January 23, 2013

Leftover Birthday

_DSC0025_DSC0004_DSC0029Here’s my cake! That I had for my birthday last week! I always make my own cake because I’m The Cake Maker in my family. I mentioned on Facebook (are you my friend on Facebook? Let’s be!) that I used this recipe for my cakey.

Weeeeeellllll, it was good. But not great. Not perfect. Mind you, I did not sift my flour like I was supposed to because I CAN’T BE BOTHERED. Nor did I use the sugar spray technique. I did wrap the layers in plastic wrap to trap in the moisture. But, but…I think my search for perfect yellow cake must continue. I’ve already found white cake perfection, as well as chocolate cake perfection.

But yellow cake is the holy grail of cakes that continues to elude me. The yellow cake cupcakes that I made from the Buttercup Bake Shop Cookbook have come the closest.

Of course, I managed to eat my not-quite-perfectly-perfect cake down to the cake stand. Julia and I ate a slice every day until it was gone. That’s called COOPERATION.

And here are my presents. I like presents. I got some very excellent presents that I two-out-of-3 chose for myself and then my kind family went and got for me. And one of them Mr. Andrew dreamed up all on his own, I was very much impressed.

Present #1:
P1040001For years now, I’ve been wanting some kind of lockety thing or some kind of jewelry item that had the names or initials of my family on it or in it or something to that effect. I saw these initial charms and my mom was jolly enough to get them as my present from her. The ‘j’ looks like an ‘i’ kinda, but it’s a ‘j’. Jolly is my new word! I’m jolly well going to use it until you all can’t stand it anymore.

Present #2:
P1030983P1030980Andrew got me a sushi mat kit! We’re gonna make sushi! I’m so excited! He thought of it on his own! I have no idea how to make sushi! I will learn. And then use my most excellent chopsticks.

Present #3:
P1030987P1030990P1030991P1030995P1030993I GOT ME SOME RACKHAM, YO!! I looooove Arthur Rackham and I love fairy tales, and when I saw 'Fairy Tales from Many Lands' online I longed and yearned for it OH SO MUCH. I very helpfully pointed Andrew in the direction of a used copy. Used copies start around $13, which is a scorching deal! It's BEE-YOO-TEE-FULL!!!!!

Arthur Rackham is the best fairytale illustrator ever, in my opinion.

Now that my birthday is over and done, it's time to gear up for the next one: Julia. She's next month and I already feel way way behind on the getting-readiness of it all. Also there's Chinese New Year and Valentine's to deal with before her birthday. This year I might have to send out Chinese New Year Valentine cards.

34 comments:

  1. Martha says that if you whisk the flour in the bowl (just by hand with a hand whisk) it has the same effect as sifting. No more clouds of flour all over the kitchen. (Mind you, I'm not sure I believe her, so I still sift!) Those chopsticks are stunning. Andrew did good.

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    1. See, I usually aerate with a fork! And often I spoon and measure into the cup! I really think it does help to lighten the flour. But the cake layers here were still not moist enough and a bit heavy. I think cake flour is the answer....

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  2. The cake looks absolutely fabulous. I had to giggle a little when you mentioned the charms because guess what? I adore them too! Really, we have the same taste it's scary! And the fairy tale book is oh so great! Love the illustrations!

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  3. Great presents! I've been wanting to get some kind of jewellery with family initials on it too.

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    1. i've seriously been wanting something like this for yrs -- but i have to alternate it with the little love charm that Julia gave me last yr from her school holiday store, otherwise she'll get mad :)

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  4. Is it bad that I never, ever sift my flour when making cakes? Not that I do this either, but couldn't you just use cake flour for the same effect?

    Lovely gifts, by the way! I like the charms on your necklace. They're very modern and pretty. Have fun learning to make sushi! :)

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    1. Cake flour!! I think that's the way to go. That's what my prized white cake recipe uses. Sifting is TOO HARD. and I don't have a sifter anymore. :)

      I think we'll stick to cooked fish and shrimp so we don't injure or poison ourselves....

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  5. The cake looks great! For yellow cake I've only ever used boxed mixes. I have never seen a homemade recipe for it!

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    1. secret: I make most things homemade. but cake mixes are often really really GOOD (minusing the hydrogenated oils and assorted random chemicals) -- I made Julia's strawberry flavored cake last yr using a box mix and then some add-ins and my mom practically ate the whole thing she loved it so much.

      this yr J wants a Funfetti cake and there are recipes from scratch online, but I'm going for the mix.

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  6. I have a sifter, but I always use a whisk instead. I'm lazy, and a sifter is messy. My trouble with yellow cakes is they often have an aftertaste - a soda taste? - that bothers me after a bit. Your jewelry is lovely, your sushi set is beautiful, and what else can be said about the Arthur Rackham book? So gorgeous!

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    1. Hate sifters! which is why i refuse to use them!

      i will keep doggedly pursuing yellow cake marvelousness....

      i like to go up to the Rackham book and pet it lovingly :)

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  7. What a beautiful birthday. What awesome presents.

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  8. What a great birthday! The sushi kit is awesome and that is a beautiful necklace. But I am sure you already know my favorite, the Arthur Rackham book. He is definitely my favorite artist from the golden age of fairy tales. $13 is a great deal, I will be looking that one up :)

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    1. such a good deal, I think!!! and I know you also love Mr. Rackham :)

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  9. The cakes looks so yummy and is decorated beautifully! And you received some awesome gifts!

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    1. thanks Julia!! it was a nice day. then we celebrated the cat's birthday a couple of days later :)

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  10. Oh, love the charms! And I"m glad I"m not the only one who picks out her own birthday presents. :) It's just easier to get what you want than to make them suffer through trying to figure it out. :)

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    1. Men, particularly husbands, often need help in gift giving. I think this way, everyone wins :)

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  11. What great presents! I love Arthur Rackham.

    On the cake: cake flour can help but it's possible you may have just had too much flour. It looks like the source recipe called for "3 cups sifted flour" not "3 cups flour, sifted." The three cups of sifted flour will have more volume, meaning less flour overall. Generally you lose up to 25% of the weight of the flour by volume when you sift before measuring. Sifting before measuring was common before World War II but I'd never encountered a recipe written that way until I started collecting old cookbooks. I didn't realize that it made any difference where the "sifted" was placed.

    Also, if you want a "proper" yellow cake, I'd look for a recipe with egg yolks rather than whole eggs since that will give the cake more color. I have a feeling that would help with the moisture level, as well, as the yolks have all the fat.

    Well, sorry about the dissertation! And happy birthday again!

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    1. YOU ARE A WIZARD!!!!! these are all genius ideas. I was wondering about the yolk thing as well. I love having a real live food blogger for a friend! :)

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    2. I hope it helped. Thanks for not being like, "oh that Lauren, such an annoying know-it-all!" :-)

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    3. Wow, this is brilliant! I've just learned so much from your comment, thanks Lauren!

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  12. holy cake! and i am so sorry i missed your bday! things have been hectic around here lately. but i wish you many happy tidings in this your 43rd? year! oxoxxo

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    1. no worries matey! good grief, you had sickness and cat sickness! much sickness trumps birthday. we can virtually celebrate Happy Chinese New Yr, if you like :)

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  13. OH! I think the cake looks marvelous! I love the shots you got of it... that one with the candles is quite magical! And the charms are fantastic!

    mmmm, I'm wanting cake now... took me a while to get over to internet land today. Got to go listen to the wee babes heartbeat at the Dr's, magical!

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    1. aaaaaah! i can't wait to find out what flavor of baby you are having!!!

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    2. We wait to find out :) July 8th is the due date.

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  14. HELLLOOO!!! Commenting hiberation is over...probably!! Yay!! Um HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! I am loving your presents!! Santa brought us some goofy and cute animal chopsticks which I'm pretty sure he got at Target, just sayin.

    I pick my own presents too, but I'm lame I ask for laminators and closet shelving and totally lame stuff...I should ask for jewelry and of course books! Duh!

    Also can I just say it's so nice to come any shout in your comments section again :))

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    1. Whitney!!! so happy! missed your cheery comments oh so much :)

      Laminators and shelving for closets both sounds like things I really really need. My closets are tiny caverns of doom. :)

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  15. Happy Birfday! This post made my day (most of your posts do actually)! The all caps usage is just GENIUS! Your cake looked perfect and I'm sure it was delicious. Cake making is so hard--I don't even try. But maybe I'll try your chocolate cake. However, if I have cake in the house it usually sits around for about half a minute. Really, I have no SELF CONTROL! Lovely gifts too. The jewelry, the sushi making kit (!) and the book. And as usual, your photos are gorgeous!

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    1. as always, your sweet comments really make my day, and you're always so encouraging about my photography! thank you friend! :)

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