dreamy thought that maybe the secret ingredient is not the flour the person used, or how precisely or imprecisely they measured, or even the difference in their cake pans--maybe the secret ingredient is the person themselves. Does this make sense? It made so much sense in bed that night after a day of just being sad.
My sister's favourite cake is a black forest cake. Is that supposed to be Capitalized...hrm... Anyhow, whatever the Black Forest Cake is supposed to really be like, traditionally, this is how we always ate it: layer of chocolate cake, layer of cherries in the middle, another layer of chocolate cake, thick, fudgey chocolate icing on the outside and whipped cream on the top. Maybe there was a third layer of cake and another layer of cherries as well....
How can I not remember? My Polish Grandma made this cake ALL THE TIME. It was my Grandfather's favourite. Dear Grandma, please forgive me when I say it was never MY favourite cake because of you. Grandma's slice of black forest weighed approximately 100 pounds, and she'd cut the biggest slice possible and hand that over to me with a giant glass of whole milk. That was nearly impossible for a little kid to finish, and believe me, if I didn't finish it, this surely meant the cake was no good, and clearly I didn't like it. And so, struggle I did.
My Dad's favourite cake used to be a white-as-snow white Duncan Hines beauty with vanilla icing. Actually, I used to LOVE a "box cake". I thought there was nothing wrong with a mix until I started mastering the homemade cake, and now I think there's nothing better than a good cake from scratch.
When I was a kid, I used to always ask for a "white cake with chocolate icing." Then I loved the box "cherry chip" cake. Then one year my Mom made the Ina Garten coconut cake, and that was it. That was my favourite. Mom added a thin layer of raspberry jam in between cake and coconut icing layers to cut down the "richness" of the cake.
Damn. That's one freaking good cake. Seriously, you may have a heart attack immediately after finishing your slice, but OMG PEOPLE.
I have decided as I get older that I don't love birthday parties as much anymore. Oh, don't get me wrong--a few cocktails and I'll always belt out the Thelma Houston, but now I just kinda think that birthday parties were much more fun when I was a kid.
So, I leave you with a memory of my very first real birthday party. It was my kindergarten party, and my entire class was invited, because Mom thought it was most fair to invite EVERYONE. It was MAYHEM. Picture kids running around, a free-for-all with my new toys in the GOOD LIVING ROOM on the red, gold and green shag carpet. One kid was taking my slinky dog for a walk. Slinky dog promptly got snagged in the shag, his coils were bent and he was pretty much garbage after that. One kid was so shy he just sat in the tv room and watched cartoons, too freaked to join his manic classmates. My friend Matt was running around the entire house, up the stairs, down the stairs, upstairs, around the bedrooms, and then he slipped and knocked his head on the bedpost of my brother's bed. He was calm after that.
I thought it was great.
I think my Mom was burnt.
I didn't have another birthday party with classmates for a loooooooong time after that. That party might have been in grade 8 and involved some really pathetic games of Truth Or Dare, and some kissing. I seem to have forgotten ;)
So...Do YOU have a favourite birthday cake?