Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Bakin' Away

It's been a busy baking week.  On Sunday we celebrated my youngest daughter Tricia's 29th birthday.  Memories of the day she was born are very vivid.  It was April 3, 1982, and there was a blizzard!  She had been due on March 14th and was three weeks late.  After a long, exhausting day of induced labor and no results, Tricia was born by cesarean section just after 5 p.m.  She weighed in at 9 lbs., 3 oz., and had a full head of golden blonde hair. 

Tricia's birthday dinner was chicken parmesan and eggplant parmesan, along with a tossed salad, toasted garlic bread, and -- for the finale -- a triple layer chocolate cake with fudge frosting.  It was her special request and I didn't skimp on the chocolate.  I used the Hershey's Cocoa Cake recipe on the back of the cocoa tin.  For frosting, I made a whipped chocolate ganache that decided to become more fudge than ganache half-way through the icing process.  It was all good, though, because it ended up being a stately, if not rustic, cake and Tricia loved it!  We had a nice time with Katie, Bill, and the boys, Tricia's boyfriend Jeff, and me.  Very small, but full of happy energy and birthday wishes.

Tricia with nephew Peter 4.3.11

The baking continued as I made the cake for my office's celebration party Tuesday night.  I work in a college admissions office and we recently sent out decision letters.  The amount of collaborative work that goes into the process of preparing for that day is incredible.  I wouldn't have believed how intense it was if I hadn't experienced it myself first-hand.  So, letters out the door, and a party was planned to celebrate and appreciate the hard work of so many people.  The work continues as the class of 2016 takes shape.  Last night's dinner included all our staff and their families.  I brought my daughter Katie and grandsons Henry and Peter to the party.  Henry was very excited to be there and to meet the children of my co-workers.  He had a hug for every child, fist-pumps and high-fives all around.  He decided to sit with the big kids at their dinner table, and when Katie had to crawl under the table to get him out of there, she decided it was time to exit stage right and take Henry and Peter for a ride in the car until "Grandma" was ready to leave.  They came back for me a while later. 

Celebration cake!

The cake I made for last night's dinner was a simple sheet cake -- half vanilla and half dark chocolate -- with buttercream frosting.  I made two-tone rosettes with my pastry bag and a star tip, and used a writing tip for the message and to make little curved and dotted lines.  It was a fun cake to decorate and very simple.  One day in the not-too-distant future I would like to have a class for anyone interested to learn the basics of cake decorating, starting with cupcakes.  I know it would be a lot of fun and already I've had people say they're interested. 

In the meantime, I look forward to the next cake project, and I wish you all a warm and sunshine-filled spring!

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