Oh, what a lovely and magical weekend! It is my habit when I wish people a 'Happy Birthday' to want for them a 'magical year'. I don't always know exactly what I mean by that but I mean it anyway. But this week(end) defined it for our family. We just had such a truly wonderful time. Most importantly though, so did Vaughn!
Let's just be clear. Vaughn loves cake. I mean he really, really loves it! I know you are thinking "who doesn't love cake?". Well, in our family there are four people who don't. (I'll give you a hint, it's not me.) To be fair both Jorn and Simonne love cake as a delivery method for frosting. Greg is ambivalent about both. Vaughn on the other hand loves cake in it's entirety. That made me happy because I actually baked two cakes for him not even knowing they would be so well received.
The first was a double layer/double recipe of one of our new(ish) favorite cakes. It's maya*made's one bowl apple cake. I made this one Friday night for Vaughn's actual birthday because everyone should have an actual birthday cake and the leftovers of this one make a perfect indulgent breakfast the next morning! Do yourself a favor and make one. Really. It doesn't hold up well to being stacked in layers though. So don't bother. Just make it like she says and you will be very pleased.
For the party I made what has now become the famous 'Kitchen Sink Carrot Cake'. Whenever I make this cake people always say it is the best carrot cake they have ever had! This time was no exception and this was the first time I made the cake gluten free! Still, my neighbor actually came down today just to tell me that carrot cake is her favorite and that this was the best one she's had. Honestly the cake couldn't be any simpler. It's from one of my favorite but now sadly out of print books The Book of Birthdays. This book is such a gem. It's a little coffee table book about birthdays that is filled with the most wonderful vintage illustrations, birthday quotes, astrological facts, old party games, historical birthday facts and recipes. I have had my copy for years and it comes out for every celebration. Can a book be charming? If it can this is the most charming book ever! If you are lucky enough to come across a copy in a used book store don't hesitate a moment.
In my last post I mentioned that I wish I could have had you all over for some cake. Since I couldn't I'd like to share the carrot cake recipe with you! Bake one and have a bite for Vaughn and our brood! (My mods are in parenthesis.)
Crunchy Carrot Cake from The Book of Birthdays
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 sticks of butter, melted
1/2 cup orange juice
2 cups flour (I use Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free AP mix)
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 2/3 cups of grated carrot
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
1 can vanilla icing (but I use this recipe which gets rave reviews all the time, we don't do cans)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Beat eggs in a large bowl, gradually adding brown sugar, melted butter and orange juice. In a separate and larger bowl, stir flour, baking powder, and spices together. Add egg mixture to dry ingredients and stir. Last add grated carrot, chocolate chips, raisins and walnuts and mix together. Grease and lightly flour a tube pan. (I double the recipe and make a huge four layer cake because, why not?!)
Pour batter into tube pan and bake for 1 hour or until knife comes out clean. Cool on wire rack. If desired, when cool, spread on vanilla icing. (I decrease my baking time to about 30 minutes because I use 9" round cake pans)
Go here if you want to see Vaughn blow his birthday candle out for himself. Be warned! No babies were injured during the making of this video ;)
But wait! This post goes on!
Besides cake there was also a lot of family to add some magic to the day! Two of my sisters came up for the party (a three hour drive) and it is always so much fun to see them. We have a very unique family. Both my mother and father have been married a few times so I have lots of brothers and sisters, technically half or step. But each time we gather I learn so much about myself and my family. I am the baby of the bunch by 11 years! This time I found out that my paternal grandmother, who died before I was born, always wore an apron. How about that? That apron isn't a fashion statement in the picture, I just always wear aprons. It was a great gift to have my sisters here to celebrate Vaughn's birthday with us and he just adores them.
Greg's parents were here which is always wonderful! Nana has the job of post cake wash up which she is the best at! She spent her working life as a nurse in the maternity ward of a huge city hospital so no one can wash a baby as quickly or thoroughly as Nana! It's just not possible.
There were lots of gifts that Vaughn is enjoying when he gets to play with them. Simonne and Jorn are enjoying them too ;) They were great at helping him unwrap which he hasn't quite gotten the hang of yet. Handmade gift round up soon!
Jorn went into an enormous gift bag which was a real highlight for him. It's not something they see much of here. My poor, deprived children have their gifts wrapped in vintage paper (the same one all the time since I have a huge ream of what I think is the coolest vintage paper I have ever seen) or handmade wrappings! ;) But don't underestimate the sheer entertainment value of enormous gift bags especially when they tip over!
There were sweet and conflicting moments when Greg and I wondered if this would be the last first birthday party we might have. We are not planners, so you never know. Still, we had to soak that all in.
It was such a lovely time made even more so by all the wonderful and heartfelt birthday wishes Vaughn received here! I would sneak away during the week to check the blog and each and every comment put the hugest smile on my face. I'm going to go back and read through them now. Thank you, deeply and truly.
The weekend ended with a family trip to a Poultry Swap! And while Greg and I may not know if we'll add to our human family, our farm family just got bigger by three new members! I'll introduce you to them soon.
In the meantime I hope your weekend was filled with magic and that your week will be too!