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Guys, I had huge plans here. I promise you. This was supposed to be a layer cake, a beautiful thing covered with little marzipan monkey carvings. What happened, you ask? (Pretend you’re asking, okay?) Well, only one of the layers came out of the oven intact. And the monkeys? Well three a.m. happened to them. But I feel this conveys what I wanted to convey, albeit messily. And it tastes really good!
So what’s the occasion?
My baby sister is turning nineteen today. Just saying that makes me feel old! (And how old it must make our parents feel, aaaah!) So, Becca…This is for you. I know I can’t be there, and this can’t be in your face right now, but consider it a long distance tribute.
In your nineteen years on this planet we’ve been through a lot. Some of the situations have been ones where lesser human beings would throw up their hands and say: “Alright dude, good luck.”, and walk. And there might’ve been a time or two when I’ve said those exact words to you, but I never reaaaaaally meant it.
I remember when they brought you home. I remember your curly little-girl mullet, how I could always make you laugh. I remember when you were convinced my hair was made of gold and I could always trick you into brushing it for me. And I will never forget the first time we left our daughter alone overnight and came back to see the two of you sleeping on the couch, little mirrors of each other. I could have cried, I might have actually. (Not that I’d ever have admitted it in front of you, oh no!)
I know the period of time since you’ve graduated hasn’t been easy, it’s been a rocky time for all of us. I just want you to know these things:
- Nobody is pulling your chain or kissing your butt when we tell you that you are a genuinely talented artist. You’re really good.
- We all love you, might even be willing to have a cage match over who loves you more. At least on one of your good days. 😉
- You have grown into a beautiful woman. Seriously, it takes me aback every time I see you. I forget you aren’t that stubby little girl anymore. (Yes, I know you’re like six inches taller than I am.)
- Whatever you do with your life, as long as you are happy and fulfilled, we will all be proud of you. I just personally hope it involves tons of travel, so we can see you more often. 😀
- I love you. Simply, honestly. You are wonderful.
I hope I’ve sufficiently E-embarrassed you. I know you’re upset about not being able to come out this summer, but you are welcome as soon as you’ve got the time and the dough. We’ll keep the couch clear! And until then, I solemnly swear to pick you up some treats at Uwajimaya the next time we’re in the International District! I wonder if they sell Pocky by the pound?
Dark Chocolate Cherry Monkey Love Cake
Modified from a recipe in How to Cook Everything, Mark Bittman
- 1 stick butter, softened
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 4 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 eggs, whites and yolks separate
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder
- 1 cup milk
- 1/4 cup bing cherry puree
Preheat your oven to 350, grease the bottoms and sides of your cake pans. Melt your chocolate over very low heat, stirring gently. When it is melted, add your cherry puree and heat for another minute, stirring all the while.
Cream your butter and sugar with a mixer for 4 minutes, or until really fluffy. Beat in your egg yolks, then vanilla, then your chocolate/cherry mixture. In a separate bowl combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cocoa powder. Mix it into the liquids bowl in thirds, alternating with the milk. Mix until the batter is smooth.
Remove your beaters and clean them. In a clean bowl, beat your egg whites until they reach the soft peaks stage. Fold into your cake batter gently with a spoon. Pour into the pans and bake until a toothpick or other such improvised cake tester comes back clean after poking it gently into the center of your cake. Let it cool for five minutes IN the pan (This is where my layer failure came into play!) and then turn onto a rack to finish cooling. While it’s cooling, go ahead and make your frosting!
Cherry Buttercream Frosting
- 1 stick butter, softened
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- 3 tablespoons milk
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup cherry puree
- dab of icing coloring, red (optional!)
Beat the butter with your mixer, gradually adding the sugar and alternating with the milk. Mix thoroughly. Mix in the vanilla, puree and salt. If you don’t like the color yet, add a little coloring. If your icing is too thin, add a little more sugar or refrigerate. Too thick? Add a little more milk or even cherry puree.
And yes, Becca, you can certainly demand Mom make this for you. SHE HAS TO LISTEN IT IS YOUR BIRTHDAY AHAHAHA. 🙂
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