Last week we celebrated my mother's 77th birthday.*
* The original title & post said "70th." Oops. Sorry, Mom. :)
Thanks, Maleena for taking the video!
Of course the first order of the day was to make her birthday cake. I used a yellow cake mix and baked two rounds. Nothing too amazing there! But then we made the best frosting in the world:
My mother's mother used to make this frosting. I like it so much better than the usual butter cream frosting. It takes a few more minutes to make, but it's not difficult at all. It's fluffier than butter cream, but not so heavy and rich. If it's left on the cake overnight (who can leave the cake that long??!!) it develops a delightful crunchiness on the surface. Mmmm...hungry for a cake or some cupcakes right now? You ought to give this recipe a try!
2 egg whites
1 1/2 cups white sugar (granulated, not powdered)
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar or 1 Tablespoon light corn syrup
1/3 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla
Combine the egg whites, sugar, cream of tartar and water in the top pan of a double boiler. Beat on high speed for 1 minute with an electric mixer. Place the double boiler over boiling water and beat on high for 7 minutes. Remove the pan from the boiling water; add vanilla. Beat 2 minutes longer on high speed.
Here's a photo of granddaughter Abbi helping me make the frosting. She's doing part of the 7-minute beating in the double boiler.
I'm certainly no cake-decorating expert, but here are a couple of tricks I've picked up over the years.
Place 3 strips of waxed paper beneath the bottom layer of the cake. That way when you get frosting on the plate, it won't be all messy for the finished product.
I wanted to put two "7" candles on the cake, but the store only had one left on the rack. Whatever. I made a ring of 7 little candles around the "7" and that had to make do for the 77th birthday.
Next up: My mother's first-ever pedicure and manicure. Kendra joined us as a belated birthday present for her...and to give her grandmother some extra moral support.
Meanwhile, my dad showed son-in-law Chris his tricks for a "Santa Maria bar-be-que" with some steaks for dinner. Yum!
I feel so lucky to have been able to spend the day with my parents. They recently celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary. What a gift to me to have been raised by these wonderful people. I was truly honored that they drove all the way from their home--eight hours away--to join us during Kendra's visit and celebrate Mom's special day.