It’s the end of April and I have not met all of my goals for the month……..Sigh. Although I did not write them down or post them anywhere, they were in my head. And, they still are. April has given me challenges while I was thought it would be a breeze being that April is my birth month. Yay!!!…April 3rd was my birthday and I spent it recovering from what I think was food poisoning. I spent the first 3 days of the month at home except for one 8 hour shift of work that turned out to be a blessing because, it was an observation shift. The rest of the time, I sat home with no appetite and no ambition. By the 4th, I was out and about without appetite, taking care of business. I baked my self a birthday cake on April 5th. The finished product was not what I had intended or expected. But, I moved on. I put candles on it and sang happy birthday to me and cut it to have for lunch at work that night.. NOTE: Do not judge my baking skills by the pictures that will be featured here today.) LOL….Actually, it was not the baking or the cake itself that was bad, it was the frosting that did not set up. Ugh. I was not happy…..with the finished cake presentation.
I also had work challenges that I have been dealing with this month but, have since been resolved. I am so grateful for my job, my bosses, and my co-workers. The challenges I experienced almost got the best of me and, may have had me down for a minute, but though communication, honesty and support of my family and bosses, I have regained my footing and feel pretty good about my job again. I’m feeling pretty good again about everything… But, I have to say that this month everything had seemed to give me some type of grief… It distracted me from what my goals were and, what I wanted to work on to become more successful personally. I didn’t realize this was going on for about 3 weeks. I don’t think I cooked more than twice this month, I just felt yucky mentally and physically… Then I realized something was purposely keeping me away and distracted from my plans/goals/tasks I had set for myself to become a better me… As soon as I conscious to it, I knew I had to get right back in focus. I had to get back to working on my goals, my blog, and me. I was done with the failures/losses for the month of April.
So, I started making wins immediately. I booked airline reservations to Houston to visit my sister next month….I have not flown in 28 years. Yes I’m nervous. But, I’m going. I have never been to see her in all the time she has been there…. (What a bad sister I am. I know.)…By happy accident I wrote out a plan for growing my brand… I entered a contest and it asked all types of questions on my vision and when I answered them I realized I answered a lot of questions I had for myself… It all came together once I started writing. I call that a Win Win!
So, as this month began really bumpy and I wasn’t sure what was going to happen next, I’m glad it did happen. I got a few “W’s” and a couple of “L’s” (wins and losses mom), and if I keep going I know can certainly get more “W’s”….
This week’s Favorite Cookbook Friday “The Magnolia Bakery Cookbook” is a winner in my book! Written by Jennifer Appel and Allysa Torey, Magnolia Bakery is probably one of the most famous bakeries in New York if not the whole U.S.A…… Scratch that, the world. I just checked out there website again and they have 9 U.S. locations and 17 international locations!!!! How exciting is that?…This place is on my long list of food spaces to visit. If only for a cupcake or 2….dozen.
The recipes I tried though are a 50/50 half win half loss…. I’ll explain but, first let me tell you why this book is a favorite of mine. Three words: OLD FASHIONED RECIPES. To me old fashioned basically means comfort. It could mean food, recipes, or even a quilt or afghan that was past down from one generation to another. Old fashioned makes me feel good and secure. You can’t feel that way about everything or everyone. It’s almost like a special nostalgia feeling you can only get from being at home or when you think of your grandparents………I decided to bake myself the Old Fashioned “Traditional Vanilla Birthday Cake” with “Traditional Vanilla Buttercream Icing”. I personally don’t usually go for cakes with “birthday cake” icing because the icing tends to be too sweet for me. If I happen to have a cake with the too sweet icing, I generally flip it over and eat it from the bottom up because the cake is the best part anyway for me. Why waste time getting to the best part? Anyway, this cake is very easy to make even if you have never baked a cake before. And, the cake itself is delicious. I liked it. I like cake. It was moist and had good flavor. That was not the problem. I give the cake a ‘W”. It was the icing… It did not set up well. I made the frosting after I put the cake in the oven….I mixed and colored it and kept it completely sealed on the kitchen table until the cake was cooled and ready to be assembled….When i mixed the icing, it seemed to be stable but, when I came back to it hours later it was runny and soupy….I still assembled the cake and frosted it and watched the icing just fall off the cake before I could even make my way around the whole cake. For those reasons I give the icing a “L”…… I to scrape off as much of it as I could and make a “naked” cake. A cake that basically has a crumb coat of icing is a “naked” cake. You can find pictures of naked cakes on the internet…There will be some not so great photos here too. But, please reference the internet for a better interpretation on this one, thank you.
I was so disappointed in the finished product, I baked it again later that week and just bought some milk chocolate icing from the store and used it on the new cake. Who does’t love chocolate?? I did not want to be defeated. I do not have pictures to show for it because I was really anxious to cut into this cake and did not think pictures at that moment. I thought only about my belly. Again. LOL.
Here’s the recipe for the cake. Try it out and see for yourself. You have to choose the icing though.
Traditional Vanilla Birthday Cake
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
2 cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups self rising flour
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Grease and flour three 9×2 inch round cake pans. Line the cake pan bottoms with wax paper circles.
To make the cake: In a large bowl, on medium speed of an electric mixer, cream the butter until smooth. Add the sugar gradually and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Combine and stir together the flours. Combine and stir together the milk and vanilla extract. Mix in 1/3 of the flour mixture and then 1/2 of the milk mixture and repeat beginning and ending with the flour. Mixing each addition just till combined. Divide the batter among the prepared cake pans. Bake for 20-28 minutes or until a toothpick/cake tester comes out clean when inserted into the middle of the cake. Cool cake layer in the pan for ten minutes. Remove cake layer from pan and then remove and let cool completely on a wire cooling rack.
Assemble and frost with your favorite homemade buttercream or chocolate icing. If your in a pinch. Pick some up at the closest grocery store! (Smile)
What is your favorite Birthday Cake flavor? Let me know in the comments.
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