Something Old, Something New… yada, yada, yada

We celebrated Thomas’  birthday a few weeks ago – no surprise he’s a Taurus, huh? Full of  the bull, my boy is.

On his birthday proper, I brought cupcakes to school so his class could celebrate this momentous occasion.  If he can’t lose a tooth in first grade, at least he can turn 7.  I didn’t want to buy canned frosting, although that would have been easier and the rugrats wouldn’t have minded one bit, I’m sure.  I just felt all weird since I’m pretty much a ‘from scratch’ kinda gal.

I did a little research and nothing tickled my fancy.  I have made more than my share of buttercreams (honey is awesome in this, btw, as is peanut butter) and ganaches (whipped and poured) and even stabilized whipped creams, but the one frosting that always nags at me is the very first one I made when I was a pre-teen.  It was a creamy, buttery, not-too-sweet frosting that I’d found on a card in my mother’s recipe box.  The recipe box was moved and misplaced and Mom could never remember the recipe, except for that odd mix of milk and (yes!) flour that you heat until pasty, then add to butter and sugar.

Well, a bit more research led me to THIS.   The recipe Pioneer Woman posted as “the best frosting I’ve ever had” is actually the exact recipe that was in my mother’s recipe file (which I found just days after making the cupcakes), only doubled.  Please note the addition of ‘shortning’ in Mom’s typed recipeI did NOT use shortening.  Butter only in this house.

So who gets credit?  I would think just about every grandmother who has ever made a cake for her family.  The comments on Ree Drummond’s Pioneer Woman blog can attest to the fact that this recipe has been around for a very long time and is on many people’s favorite’s list.  Thank you, PDub, for posting the recipe and awesome pictures so I didn’t have to do quite that much work for this blog post.  Please, check out the photos as they are mouth-wateringly good.

Cocoa Souffle Roll gets dusted with cocoa then rolled up once cool.

We had a little family party here at the farm and I got to play around with cakes.  Yes, cakeS, plural, because I just can’t help myself.  I’m a glutton for punishment AND The Boy and I have different tastes when it comes to dessert.  His choice was vanilla on vanilla.  I wanted chocolate.  The more chocolatey the better.

So I made my darling boy a delightful white vanilla cake with fluffy frosting (above).  I had some lemon curd in the fridge, so I stirred in a bit of the frosting to lighten it and filled the cake with this – four cake layers in all.  I always let him choose how he wants it decorated, like sprinkles and color schemes and such.  He fancies blue, teal, aqua, green-blue… you name it.  And darned if the color doesn’t look fantastic on him!   Blue it was, and sprinkles, because accessories really do make the cake.

The chocolate cake was quick enough to prepare, surprisingly.  I made Rose Levy Beranbaum’s Cocoa Souffle Roll from The Cake Bible.  It’s so chocolatey and light it’s ethereal.  Filled with soft and billowy vanilla-flavored whipped cream, this roll was certainly the hit of our get-together.  And let me tell you — it goes down easy.  Had there been another cake like this one, we ALL would have overeaten its sweet, cloud-like goodness.

The Souffle Roll is also flourless, and if you can verify that your cocoa and cream of tartar are void of gluten (as they typically are), you have a gluten-free dessert option, and those are always good!  It didn’t serve nearly enough people, however.  I gave slices of each cake to most everyone, and the sighs of disappointment when this one was gone were overwhelming.  Sorry, family…. I shall make it again!

If you don’t own The Cake Bible, get it.  It’s a fantastic resource for bakers since the science behind everything is explained very well.  I love how Levy Beranbaum has list upon list of cake pan volumes, frosting amounts needed, how to increase cake recipes without error.  My copy of the book is falling apart,  because of over-use and not poor construction.  The Cordon Rose Banana Cake is a true winner.  The Chocolate Oblivion Torte, heavenly.

Doesn’t everyone start they’re birthday with personalized pancakes?

If you don’t want to spring for the book, which I wholeheartedly encourage you to do,  grab a latte at your favorite bookstore and copy the recipe.  Don’t play innocent and act like it hasn’t crossed your mind….

Ok, so I started a theme with my title.  Let’s see how I’m doing.  Not that anyone is getting married, but it was a good way for me to remember what I wanted to write about.

Something OLDthe frosting recipe from Mom’s recipe box
Something NEWthe bike Thomas is riding, given to him before his birthday because the first warm day this Spring (who the hell can remember because we haven’t had one in what seems like an eternity) found him riding his old bike with his knees hitting his chin
Something BORROWED – I needed to borrow a cupcake  pan from my dearest friend Tricia because I only had one and I needed 20 for the ankle-biters
Something BLUEFrosting on the cake AND the new bike

Good…. All covered.

As for farm happenings, we had Easter just like the rest of the Christian world, and that means EGG HUNT!  Thomas and his cousins had a blast searching for over 120 filled eggs.  The best egg find?  BIG plastic eggs filled with John Deere t-shirts!  Thomas and William model them here and a big thank you to Uncle Ed for thinking of them and making the day extra-special.  They were dodging raindrops for much of the time as we parents were standing around fanning ourselves because it was so damned humid!   The kids had the added bonus of candy and all the adults got was frizzy hair (well, those of us that HAVE hair, anyway).

Yes, I’m officially old.  I bitch about the weather and I like Fresca (thanks, Fletch. BAER).

Water pooling up on freshly plowed ground.

In case you’ve been out of the country or something, we’ve had quite a bit of rainy, cold weather this Spring.  The crops we start in the greenhouses are doing well, but we’re going to have to wait a while longer to get things like tomatoes and peppers and eggplant out into the fields.  The ground is just too soggy.  The potatoes have all been planted, though, as have several plantings of greens, carrots, lettuces, spinach, etc.  The garlic is looking lovely, and we’ll have lots of ‘fresh green garlic’ at the markets to start out the season.   We will also have a ton of potted herbs available.  We’ve been nurturing these babies for nearly 3 months and they are ready to go home with loving gardeners.

If the weather clears up and “The Green” dries out a little, we’ll be starting the Goshen market this Friday, May 20th.  Our other markets in Ringwood and Pleasantville start Memorial Day weekend.  Hope to see you all there!

Celery started from seed in early March

Pepper seedlings awaiting transplanting

Farmer Sonny can’t resist — these are COTTON plants!

Times like these make motherhood worth every whine, snark and eye-roll.