Wednesday Food: Birthday Memories

I am one who never liked to recognize my birthday.  It was always a source of embarrassment growing up...until now!  My birthday was October 18th (yesterday), and this year I turn 29.  Alright, now you know.  And why am I coming out of the birthday closet?  To share some birthday food memories!

In my younger years, we used to get ice cream cakes from the Custard Corner, a soft serve joint down the street from our home.  Every year I had to decide what super cool and rad character was going to be on my cake.  I had Super Mario Bros, ALF, Fraggles and various Halloween themed designs.  Even if my birthday was in October and probably too cold for ice cream, who cares!  They were the bestest ever!

But those radical birthdays soon gave way to embarrassing ones.  For a few years, my family would take me to different restaurants to celebrate and I always got "the birthday treatment".  A mortifying song and dance by the waitstaff.  Whether it was Mariachi style or Motown it always made me feel so uncomfortable.  Did anybody else get that?  Now, I love going out to dinner, but something like this would have been just fine.....

When there wasn't ice cream cake to be had or the impending doom of birthday songs at random restaurants, we had another tradition.  Some may be familiar with this one, it's called Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake.  Sounds gross, huh?  Eric thinks so too, but I'm about to change his mind!

This falls under the category of what I call Depression-Era Food.  When your dairy was rationed but still wanted to make a delicious cake, the mayo substitutes for milk, eggs and oil/butter.  A lot of the food I grew up on falls into this category - Cheap!  Meals and recipes my grandmother grew up on, then my mom and I in turn grew up on them as well.  You'll be seeing more of them in the future, but for now, take this cake!

Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake 
preheat oven to 350

1c. sugar
2c. all purpose flour
4 heaping Tablespoons of cocoa
pinch of salt
1c. cold water with 2t. baking soda mixed in
3/4c. mayonnaise (DO NOT use Miracle Whip!)
              * I'd be curious to see how Veganaise would work...future post??
1t. vanilla

1)Combine your dry ingredients (sugar, flour, cocoa, salt). And for those who are wondering, this is what a heaping Tablespoon looks like.

2) Add in your wet ingredients (water w/ baking soda, mayo, vanilla) and mix just till combined.  You don't want to over mix b/c it will make the cake super tough!

3) I'm baking in a 9" cake pan, you can also do it in a 9"x13" casserole dish (like mom always did!).  Bake for about 30 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. 

Wow, could this be any easier?  I even got Eric to like it!  This cake is so surprisingly moist, it will keep for days!!

I made some whipped cream to go along with it.  Just some heavy cream, a little sugar and a touch of cinnamon.
I'll end this with one more birthday memory.  For the most part, birthdays since I was a kid have been pretty low key.  If my friends knew when my birthday was, we would just hang out and someone would make a cake.  Thankfully, when I met Eric he felt the same way about birthdays as I do so it worked very well.  But he still would try to make the day special in his own subtle ways.  A couple of years ago, I had to work 16 hours on my birthday (between two jobs).  When I was leaving one job to go to the next, Eric was waiting for me with roses, a sandwich (cause he knew I would forget to eat) and took me out for coffee and a pastry.  Not only did it bring tears to my eyes, but if I was gonna get through the day the coffee was going to be a necessity!

And remember when the kitchen gets too hot, get back in there and keep cooking!


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