Tomorrow is my 29th birthday. I can’t believe how old I am, not only because I still feel like a child on the inside, but because it has gone so fast. I thought i would share with you memories, life lessons, and some cake (obviously).
My earliest memory is having my picture taken with my dad and sister standing next to my dad’s car. My dad was shirtless, as he often was in pictures from that era. Having kids must make you warm all the time. I believe the car was a shade of green you only find today in hipster furniture.
When I was a kid I used to hold a tape recorder up to the television to record shows I wanted to listen to later. So, I basically invented the iPod.
Sometimes life gets real and sticks with you for a while. In the ten years I spent as a lifeguard I had one close call where the kid might not have made it. I think about that little girl every now and then, how she must be like seventeen by now, and wonder what she’s doing and if she even knows how fragile her life is.
After hearing that there’s a Boy Meets World reboot in the works I can’t help but watch the reruns on MTV2. I also can’t help but wonder if Shawn and Topanga’s lips hurt from being so big. Big lips must have been popular in the 90s.
High school is so short in the span of life. Even if you add in middle school, its just a fraction of who you’re going to be. Don’t peak as a teenager and don’t let a cruddy high school experience make you think life is always going to be like that. God made you the way you are and there are people who are going to know that and love you because of (or in spite of) that for the rest of your life. Things are about to get really good.
I will never be as emotionally invested in a tv show as I was with LOST, if only because I can’t afford the therapy. The Walking Dead keeps trying to get in my head and I just. can’t. take. it. So stressful.
On a related note, the final episode of LOST made me feel better about dying than 28 years of church ever did. I don’t mean that I believe the theology of LOST over the Bible. I just mean that if you’re following Jesus Christ you don’t need to be afraid of dying because once you get to Heaven its going to be so awesome that everything that happened on earth and everything you’re missing in the future won’t matter at all.
Being a human being in 2012 is busy. There will always be something else to do. Life will fill the void. Make sure you’re prioritizing and enjoying the beauty of things around you instead of putting on a front for other people. Sometimes its ok to play with your kids instead of sweeping the floor.
I have the most fleeting memory of being in my grandmother’s house eating a cake bathed in gooey caramel. No one else in my family remembers this cake. Perhaps it only happened once but made a great impression on me. I decided that for once this year instead of eating the usual chocolate cake and butter sauce or Boston cream pie, I would step outside the box and try to recreate this magical mystery cake.
I started by leafing through my grandmother’s recipe box. There’s a Norman Rockwell print on the top and none of the salad recipes involve leafy greens. Its all very nostalgic.
I found a cake and frosting recipe that I thought sounded right, however the instructions were rather vague. I decided to just go for it, and you know what? It turned out great. What I’m sharing below is exactly how I went about executing the recipe. While there might be a “better” way to do things (add the eggs one at a time, alternate wet and dry ingredients) this is how I did it and enjoyed the cake to the last crumb.
The original recipe also calls for adding 1 cup of chopped nuts to the cake batter. I’m not really a nuts-in-baked-goods kind of gal, but if you are I’d say go for it.
While making the caramel there was a point where I thought I was going to have to start over. It was runny and too terribly sweet. I added more butter and let it cool, and bada bing! Perfect caramel emerged.
I used two plates while taking pictures to make it seem like I was enjoying this with someone else and not eating two pieces of cake alone standing over the sink. I did share eventually. But hey, its my birthday and I’ll eat two pieces of cake if I want.
For the Cake:
1 1/2 cups shortening
2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
For the Glaze:
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
3 tablespoons butter
Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Coat a large bundt pan thoroughly with shortening and dust with flour. Set aside.
In the bowl of an stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream shortening and sugar on medium speed. Add eggs, milk, and vanilla. Pulse the mixer until slightly incorporated to prevent overflow, then mix on low speed until incorporated. Add dry ingredients a little at a time, pulsing again and mixing on low until just incorporated. Pour into the prepared pan. Bake 70-90 minutes or until browned and a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan ten minutes, then invert onto a wire rack to cool completely.
To make the frosting, bring cream and brown sugar to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium heat., stirring occasionally. Boil, stirring, 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in butter. Allow to cool and thicken before drizzling over cooled cake.