Monday, June 25, 2012

In which my husband has a birthday

I should probably start on Thursday, when I went to my in-laws' to borrow a lemon zester and then went to the grocery store to buy a lot of things, including lemons. By the time I got home I was very very tired, but that night I made lemon butter frosting anyway because I wanted some chocolate frosting and wanted to make sure there would be enough powdered sugar to go around.

(I used the lemon version of the "Orange or lemon butter frosting" alternative under the "Butter frosting" recipe in this cookbook, which is the awesomest cookbook of all time. Do not get the newer one; it's not as good. My mom got me my copy of the 1981 one on eBay for Christmas a couple years ago. Best Christmas present ever. Anyway, I made that recipe but with only 3 1/2 cups of powdered sugar [which made it plenty stiff enough] and with the regular milk instead of the alternative lemon juice because I felt like it.)

Then on Friday I woke up and after some tidying up in the kitchen started making the cake. Cake takes a really long time to make when you actually follow the directions instead of just throwing ingredients haphazardly into a bowl and mixing it all up. (That works just fine 99% of the time, by the way. But I wanted Scott's birthday cake to be perfect.) 

See? Photographic evidence that I mixed the first three ingredients separately, which I NEVER do.

And here is photographic evidence that I greased AND floured the pans, which I also never do. I didn't flour the sides, though, because at that point I was getting bored.

Exhibit C: Somewhat blurry photographic evidence of how awesomely the cakes came out. I seriously just stared at them for several minutes because they were so pretty.

(For the cake, I religiously followed the "Yellow Citrus Cake" recipe in the aforementioned cookbook, except for leaving out the orange peel, because Scott asked for a lemon cake, not a lemon/orange cake. Plus I didn't have any oranges.)

While the cakes were baking, I rested a bit, so by the time they came out of the oven I was ready to be all domestic again. So I made lemon filling (a sub-recipe under the "Yellow Citrus Cake" heading). I was going to halve the recipe because it was supposed to be for a 4-layer cake (I was NOT going to cut my pretty cakes in half; they'd have fallen apart and been horribly ruined), but then I accidentally added the full amount of water because I am forgetful like that, so I just made the whole recipe. I even divided egg yolks from whites for the FIRST TIME EVER. It was surprisingly easy.

Here is a picture of the lemon filling on the cake that got elected to be the bottom layer. 

And here is the other cake flipped on top. The crusty part stuck to the plate it was on, but the cake was actually far less damaged than it looks. Also notice the ooze of lemon filling all around the sides; I probably could have gotten away with half the filling. Oh well.

I spent pretty much the entire afternoon working on frosting the cake; I didn't even get my usual nap. Then Scott got home and we suddenly realized that we had no way of lighting the birthday candles. I was trying to make dinner and finish frosting the cake and I felt tired in general, so I had Scott call his family and ask if Eldest Younger Brother could come bring us some matches. EYB's blood sugar was spiking, though, so he couldn't come. However, Scott's mom suggested that we go to the convenience store across the street from our apartment and see if they had any matches for sale. When Scott told me this, I said, "Of course! When you go to the convenience store to buy cigarettes you need a way to light them!"

So Scott walked over and it turns out that the convenience store across the street gives away books of matches for FREE. So we could light his candles after all.

I finished frosting the cake and we had dinner and then after we'd digested our dinners we had cake and presents.

Here is the finished cake. Can you guess what it's supposed to be?

A side view of a cake slice. (I have no idea why it's leaning like that.) Yes, I actually ate a small slice of cake and liked it a lot. It doesn't taste like dessert, though.

Another cake shot. You can see Scott's arm in the background. I can't post any other pictures because they have Scott's face in them and he likes to remain mysterious.

On Saturday my family came down to visit and we all went to an amusement park together. This wasn't for Scott's birthday; it just happened to be the weekend when my dad got discount tickets through his work. Teresa presented Scott with a colored picture of a birthday cake. She colored it blue because he's a boy. Later Mom reported that Teresa rejected most of the birthday cake coloring pages on the internet because they had flowers on them, which is apparently not sufficiently boyish.

Because I love you all, I got up out of my comfy chair in the middle of writing this post and took pictures:

The manly cake.

The envelope. Teresa's handwriting is getting pretty good, isn't it?

Then on Sunday I made Scott's Official Birthday Dinner. Behold:

I overcooked the steak a bit because I live in terror of undercooking food and giving us both food poisoning. It was still delicious. Then we watched the second half of Season 4 of Angel on Netflix while Scott backed up my computer. (Backing up my computer takes a LONG time because I have a huge mess of unnecessary files on here. Scott keeps telling me that someday we're going to go through the hard drive and he's going to make me delete all the stuff I never actually use.)

I was going to say "The End" here, but then I remembered that I'm still in the process of writing Scott's birthday letter, so technically his Birthday Weekend of Awesome is kind of turning into a Birthday Week of Awesome. Don't you wish you were him?


GeekLady said...

If you use a decorating bag with a big fat round tip of about a centimeter diameter, you can pipe a ring or two of frosting around the edge of the bottom cake to use as a dam. Then put the filling in the middle, and set the next cake on top, and the filling shouldn't ooze out.

The Sojourner said...

That is brilliant. I will have to try it next time.

GeekLady said...

:-) I learned that from reading baking blogs. I think that trick is from Not So Humble Pie, she's not blogging much anymore, but her archives are worth a peruse. Joe Pastry is also worth a persue if you like pastry history and baking chemistry.

Nora Roisin said...

The cakes look like my birthday sponge cake from last year... which I was proud of. But I didn't only make it. Vicki was there to make sure I didn't learn how to make the whole recipe myself. :P

Oh, and happy birthday to the Cobbler!