Thursday, August 25, 2011

Happy Birth Day

Non, it is not my birthday again.  It is my youngest's 19th, with him approximately 350 miles away from his mama on the day he was born.  I sent him a text message about 6:30 am (so I wouldn't forget), but I didn't even bake a birthday cake.  But I will bake cuppie cakes tonight for my advisees to celebrate their first Friday back in school. And to celebrate the day that that adorable boy came into the world.  The photo was taken at a family reunion at Fort Robinson, Nebraska, where the Ex-Ex and in-laws lived.  Sometimes birthday boy thinks he was actually born there, too.  His cowboy roots are deep.  His great-great grandfather was a homesteader in Nebraska.  And the Ex-Ex's dad was a cattle rancher, working for the state of Nebraska at Fort Robinson.  We've been out there many times for family vacations.  Until I went out there with them for the first time in 1984, I had never been further west than Johnson City, Tennessee.  It was pretty darned exciting.  And you know, it still is.  I hope we go back out there next summer.  Birthday boy and one of his buddies are talking about a camping trip with Fort Robinson as the final destination.  I think that's a great idea.
My how he's grown!

Chocolate Cake (or Cupcakes)
makes 30 cupcakes
3 c. flour
2 c. granulated sugar
2/3 c. cocoa
2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tsp. white vinegar
1 c. oil
2 c. cold water

Preheat oven to 350˚F.
Sift together the dry ingredients.
In separate bowl, mix together the vanilla, vinegar, oil, and cold water.  Add the liquid mixture to the dry ingredients and beat well.
Pour into two greased, floured and parchment paper lined 8-inch cake pans (or into lined muffin tins).  For the cake, bake for 40 minutes in the middle of the oven.  For cupcakes, test after 15 minutes and continue to add time in small increments, if needed.  When finished baking, remove from oven and allow to cool in pans for 10 minutes.  Then invert cakes on a rack, carefully remove the parchment paper, and cool to room temperature.

Creamy Vanilla Frosting
(from Domestic Sensualist)

6 Tbsp. flour
2 c. milk
2 c. butter, softened
2 c. sugar
2 tsp. vanilla

In a medium-sized saucepan, whisk the flour into the milk until smooth.  Place over medium heat and, while stirring constantly, cook until the mixture becomes thick and begins to bubble (10-15 minutes).  Cover with waxed paper placed directly on surface and cool to room temperature (about 30 minutes).  Using an electric mixer, beat butter for 3 minutes until creamy and smooth.  Gradually add the sugar and beat until fluffy.  Add vanilla and beat well.  Add cooled, cooked milk mixture and continue to beat for 5 minutes until very smooth and noticeably whiter in color.  Cover.  Refrigerate for 15 minutes.  Frost cake or cupcakes.

Bon appétit et bon anniversaire, mon fils!  Je t'aime!

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