People with December birthdays feel like they belong to a different club. Some may get shortchanged because everybody is focused on Christmas. I even had one Aunt tell me that she couldn’t get me much for my birthday because it was almost Christmas and she had to buy me something for that too. I was nine. I understand the financial pinch, I really do. What would I have preferred? To be given whatever gift was affordable with happiness and sincere wishes for a happy birthday.
So, you can imagine that I wasn’t a big fan of having a December birthday as a child. Also, my mom always made me take candy canes to school to pass out to the class for my birthday treat. She said it was festive. I have nothing against candy canes. I just wanted to take cupcakes like all the other kids. On the bright side, I was always allowed to put up the Christmas tree on my birthday which made me exceedingly happy!
My little brother was born the day after my sixteenth birthday. My birthday is December 9th and his is the 10th. Thereafter, we always shared a birthday cake. For my eighteenth birthday we had a Cookie Monster cake. I was not delighted.
But then you grow up and things change. You can make your birthday into whatever you want it to be. These days I enjoy the fact that my brother and I have such close birthdays. In fact, now I refer to it as our birthday and I think it’s awesome. Having a celebration for two people seems almost like a holiday! And it ensures that I see my brother which is always a wonderful thing. It will be especially appreciated this year. Last year we met outdoors at a park and maintained social distance because of Covid. It was better than nothing. This year we are gathering at my brother’s place, and you better believe there will be hugging!
I also think it is pretty cool that so many people put up lights and decorations for our birthdays! You can see them all over town as you drive around. Just kidding. But it is a blessing to be able to see so many pretty displays as you are celebrating your birthday. Over the years I have grown to think that maybe the children of December have the best birthdays of all.
I was looking for a coffee cake recipe that didn’t require butter. I couldn’t find one so I adapted my old standby muffin recipe. The cake turned out to be exactly what I had in mind.
Muffin recipe transformed to cake follows. Double the recipe above so there is sufficient volume for a Bundt pan. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. (I made adjustments to the time and temperature to accommodate a cake. )
First, combine the wet ingredients:
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup liquid-I used vanilla almond milk
2/3 cup oil
2 teaspoons vanilla
Whisk the above ingredients until thoroughly combined.
Sift together the dry ingredients.
2 1/3 cups flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
Add to wet ingredients and stir just until mixed. Then I greased a Bundt pan and added chopped walnuts to the bottom of the pan. Approximately 1/2 cup.
Then I folded the following into the batter.
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
Pour the batter into the pan. Place in oven for approximately 45 minutes. Remove from oven when toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 5-10 minutes. Turn cake out onto a large plate. Allow cake to cool completely.
You could consider the cake done at this point. I decided to add an orange glaze. To do this I mixed together the following:
Juice of 1/2 an orange
1 teaspoon orange zest
1/2 cup confectioners sugar
Blend these three ingredients to desired consistency. Add more juice if you want to thin the glaze. Add more sugar to thicken.
Use a spoon to drizzle the glaze over the cooled cake.
And you are done! Enjoy the cake with a scoop of ice cream on the side, or just with a warm cup of tea.
Yesterday was my first attempt at making a white cake from scratch. That’s what my husband requested for his birthday this year. This picture shows the six egg whites beaten until stiff and ready to fold into the rest of the batter.
I iced it with the requested buttercream frosting. It turned out pretty well, if I do say so myself. It involved 3/4 of a pound of butter. No wonder it was tasty.
When I bake cakes, I generally use a box mix as the base and make flavor additions and adjustments. I will be trying other cakes from scratch in the future.
Now to find something to do with those six egg yolks!
This was our Easter dessert made from what we had on hand since we are limiting trips out during our state’s stay at home order.
I had a box of yellow cake mix on the shelf. I added the grated zest from one orange before baking.
I had the ingredients for vanilla buttercream frosting. Butter, vanilla, powdered sugar and almond milk. I jazzed it up a little with some almond extract.
I took some orange marmalade from the fridge and used it as a filling between the cake layers. After frosting the cake, I garnished it with some strawberries from a local produce wholesaler. During this time of unusual circumstances, this seller will let you order and pay for produce on-line. Then when you go to pick it up, they put it in your trunk for you. No human contact!
And cake makes every day better. Hope your Easter was blessed.
As I’ve mentioned, my husband puts on a Valentine’s dinner for the family every year. This year was rather challenging trying to pull it all together. In the morning I was vacuuming the house and discovered that the drum filter had slipped on the vacuum so was not seated properly. This allowed dust to blow into the air. My husband is allergic to dust. Not a good time.
After that, normal preparations continued and arrival of the first guests was scheduled for four o’clock. At 1:30 pm, the power went out. Most of the food was ready, so we waited. At 3:30 there was still no power so we moved the location to my mother in law’s. As soon as we finished loading up the five course dinner, our power came back on. The truck from the electric company was still parked down the street so we opted to stick with taking the dinner elsewhere.
We spent a large portion of the week preparing and cleaning with no one to appreciate it. In a couple more weeks this will probably seem quite humorous. Hey, at least there was cake!