Monday, June 02, 2008
Actually Jonathon's 51st Birthday party. When I asked what I could bring he suggested the cake -- oh my! I don't think I'd baked a real cake in years... So I rifled through my old 3 x 5s that were in my mother's recipe box to come up with one. More about that later. Jonathon's birthday, celebrated with a casual barbecue with the usual suspects was the place to be yesterday afternoon.
There were quite a range of ages, from these green apple tossing kids, to my 87 year old Dad.
And even the dogs were invited. My photos of them were such a blur as they ran in such circles around themselves and children that this one of Cassidy was the only clear one. Banjo and Sharkey were also there.
The interior table was laden with a lovely selection of salads and the fixins for the salmon or boca burgers.
Gary brought some fresh oysters for an on-the-half-shell style, but was convinced by others that it was best to mitigate the risks by grilling. And they were delicious, as were the salmon or boca burgers and first sweet corn of the season.
And the watermelon seemed to mark the start of summer as well.
And on to the birthday cake. I found an old recipe that my mother made frequently when I was about 7-8, that she'd gotten from a woman who grew up with my brother like a sister, Barbara. I once tried to make it when I was 17 and in Japan. And it may have been a successful attempt had it not been attempted in a rather deep casserole pan in a microwave oven.
It was rather an adventure getting the ingredients for it, as when I arrived at the store and looked at the recipe, it called for a "#2 can of fruit cocktail". The store staff hadn't a clue either as they gave me a 15 oz can for it. I later found that it is 20 oz, and in most stores, all that is available are 15 or 30 oz cans. I added 5 oz of water to the 15 oz cans to good effect. (You use all the liquid from the can of fruit cocktail as well). I also used 5 oz of canned milk for the icing, as the small tins come in 5 oz rather than 4 oz (1/2 cup) size these days. (You can click on the image for a larger image of the recipe).
Since there were going to be quite a few people at the party, I doubled the recipe and poured the batter into the pans. There is a great advantage in baking cakes, the house smelled so good, even after returning several hours later. Not to mention my car since I transported them over still hot from the oven.
These look a little dry, but once you pour the piping hot liquid icing over the top, the cake is quite moist. The party was fun, and the cake was a success (whew!).