At any rate, I am, indeed 54 today and it is hitting me hard.
I’m not sure why. Normally, it’s the 5s and the 9s that get me. When you reach the midpoint of a decade, you’re no longer in your early whatevers, you are solidly there. I’ll never forget checking some box on a form saying I was 25-34 instead of 19-24. I suddenly felt like an adult and I wasn’t ready.
And on the 9s, I tend to evaluate whether I’m on track to meet my goals for the following years. You know, when I’m 30, I’ll blah, blah, blah. Inevitably I’ll realize there’s no way for me to have two children in the next year – one boy, one girl, two years apart – and I’ll fall into a depression.
Perhaps this year it’s a combination. I’m solidly in my mid-fifties here, I’m none too pleased about what that’s doing to my body, and just like when I was 25, I still don’t feel entirely like a grown-up.
So I made a cake. And not just any cake, but the Red Velvet Cake with Buttercream Icing, the traditional cake my mother used to make for me on my birthday many years ago. This is an important step for me in helping me feel like I’m truly a grown-up because I have never made a cake from scratch before. I know! It’s shocking.
My sister sent me the recipe as a series of photographs:
However, if you want to follow along, I’ll include the recipe here.
Red Velvet Cake with Buttercream Icing
Red Velvet Cake Ingredients
2 1oz bottle red food coloring
1/2 cup shortening
1 1/2 cup sugar
2 1/2 cup flour
1/2 t salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 t vanilla
1 t almond
1 T vinegar
1 t soda
Grease and flour pans – line with wax paper
pre-heat oven to 350°
Mix cocoa with food coloring
Add shortening, sugar & eggs
sift flour & salt
add dry ingredients and buttermilk
blend in almond and vanilla
mix vinegar and soda in small bowl and add quickly
bake at 350 for 20-25 min
Buttercream Icing Ingredients
1 C milk
4 1/2 T flour
1/2 lb butter
1 cup powder sugar
Add milk first then flour for no lumps
both should be chilled
blend flour and milk
cook over low heat until thick – cool
cream butter – beat 4 min
add sugar – beat 4 min
add cool flour mix and vanilla – beat 5 min
My Tips and Tricks
The cake portion went off without a hitch, just follow directions. Putting in the instructions to grease and line the pans is the essence of my mother. Only she would write that down in a recipe that was basically intended for her use only.
For the icing, I tripled the recipe and I still ran out and had to make an emergency patch. That was probably a beginner’s error and I could have gotten by with less. But I would definitely double it. My sister told me that she frosts the entire cake and then frosts it again. I followed along with this video from Real Simple and couldn’t have done without out.
And here is the finished product. Not bad for a middle-aged first-time baker. It tastes wonderful. Happy birthday to me – and many more.