I know it is pretty self-centered to write a post about my own birthday, but it is my blog – I’ll write a birthday post if I want! All kidding aside, I love having a birthday in early September. A lot of years it falls on Labor Day weekend and I get a long weekend in the bargain.
Rich and Calvin have been working to pamper me all weekend. Some of the pampering involves letting me choose what we have for meals. The pressure! I can’t say I chose anything really out of the ordinary. We had buttermilk cornbread with honey and butter for breakfast on Saturday, with a side of cantaloupe. Lunch was at Stir Crazy since I had a coupon for a free birthday meal. Dinner was (gasp!) leftovers since we were still stuffed from lunch. Sunday I rebelled and made everybody else help with meal planning.
The actual day is today and my parents had us over for lunch and the afternoon. I got to pick the menu for lunch (I sense a theme here). I love roast beef, mashed potatoes and gravy, so that is what we had. Thanks, Mom and Dad!
We made the birthday cake that we took with us to my parents’– all of us working together. I know it sounds pitiful to make your own birthday cake, but I enjoyed it. Calvin and I shared the mixing and measuring. Rich beat the egg whites, and washed ALL of the dishes, dried them and put them away. I never take a willing dishwasher for granted. Thank you, Rich!
I had a really hard time deciding what kind of cake I wanted. I chose brown sugar spice cake baked in a bundt pan, with homemade caramel sauce. I’m not sure which I like better – nice moist cake with lots of icing, or cake with a sauce. This year the sauce won out. We dusted the cake with powdered sugar, and served the sauce on the side. Everybody added sauce to his own portion – not only customizing the amount, but pouring it over the cut side of the slice so the sauce could permeate every inch of the cake.
In the spirit of full disclosure I must confess – the cake in the picture is totally staged – when I ate it I added enough sauce to entirely cover the slice and puddle on the plate. I also had more than one piece of cake this afternoon and I am going to have another piece tonight. If you can’t have all the cake you want on your birthday, and exactly how you want it, when can you?
Cake, my favorite meal, time with family and a long weekend – a girl can’t ask for much more!
Brown Sugar Spice Cake
From “Joy of Cooking” by Irma S. Rombauer and Marion Rombauer Becker Adapted by The Cook’s Life
Makes a 10-inch bundt cake
¾ cup butter (1 ½ sticks), room temperature
2 1/3 cups cake flour*
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon powdered ginger
¼ teaspoon cloves
1 ½ cups packed dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk
*If you don’t have cake flour, you can substitute all-purpose flour, though the cake won’t be quite as light and delicate.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 10-inch bundt pan and set aside. Separate three eggs, putting yolks in one bowl and whites in another and set aside.
Lightly spoon flour into measuring cups and level tops with the back of a knife. Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices in a medium bowl and set aside.
Beat egg whites until stiff peaks form when you lift the beaters out of the bowl. Set aside.
Beat butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg yolks and vanilla and beat until well combined.
Add flour mixture to butter mixture in three parts, alternating with buttermilk. Be sure to keep mixer on low speed when mixing.
Add beaten egg whites to batter and fold in by hand until no streaks of egg whites remain. Batter will be light and fluffy.
Pour batter into prepared pan and level top. Run a knife gently through the batter to pop any large air bubbles.
Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes, or until top springs back when pressed lightly.
Cool in pan on rack for 15 minutes before removing from pan. Cool completely on rack before icing or serving.
Serve with caramel sauce.