Birthday Cake

I have the privilege of making the birthday cake for my granddaughter’s second birthday party. What to make? I had recently organized some photos and found some of my daughter and there was one of her third birthday and the cake I made then. And it is in the shape of my granddaughter’s favorite word: cat!

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1986

This is right out of Betty Crocker. I don’t remember making neither the cake from scratch, nor the frosting but this time it will be. But it is not easy to decide on which cake recipe to make. I am thinking that the cake made for son-in-law’s birthday was a bit denser than I would like for this cake. Perhaps I should just use a Betty Crocker recipe for a white or yellow cake. Food for thought!

So I decide to peruse my Mom’s recipe notebook, the one with her typed recipes and clippings. I have only used two of the recipes in the cake section, Best Ever Chocolate and Mayonnaise. What else is there? There is a booklet published in 1967 by the Betty Crocker company, whoever they may be, all about the perfect cake from scratch and mix.

There is even a quiz on the back to rate your cake. How cool is that! I also found a description of the “regular way” for mixing a cake. This is your standard cream butter and sugar, add eggs one at a time, sift dry ingredients together and add alternating with the milk. Now I just need to find a description of the “mix easy” method.

afterThanksgivingCakeHumility 015In preparation to make the “old fashioned” cake from the Betty Crocker booklet, I need to make my own cake flour. Every once and a while I will buy this stuff, but rarely, and I do not have any on hand at the moment. This is easy to do. Replace two tablespoons of each cup of flour with cornstarch. Sift thoroughly. This particular cake recipe makes it easy. Just replace the ¼ cup with cornstarch and use two cups of regular all-purpose flour. Pretty handy dandy, I’d say.

Making the cake: ah hah! This is the “modern method”, one bowl, super quick! Mix together all the dry ingredients. Add exactly 2/3 of the milk, the shortening/butter and flavorings and beat for 2 minutes, or 300 strokes. Add the two unbeaten eggs and the rest of the liquid and beat for another 2 minutes. Pour batter into pans and bake 30 minutes at 350 F. There is a footnote in the booklet that says to add cocoa and baking soda, if the recipe calls for it, with the dry ingredients.

Looks nice in and out of the pans. I used baking spray with flour added so the one cake did not turn out of the pan perfectly. Luckily I will frost these and that should take care of that.

Decorating the cake is a challenge. I could not find licorice whips just twizzlers. I could pull those apart…or buy thin pretzel sticks for the whiskers. I am using vanilla wafers for the eyes and paws as that is what I did 30 years ago. Perhaps using frosting pens to draw the nose, mouth, and outline the ears and paws. I finally chose to use red pull apart Twizzlers. I make a chocolate pudding type frosting and then decorate.

Voila!skylarbirthday 001

Like mother, like daughter!

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Making Do! A lesson in humility

I interrupt my next planned blog on birthday cake to write about unplanned, unwanted events. First of all “It could be worse.” I am on the first full day of hobbling around on crutches with an air-boot on my right foot. afterThanksgivingCakeHumility 020This is my driving foot so I am housebound and dependent on others to get out of the house. I am very blessed to have the world’s best hubby to watch over and take care of me. However I am not used to relying on others and this is an ongoing life lesson for me.

I am not feeling sorry for myself. People have much worse events and conditions to live with, some for all their lives. So, I have to harness my Mom’s “make do” spirit and make do!

To explain, I fell. I busted (is that the proper word?) my upper lip and chin and broke my ankle. It happened very quickly and I was not able to catch myself before hitting my face.

So now I have learned what a fat lip looks and feels like. When my coworkers looked at my face they saw what I only saw looking in the mirror, which I don’t do often. Went and got the medical care needed and here I sit. When the pain lessens I hobble around the house on crutches; I go up and down the stairs on my butt like a two year old, and I wheel myself around the house on my sewing machine chair which has wheels. I am grateful that I have hardwood floors as maneuvering in the chair would be much harder on carpet.

I am supposed to be making a birthday cake for granddaughter’s birthday party this weekend. My kitchen is not scaled to chair level but I can stand with the crutches. Maybe I’ll tackle that tomorrow.

Hubby set out chicken thighs to thaw for dinner tonight. I saw a chicken recipe on the Food Network site, http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/melissa-darabian/roasted-garlic-clove-chicken-recipe.html ,that looked tasty as well as on another blogger’s site. https://cookingforthetimechallenged.wordpress.com/2015/12/03/grilled-chicken-cutlets/

This is my adaptation/combination/inspiration from these two recipes.

I’ve got 6 chicken thighs, mostly without skin. I juice and zest ½ lemon. This is my favorite old time citrus juicer. It is from my Mom. It is a WearEver Aluminum, made in the U.S.A.

I use ¼ cup canola oil, and about a teaspoon of Herbs de Provence. Oh, and a clove of garlic. Swirl that all together with ¼ chopped onion and pour in the Ziploc bag with the chicken. Fiddle around with it to get the marinade all around the chicken.afterThanksgivingCakeHumility 026 Place back in fridge and wait for dinner time. I will cook these in my 10 inch cast iron skillet. The rest of dinner will be baked sweet potatoes, and green beans.

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And dinner is served.

 

I can do all of this from my “wheeled” chair and crutches! That’s called Making Do!