So my parents got married in December of 1983, when I was seven. Yep, second marriage for my Mom and I. I’m not sure I loved the idea of my new Dad at first <more on that another time>… we had a slow beginning. Just kinda getting used to eachother.
I only mention that for the time reference. Anyhoo, we share a birthday week in October. Dad’s is the 15th and mine the 22nd. And ever since I can remember (likely starting in October 1984) my Mom and I have been trying to replicate HIS Mom’s recipe for his birthday cake. He raved about it. Devil’s food cake with white sticky frosting.
As my math reasons… I turn 45 next week so we have been trying to succeed at making this *in the best way possible and excuse my french* STUPID FUCKING frosting for 37 years now. 37 failed attempts. And I’m a baker! I bake! And I’m good at it!
So this recipe is from a book that was written at the beginning of time. It has that musty smell to it. The pages are yellowed and fragile and some stuck together. Within this artifact lies THE RECIPE my Grandma used. I believe it’s technically called seven minute frosting.
There have been years that Mom and I have high fived thinking that we finally did it! And we serve it after singing “happy birthday” like we are on a bake off game show submitting a sample to a judge. And we eagerly wait for an “mmmm” or “this is it!!!” ANYTHING like that. 37 times we have gotten “not exactly…..”
There have been years that we’ve gotten a slight smirk and a “it’s close….but not quite there yet”
It was an epic challenge. A goal. Problem with achieving a goal like this: we didn’t know what the goal was. Every year the only feedback we got was “it’s just not right” or “did you follow the recipe?” Or “the peaks aren’t right.” No clue what to do different the next time. We didn’t even know what it was SUPPOSED to taste like??!!
As I said: some years we would believe that we completely nailed it!
Then there was THE year… 1995… our 12th try…
We uhh…. We maybe were rushing?? I’m not positive WHY we spread the frosting on an uncooled cake that year… but it happened. And we could see immediately that the icing was melting. Being fall in Chicago we took it outside (Mom and I were already into the kind of laughing where peeing your pants is possible at this point so we should have known that things would only get worse…)
Then it happened: the entire cake just started falling apart! Like a natural disaster. So obviously as we were uncontrollably laughing we started sticking toothpicks in. Because THAT would fix this 🤦🏼♀️
The only thing that made us laugh harder than this shitshow of a cake was Dad’s disappointment reaction.
So… we sang ish and called it. Dad got to cut the cake.
A. Because it’s good luck
B. Because his loved ones were laughing like hyenas and taking pictures 😂
Don’t worry. Don’t worry… we did a do over cake. This time put the frosting on the side. And apparently lost a letter.
It wasn’t our best showing. Not our year, 1995. But we laughed. Even Dad. Then he ripped on us. Alot.
We never got it right. Or did we? And he just loved the critique and giving us a hard time of it all?
I know for sure in ‘95 we got it wrong. SO wrong. But we laughed about that day so often over the years.. and Dad would grin and shake his head about the time we failed SO badly.
And that failure is one of my favorite memories. 💜
I COULD continue making that cake every year. To remember Dad. But to me? That is NOT my cake and I think that frosting is super gross! 😂I’m a buttercream or cream cheese frosting girl! 🎂🎂🎂