My husband celebrates his birthday on January 10, a day that comes on the heels of a big season of celebrating ~ Christmas, New Year’s Eve, our Anniversary. It arrives before the tiniest bit of breathing room, and we celebrate two of our children at the end of the month.
He has always been gracious and low-maintenance about his day. His only request is the cake. It is a chocolate layer cake with three textures ~ cake layers, mousse middle, and ganache frosting. It is divine.
This year, with all of the busyness, he said, You don’t have to make the cake. I will just pick out a cake at Costco.
Now Costco has wonderful cakes, but I wrestled with the fact that the cake is one of the few special things I do for his birthday, and I really wanted to bake it, as always. I made up my mind to just do it.
Mixing up the wet ingredients, then the dry ones to add to the batter, I realized that I had measured the wrong amount of salt. I haven’t baked for awhile! was running through my head.
Dumping the dry ingredients into the trash, I measured again, carefully this time, and continued with the recipe. I poured beautiful batter into greased and lined pans. They baked while I began the mousse filling.
Pulling the pans from the oven, my first thought was, I don’t remember the layers looking so flat, but there are a lot of things I don’t remember that turn out fine. I continued.
Cooling the cake, I fluffed up the mousse and frosted between the layers. It was time to mix up the ganache and pour it over the top of the cake. This plate that I have the cake on makes it look really small. I’m sure it’s fine, though. No one will notice.
Smoothing the thick chocolate over the top and letting it drip down the sides of the layers, I returned the cake to the fridge to rest for the evening. It would be ready for the birthday celebration the following day.
Why does that cake look so small? exclaimed my little noticing truth-teller, the minute she opened the fridge the next morning. So it wasn’t just me. The wheels in my head began turning, and doubt that I had added baking soda during the second mixing settled firmly.
I thought it looked a little small, too, added the one whose birthday was being celebrated, but I’m sure it will still taste good.
The tearburst that followed caught us both off guard, as I sat crying about so many things, the least of which was the cake but also about the cake.
That’s what found us lighting candles and singing “Happy Birthday” at 8:30 on a Sunday morning in January. Because sometimes you start with the cake.
It was delicious. A little dense, but oh so tasty. Happy Birthday, Steve! Top o’ the morning to you!