Tuesday, April 6, 2010
Thanks for the birthday wishes. It's true, a Reems birthday is a big deal - and as a true Reems- March 30 is a day that I shamelessly look forward to. After having 31 special days, I still spend too much time deciding what the meal lineup on my birthday will look like - in the past it was what restaurant Mike would be taking me to, now it's what form of take-out will grace our table. For we have a new birthday champion that can no longer be excluded from a birthday dinner - Finn has taken on birthdays with all the excitement that an almost 3-year old can drum up. He has figured out that with birthdays comes presents, and cake, and balloons, and if he's really lucky- candy.
The highlight of Finn's young life was taking home a goodie bag from his friend Ben's third birthday party. This was a loot bag that I was not be able to first sneak into and 'censor' - no Finn was aware of all the glorious sugary contents. He devoured about half of the treats while sitting in the buggy on the way home, and then proceeded to lock himself into his bedroom to polish 'er off. Even though I had acknowledged that the treats were his, he still saw me as a potential roadblock to sugar nirvana.
This year, the dinner meal was decided on - Hana Sushi - followed by a cake made by myself and Finn. Grace was scandalized that I was going to be making my own birthday cake; however, I have learned that if you want something to taste amazing you need to make it yourself. Mike, like Caleb, had to be introduced to the all-out Reems birthday extravaganza. He plays along gamely and makes sure that I am sufficiently spoiled- from the start of our relationship he was always the ultimate gift buyer. Gifts are his love language and he does them well - the only part of the special day missing from his itinerary? The cake. Each year when this was pointed out, Mike obligingly whisked me off for a birthday blizzard, or selected a chocolate bar at the birthday movie - yet, I still felt the need for a cake. I finally had the eureka moment this year that if I wanted the perfect confection I was going to need to roll up my sleeves. Finn and I were up for the challenge and, in an attempt to replicate my all-time favourite cake- Victoria's Dutch Bakery Mocha Point- we rolled up our sleeves and got busy.
I made two 9-inch yellow cakes and then sliced them in half to be filled with a vanilla cream filling and mocha whipping cream. To be finished off with more mocha whipping cream. Finally, I melted semi-sweet chocolate chips and drizzled them on parchment and then broke them up randomly to be sprinkled on top (chocolate shavings would also be great but I didn't have a block of the good stuff). I'm not going to give the individual recipes but I am going to reveal my secret for an amazing whipped frosting.
Take 500 mL of whipped cream. Add 1 T instant coffee. Put in fridge for about an hour until the coffee is dissolved (real coffee would make your cream to watery, and the hour lets the coffee dissolve nicely). Then add 1/3 cup (or more if you have a sweet tooth) icing sugar (which has corn starch in it to make the cream a bit stiffer) and then whip that cream with your electric mixer. You could add 1/3 cup cocoa but I am trying to model the Dutch Bakery with a more strict coffee flavour.
OK, that might not be a secret, but it did taste amazing. Oh, and thanks for the Happy Birthday sung on the phone. You and Carmen get better every year -though in your case it may have been Caleb's lovely harmony.