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Birthday Cake!

Today is someone’s birthday….

Well, that’s true about every day, but today it’s someone close to me….

Jacob and me

and much, much taller then he was twenty five years ago!

I found the recipe I used for his fifth birthday, so it seemed time to use it again.

First, get out the trusty 9×13 pan

13x9-pan nordicware bake and store

one with a lid…and get to work.

Chocolate Birthday Cake

2 eggs

1 ½ cups firm packed brown sugar

2 oz (2 squares) unsweetened baking chocolate, melted

2 cups sifted cake flour (like I had a 5 year old and cake flour in the house at the same time – HA!)

1 t. baking soda

½ t. salt

¼ C white vinegar

¾ C milk

1 t vanilla extract

½ C butter, softened

  1. Preheat oven to 350°
  2. Have all the ingredients at room temp
  3. Butter and flour a 13x9x2-inch pan.*(I used a pan that has its own travel lid.)
  4. Sift together flour, baking soda and salt (the Drys)
  5. Separately, combine vinegar, milk and vanilla (the Wets)
  6. In a big, deep bowl beat together eggs, brown sugar and chocolate (3 minutes by hand – 1 minute with an electric Mixer)
  7. Into the big, deep add the drys and half the wets.
  8. Beat 3 minutes by hand and or 1 minute electric.
  9. Add the rest of the wets and beat for another minute.
  10. Pour into the prepared pan.
  11. Bake for 45 minutes or until it shrinks from the sides of the pan and tests done.
  12. Cool completely and frost.

*or 2 8-inch layer cake pans

– Adapted from ‘3-Minute Fudge Cake’ in Nika Hazelton. From Nika Hazelton’s Kitchen. Viking Penguin. 1985. p. 298.

from-nika-hazeltons-kitchen

And don’t forget the candles – and some matches….

Birthday-Cakecandles closeup

Happy Birthday!

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Filed under 1990's, Birthday, Cake, Holiday, Recipe, Summer

Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day comes twice in the ancestral home – once in May, just like for everyone else,

Ma day

Although she signs her cards ‘Mom’ – we tend to call her ‘Ma’ – “Ma, Ma, Ma,” she said once, “What am I raising – children or sheep?”

and then again on the first of June.

That’s because the first of June is the anniversary of the maternal birth – that’s right –

Ma’s Birthday

Irma - my friend

My Friend Irma is not the same Irma…

Erma Bombeck - also not the same Irma

Erma Bombeck – also not the same Irma

She's the second from the left, reading to give a hand....this was from last Veteran's Day

Here’s Irma! She’s the second from the right, ready to give a hand….this was from  Veteran’s Day last year.

Time to sing "Happy Birthday" - and take a deep breath to blow out those candles!

Time to sing “Happy Birthday” – and take a deep breath to blow out those candles!

Irma B day

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Filed under Birthday, Influencers, Italian, squash, Summer

Dark and Handsome

happy birthday candles

Someone has a birthday….OK, we ALL have birthdays, whether we acknowledge them or not , but SOMEONE has a birthday today….and birthdays need cake.

Some people have particular cakes that they share for birthdays. Some people have favorites that are extra special for special occasions, but if you say, “BIRTHDAY CAKE” the only constant will be the candles. And even that isn’t always the same.

800px-Blue_candles_on_birthday_cake

Make a wish!

Birthday cake is made special by the occasion of the birthday.  But sometimes the “This Day in History” makes you want the day to go by quickly….

On January 30th

in 1649

Charles I of England was executed

charles1_execution in 1948 – Mahatma Gandhi assassinated in New Delhi
in 1968 – The Viet Cong launched begin the Tet Offensive.
in 1969 The Beatles make their last public performance. (BTW -it was so NOT Yoko’s fault) and then in 1972 – Bloody Sunday  – you get the sad and sorry picture.

So this is a day the needs cake, birthday or no birthday.

One of the cookbooks I first bought when I went out on my own (and I’m pretty sure I got this at Woolworths, no less) was

Manners Quick and easy

RuthAnn Manners and William Manners The Quick and Easy Vegetarian Cookbook .

40s-old_woolworthsPlymouth MA

Woolworth’s in downtown Plymouth a few year before I went shopping there

Woolworth’s photo from http://www.jabezcorner.com/phs63/pictures.html 

 Much of it was indeed quick and easy and also good, which wasn’t always, or even often, the case in the late 70’s and early 80’s vegetarian cookbooks. That goes for quick and easy, but especially GOOD. There was a whole lot of far too undercooked brown rice in the ’60’s and ’70’s.

Their chocolate pound cake was what my not-crazy-about-frosting brother had as his birthday cake for several years. It’s also a good anytime cake. Ice cream or whipped cream are referred to as lily-gilders by the Manners, and they’re right – it doesn’t need heavy dairy products to be good, but it can make the day much better.

They call their chocolate pound cake Dark and Handsome…..what more could a girl ask for?

Dark and Handsome

A chocolate pound cake

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350°
  2. Grease a* 8 ½ x 4 ½ x2 ½ inch loaf pan.
  3. 3.   Then in a Pyrex measuring** cup melt 1- 1 oz square unsweetened chocolate with 1 Tablespoon butter (I now use the microwave…)
  4. Sift together 1 cup AP flour, 1 cup sugar, 1 teaspoon baking powder and a pinch of salt in a bowl.
  5. Crack 1 egg into the now not so terribly hot chocolaty melt and stir it in.
  6. Add milk (approximately ¾ cup) so that the chocolate/butter/egg milk equals one cup.
  7. Add the wets to the drys and mix thoroughly – no streaks.
  8. Scrape into the greased pan.
  9. Bake about 40-45 minutes or when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  10. Cool on a rack and remove from the pan.  Serves 8. OR
  11. Eat directly from the pan with a spoon while still warm. Serves one (on a Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, which will then be made significantly better.)

*Spellcheck wants to make this a an an and I disagree.

**or melt it in a whatever/however  and scrape it into a 1 cup measure to continue OR just mix in 3/4 cup of milk with the butter, chocolate and beaten egg and call it a day.

bakers-squares-375

Walter Baker’s – local chocolate – Pa Flynn worked there – not designer or artisanal, but the one I reach for.

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Filed under Birthday, Holiday, The 1980's