August 14, 2012

Remembering Grandma, Celebrating Julia


Tomorrow is Julia Child's 100th birthday.  Her facebook page has been having a lot of links to contests and sweepstakes to celebrate an amazing lady.  I came across this one today!

I decided to submit the following story in honor of my wonderful Grandma Ann who we lost almost a year ago.  Miss you, love you Gram!

You see, my grandma was famous for her red cake recipe; at least in our family she was.  The cake was always so fluffy and moist.  The butter and shortening icing was smooth and sweet.  She would make this cake for birthdays, Easter, or any family get-together really.  So when my cousin Missy decided to throw Gram a party for her 85th birthday, I decided I was going to make the cake all by myself.  I was diligent about measurements, timed everything perfectly and then discovered that the shortening that we had in the cupboard was a couple weeks past the expiration date.  I thought to myself “oh how bad could it be?” (I should have known better, right?) I used it anyway and my frosting ended up with a nasty stale taste. I was devastated but hoped no one would notice.  

The next morning I pulled the cake from the fridge and tasted the frosting again.  Yep, it was horrible.  I couldn’t serve this to Gram.  No way.  So I drove to the store and bought the ingredients I needed to make the cake all over again.  I rushed home and tried again with only a few hours until the party.  My mom helped me this time to make sure everything got done on time.  I put the cakes in the fridge to cool so I could ice them in time for the party.  But, with very little time I decided just to ice them when the cake was still a tad warm so we could get to the party on time.  Besides, my cousin only lived a couple of blocks away.  

Now I probably should tell you that the icing recipe was practically all fat.  It consisted of mainly butter, shortening, milk, vanilla, and sugar.  Definitely retro.  But made just right it turned into a fluffy, smooth, sugar coma- inducing delight.  But if your cake isn’t completely cool, all of that butter and fat will… you guessed it: melt.  I sat in the passenger seat with my troublesome cake in my lap.  I felt accomplished and excited to show my Grandma what I’d done.  That is, until my mom took a sharp turn into Missy’s driveway and the top layer of the cake slid into my lap.

I believe I actually started crying.  My mom helped me get the cake into the house and I was able to drive home and change.  When I returned to Missy’s my grandma hugged me and thanked me for making it.  The cake actually turned out great, despite the slightly melty frosting.  More than that, it’s a memory that my family and I still laugh about.

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