My birthday is fast approaching and for once, I don't really care.
I know I need to plan something because I'll feel even worse and more blah if I don't surround myself with activity and friends, and of course, birthday cake.
Birthday cake. For a couple of years I instisted that I and I alone would bake my birthday cake. And I made some fabulous cakes.
When I turned 30 I made two cakes, and my sister, who had flown up here to spend the big three-oh with me, tried to help but I kept kicking her out of the kitchen because she was either in my way or not doing it right. Nice, huh.
We learned from mom that the best way to help her cook was to get the hell out of the way. I definitely inherited that attitude when it comes to baking...
When I turned 31 I had a Mad Hatter Tea Party and I baked a cake with two tiers. I made everybody wear a hat and recite a poem or sing a dirty song. I even thought about forbidding coherent speech. It rained that day so we had the tea party in my basement.
Last year when I turned 32 we went to this Persian restaurant (unremarkable food) and listened to live middle eastern music and watched some egyptian cabaret bellydancers perform. One of the Jellos ordered a hookah (vanilla cherry) and it turned out to be quite nice. I decided I wanted an ice cream cake from Baskin Robbins like I used to as a kid: chocolate cake with mint chocolate chip on one half and gold medal ribbon on the other. SOOOO good. Not enough leftovers.
This year I am thinking of another B&R cake, because, duh, Gold Medal Ribbon. But I also think, what if I made my own ice cream cake?
And then I look at how messy the kitchen is and I think, maybe I'll just order the cake...
May 27 2003
Occasion: Jen’s 30th birthday
Name of Cake: Its All About The Cake
Cake #1: alcoholic version (based on cake bible’s star spangled rhapsody)
One layer bittersweet cocoa almond genoise, split, w/ grand marnier syrup
Two choc meringue discs
Center layer filled with chocolate whipped cream and halved fresh strawberries
Other layers and frosting grand marnier mousseline butter cream
Halved strawberries for the top
Cake #2: teetotaler version
Same cake, w/ sugar syrup
Same whipped cream and strawberries
Mousseline butter cream made with frozen orange juice concentrate
Halved strawberries for the top
Dude, bad foreshadowing when Michele put on the evite “its all about the cake.” She came up to spend my 30th with me and we spent the whole dang weekend baking freakin cakes!!
I made a double batch of grand marnier mousseline butter cream—somehow we filled it too thickly, or something?
The genoise was really difficult to make. I don’t think I pureed the almonds enough to be fine enough to substitute for flour. The cakes were dense and fudgy. When I split them, I did a shitty job. One of them kind of fell apart. Frosting to the rescue!
The meringue discs weren’t so hard to make but they were time consuming. And I had to drive all over town to get the right pastry tube and tip. Ended up in Tigard and Michele slept in the car while I shopped. Sorry Michele! They also took forever to dry out, but they were awesome once finished.
The butter cream was another drama. The stuff is really like the book says: it starts out looking like a disaster but with enough beating it transforms into this silky wonderful frosting. Still, the second batch of alcoholic frosting didn’t ever seem to coagulate completely. Maybe too much liquor? I actually kind of liked the orange juice concentrate frosting a little more. It turned out a darker color too. Good thing, too. But wow, that frosting holds up well in warm temperatures. I didn’t need to worry about the frosting melting like I do with neoclassic buttercream.
Michele tried to help out, but I kept interfering with her jobs. She just wasn’t being as freakishly anal as I would have liked her to be. (sorry Michele!)