It was standing room only in our Mesta Park dining room last weekend. I was extremely happy to be lighting candles on Kyle’s twenty-first birthday cake. And to be honest, I was filled with relief. There had been plenty of calzones in spite of the near kitchen catastrophe that almost left none.
While an over ambitious menu worked against me that day, it was mostly Sunday’s cooler temperature that set me up for my latest Lucy Ricardo dose of disaster. Cold weather always sends my bread dough into a slightly heated oven to rise. And then I always remove it before preheating the oven. Except….this time…when I remained blissfully unaware I had just set three lovely batches of risen dough to bake at 450 degrees. Fifteen minutes later, freshly dressed for party success, I unwittingly returned to the kitchen to play the starring role of my very own I Love Lucy episode. With my hubby playing his normal supporting role, I opened the oven door to stand trancelike before this huge glob of almost baked dough, while this stream of consciousness emptied unfiltered from my whirling disbelieving mind into a kitchen saturated with the fresh aroma of baking bread.
“I cannot believe I did this.”
“Can you believe I did this?”
“What are we going to do now?”
Being the very intelligent man that he is, my husband said absolutely nothing — unlike Desi Arnaz, he knew no splainin’ from me was going to avert this dinner party crisis staring us in the face. And as for me, destined to play the part of the witless heroine, I desperately grabbed for my own happy ending as I removed the heavy glob from the oven to carefully peel the baked bread away from its bowl. Underneath the golden brown crust, still soft and gooey, was about a third of the dough… enough for me to stretch into small calzones for everyone, with two to spare. Well….make that one. Because as we were all celebrating in the dining room, our standard poodle Max was having his own private party in the kitchen, woofing down the calzone he’d swiped off the countertop.
With kitchen mayhem finally under wraps, it was time for the spotlight to shine on Kyle and the lovely little traditional birthday cake so fitting for February birthdays. Made from a hand-me-down recipe of Grandma Betty’s, but baked in the shape of a heart, the cake did not resemble the famous I Love Lucy satin heart logo. But it should have.
Grandma Betty’s Birthday Cake
Best made 8 – 12 hours before serving
Cake: Bake one white cake mix prepared according to package directions in two 9” cake pans. Allow cake to cool on baking rack.
Frosting: In a small bowl, blend 1 ½ cups of whipping cream with the boxed contents of one Betty Crocker Home Style Fluffy White Frosting Mix. Chill one hour. Then beat until stiff peaks form.
Filling & Topping: 1 can of Wilderness Cherry Pie Filling
To assemble, spread 1 cup of frosting on first layer with ¼ of the can of pie filling. Add top layer and frost sides and top of cake. Add remaining cherries to top of cake. Keep refrigerated between servings.