Happy Birthday, Richard!
Tuesday April 20th 2010, 11:05 pm
Filed under: Family,Food

While trying to get a birthday pulled together and trying to help a friend move and a family member go on a trip and trying to–well, I had a cool little post simmering away in my brain just waiting for when I actually had a moment to sit down and write it.

I can remember none of it.

But the others approved of the homemade angel food cake just the same.  Richard got to make use of one of his favorite earlier-year presents, one of those squirting thingummies that you pour your cream into with maybe a little sugar mixed in, (I assure you we paid nowhere remotely near that price, but on the other hand, ours, an older model, is not dishwasher safe) and poof! You’ve got that fancy-shaped canned whipped cream splurting out, only it tastes good!  Throw in some crushed Heath bars, and you have the only kind of cake he considers acceptable for birthdays, the cake of his childhood and our kids’.

I’m a rebel.  I like my cake different.  Anything, please, after all these years and all these birthdays, as long as it’s not angel food cake with whipped cream and crushed Heath bars, and does it even have to be cake?  A little variety is a good thing.

(That post is coming back to me…)

I saved, for a long time, a cartoon where the mom couldn’t find the birthday candles so she just stuck a lit flashlight in the center of an angel food cake. That is SO us.  Which is why Richard now has a hidden stash of birthday candles, and today he had to tell us where to find them.

He always buys three boxes just to make sure.

That was the last box.

Y’know, we really should know where the flashlights are.

Oh, and: when it was Michelle’s birthday, for once, I couldn’t remember the recipe off the top of my head and actually had to go look it up.  The bells didn’t clang when I did, either. Huh.

We all had the same reaction at the first bite–wait. Something’s different.

It took awhile to figure it out: I had long ago reversed the amounts of vanilla vs almond flavoring without realizing it, and had been doing it that way for lo these many years, very heavy on the almond.  That’s our cake.  We like it that way. So when it came out tasting of vanilla, even tinted slightly by it, with only barely enough almond essence to nag at one…

So yeah. We needed a do-over. Richard got his cake, it got done right this time, and having another angel food cake in one month was definitely the right thing to do. We celebrated him right.

And it even had candles.  The tens figure on this side, the ones figure on that side, we can stretch those 36 as far as they need to go, over the hill and on beyond, his smile lighting up the place.

13 Comments so far
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Happy Birthday, Richard!

My birthday cake of choice is brownies, baked in a true gadget but worth it for me – one of those pans that look like a maze so all the brownies have wonderfully chewy edges. Candles optional.

(and almond does rule over vanilla!)

Comment by twinsetellen 04.21.10 @ 5:25 am

Happy, Happy Birthday Richard! 🙂

Comment by Michelle 04.21.10 @ 6:04 am

angel food cake was a birthday tradition in my childhood (I have several pictures of me holding one standing in front of a huge pine tree at my grandmother’s house), and we like ours heavy on the almond side too

after we moved here I tried to make angel food cake several times — to no avail (in fact there is a post I wrote about the last experience here: http://hattieskitchen.blogspot.com/2006/12/fallen-angels-or-perils-of-baking-at.html)

now days we only have angel cake at my daughter’s house — lower elevation, better oven!

Comment by Bev 04.21.10 @ 7:53 am

Happy birthday Richard!
And we have one of those cream thingies too! (ANd No, I did not pay that amount for it…)

Comment by Sandra 04.21.10 @ 8:22 am

I used to keep a stash in the bottom drawer of my dresser, but I suspect the candles are long gone by now.

You know, I think it has actually been a solid ten years since I’ve had a proper birthday cake (by which I mean angel food cake + whipped cream + heath bars). How tragic. I don’t even own an angel food cake pan, actually.

Comment by Sam 04.21.10 @ 9:36 am

Happy birthday, Richard! I don’t know that I have a favorite cake…

Comment by Channon 04.21.10 @ 9:40 am

I loved your story about the vanilla/almond flavoring! I have a recipe for oatmeal raisin cookies that was in a wedding present (1968!) cookbook. When my daughter was married and asked me to copy it, I did….. and for the first time realized that the ingredient list called for one half cup California WALNUTS, not the California RAISINS I’d been using for about 30 years!

We edited the cookbook to reflect OUR favorite recipe!

Comment by Barbara M. 04.21.10 @ 9:56 am

For my mother’s 76th birthday my sister decided she needed a cake with 76 trombones on the border. It cost a fortune, but we thought Mom was worth it.

She was worth it, but the decorator had no clue what a trombone looked like so we ended up with a cake with 76 saxophone-shaped squiggles. My sister was peeved, but it could have been worse. It could have been glockenspiels.

Comment by Patricia Day 04.21.10 @ 9:56 am

Flashlight! I love it! Guess I’d need a searchlight. I’m planning on a Baskin Robbins ice cream cake for my 80th.

BTW, did I send Richard a card?

Fun –


~ This being Easter Sunday, we will ask Mrs. Lewis to come forward and lay an egg on the altar.

~ Don’t let worry kill you — let the church help.

Comment by Don Meyer 04.21.10 @ 10:10 am

Happy birthday, Richard! Best wishes for many happy returns and lots of caring hugs to make you feel how precious you are to the ones who love for you. 🙂

Now, I’m hungry for cake! lol

Comment by Suzanne in Montreal 04.21.10 @ 12:09 pm

Had this been a few months ago, I could have sent all the boxes of birthday candles I kept unearthing as I unpacked, and ended up sending to tag sale and Goodwill………

Comment by Margo Lynn 04.22.10 @ 7:58 am

Happy Belated Birthday, Richard. 🙂

Comment by karin maag-tanchak 04.22.10 @ 5:53 pm

Happy belated birthday, Richard!

My husband’s birthday is April 20th too! (I started to leave this comment and thought ‘I wonder if I left the same comment last year on Richard’s birthday’, but I didn’t comment on that post. However, I will never forget commenting on the post just before Richard’s birthday last year. GOOSEBUMPS!)

Comment by Momo Fali 04.23.10 @ 5:37 pm

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