My daughter, Giselle, was once asked, “Why is your mother baking muffins at midnight?”
Giselle shrugged her shoulders, and answered, “I dunno. She just always bakes at that time.”
Maybe it’s because I worked midnights for decades that I still get a burst of energy at that time. Or maybe I’m simply craving muffins! I just bake whenever the mood strikes.
But recent nighttime baking was for a special occasion—a birthday cake for my daughter, Monique. My 2021 New Year’s resolution was to bake cakes for our family birthdays. We always loved the cakes we bought from the grocery store (Sobeys), but I wanted to challenge myself. Branch out, try new recipes, become a better baker!
In March, I baked a Bacardi Rum Bundt cake. Decadent!
In April, the recipe for Heavenly Strawberry Angel Food Cake Roll was tried. Lived up to its name.
For August, Giselle wanted a Cherry Chip boxed cake mix (brought back memories from her childhood) for her daughter’s second birthday. She gave me free rein to decorate it as I pleased. Oreo cookie crumbs became garden soil and flowers were fashioned out of assorted candies.
In September, Giselle asked for April’s Angel Food Cake Roll but with cream cheese frosting and real whipped cream filling instead of Cool Whip. I aimed to please!
I admit I struggled to find the perfect cake for Monique’s birthday. A chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting between the layers with chocolate frosting on top was her birthday request. I saw a recipe called Insane Peanut Butter Cup Cake. The garnish consisted of 12 chopped full-size peanut butter cups and 2 ¼ cups mini chocolate chips. Yes, that was insane. For one slice (1/16th of the cake), the nutritional info chart showed 971 calories and 143 carbs. And who eats 1/16th of a cake, haha? I decided to chose from cake recipes that didn’t list the nutritional info.
I ended up choosing parts from three separate recipes: a chocolate cake, peanut butter frosting, and chocolate buttercream frosting.
All was going well. The cake looked superb coming out of the oven. The peanut butter frosting was super smooth as I had sifted the icing sugar. Only the chocolate frosting remained to be made. Then it happened…my sifter broke. My ancient sifter resembled a mug with a handle that was squeezed repeatedly to sift. It was in pieces!
For five minutes, I was quite disappointed. Great effort had been put forth to make each cake perfect, and baking is not my forte. The chocolate buttercream frosting would just have to be lumpy. How did I so quickly let go of my perfectionism?
Well, the word lumpy brought back memory of an article I clipped long ago.
Robert Fulghum’s words had such an impact on me that I remembered them twenty years later. Basically, that life is lumpy. And lumps in frosting are definitely not worth worrying about! I finished making the frosting. It was past 1 am. I would frost the cake tomorrow.
I opened the fridge and with slippery hands (from the icing sugar), I moved a glass bowl of hardboiled eggs to make room in the fridge. The glass bowl crashed to the ceramic floor, and shattered glass and eggs were everywhere! Still, a small thing to worry about, I told myself. Life is lumpy, alright! I vacuumed the floor twice so no toddler or dog would cut themselves on glass in the morning.
The next day, the cake came together easily. My daughter and her boyfriend declared it the best cake ever! They even asked for the recipes. Oh, won’t they be surprised to read the cake was merely a doctored-up cake mix. Duncan Hines Chocolate Fudge Cake with ¾ cup of oil, ¾ cup of milk, 4 eggs, 1 cup of sour cream, a teaspoon of vanilla and a chocolate pudding mix added to it.
Try it for your next birthday cake!