Erica's Blog

The Try Something New Everyday experiment

Today I made my Birthday Cake

on September 10, 2014

Tomorrow is my birthday!  Woo-hoo!! : )

But I’m home alone…hubs is on travel for work.  So in order to have a birthday cake, I must bake it myself.  No pity party though…I’m having a blast celebrating by myself.  In fact, I started the celebration over the weekend.  : )

I have two favorite flavors:  Yellow cake with chocolate icing and Pink Strawberry cake with Pink Strawberry icing.  This year, I decided on Strawberry.  I even have some frozen strawberries that I envisioned thawing out and playing with cutting them in creative ways to decorate the cake…you know, something new!

On the way home yesterday, I popped into Walmart to pick up the cake mix and icing.  To my dismay, I had issues finding the ingredients.  Err, box and tub.  “Ingredients” sounds like I’m baking from scratch.  I could…but I’m not.

When I entered the aisle, I did the quick scan, figuring the pink picture would certainly stand out.  Didn’t see it.

Then I stood back, studying the whole cake section, feeling assured it would magically appear.  No abracadabra.

Then I thought, maybe it’s my method.  So I scan the shelves from top to bottom.  Still no luck.

I continued to stand…in total disbelief.  I mean, how can they not have it?!  Pink Strawberry cake mix is one of the pillars of cake mix flavors!  Vanilla…Chocolate…and Strawberry!  Totally evidenced by Neapolitan (aka Napoleon) ice cream…Chocolate, Vanilla and Strawberry.  Pillar!  They MUST have it!!

I’m determined.

I examined every price sticker label on the shelf.  Surly it’s here somewhere.  After a few minutes of reading the labels, I found it…on the bottom shelf!   Well, certainly an unfitting shelf spot, but at least they redeemed themselves for having it.  But it looked empty.  What’s a girl desperate for birthday cake to do?  Get on her hands and knees to look all the way in the back to verify.  Hey, I got no shame in my game.  Low and behold, they had one…one lone box!

Ah ha!  Yes!  Persistence pays!

Now for the icing…of course I didn’t see it with a quick scan.  Then I did a methodical scan of the shelves…bottom to top this time.   They caught me once.  Not again!  But I still didn’t see it.  Then I looked at every label.  NONE!  Nothing said strawberry.  But they sure do have dark chocolate, german chocolate, milk chocolate and homestyle chocolate.  But no strawberry.   AND they have both caramel cake mix AND caramel icing.

What?!  When did caramel earn it’s place as a cake flavor?!  Now, yes…that does sound delicious…but I’m on a mission for Pink Strawberry!

You know…I could more accept that they didn’t have either cake mix or the icing.  But to have one and not the other?!  Complete illogicalness!

Well, I’m not buying one without the other.  And they aren’t the only gig in town.  So I move on to Target.

I headed straight for the baking aisle and did a quick scan.  My heart jumped!  Yes!  They have it!  Oh, but wait…it’s a pink cake mix by Charm City Cakes.  Far from beloved Betty Crocker or Duncan Hines.  And it’s just pink…no strawberry.  I continued to scan.  Nothing.  I did my thorough scan, top to bottom (because for sure Target would have more respect for Strawberry).  Nothing.  Target, in contrast to Walmart, has neatly organized shelves and not a mix is out of place.  It’s very evident they don’t have it.

Target, you missed the bullseye.


I retreat home.  After supper, I began planning my tomorrow and figured I would pop into another store while out and about.

But then I had a thought.  What if I don’t make a Pink Strawberry cake?  What if I make something else?  Who says I have to have cake?  It’s my birthday!  I could have anything I want!  Maybe there’s something more indulgent that I don’t dare ever make.

And then it hit me!  My grandmother’s French Silk Pie!!  I ALWAYS asked her to make it for me!  It’s absolutely my favorite.  My dear grandmother passed in 2009 and I probably haven’t had it since.  Considering it’s just butter, sugar and chocolate…yeah, I don’t make that…ever!  It’s definitely a rare occasion indulgence.   Luckily, I don’t even have to venture out to those disappointing stores!  I have all the ingredients already on hand!


Tonight I whipped up the pie of spectacularness!  Yeah, I just made that word up…it’s my birthday!

The whole time, all those lovely memories of cooking with my grandmother in her kitchen flooded back to me.  I could almost hear her giving me guidance as I measured and poured into the mixer.  “Use your wrist when you beat your eggs” or “Don’t worry about exact measurements…a little extra sugar never hurt anyone”.  And I remember every time she used vanilla, she’d put a few dabs behind her ears.  “No man can resist a woman who smells of vanilla” she’d advise.  I miss her more than words could ever express but I focus on the blessing she was in my life, the close, deep bond we share and treasure my sweet, tender memories of her.


Anyhoo, back to the par-tay!  Thank goodness for Kitchen Aide mixers!  When we used to make the pies together, we used a hand mixer…and stood…and stood mixing the pie filling for like 10 minutes.  Not anymore!  I threw (well gently poured) all the ingredients into the mixer bowl, closed down the mixer head, flipped a switch and stood watch as it did all the work.

French Silk Pie is similar to a mousse.  You have to introduce a lot of air into the mixture for the pie to have some body.  After about 4 minutes, I turned off the mixer and taste tested it.  Oh my golly…it melted in my mouth.  Ahh!! Heavenly!!

But I like mine a certain way.  I like mine to have just a bit of the sugar granules in the filling.  And in this mixture, the sugar had been beaten to perfect blendation.  (Yep, that’s me…just weaving together new wordage!)

My grandmother would add a small amount of powdered sugar in the recipe.  Mostly because after hand mixing the filling for 10+ minutes, your hands get tired…your shoulders aches…you regret your choice to stand at the counter when really sitting at the table would have been oh so comfortable…but the cord won’t reach and the mixing angle would be awkward…and about that time you think “Ah ha!  Powdered sugar would get this to set quickly!”

Thus far I hadn’t used the powdered sugar so I added some more sugar, let the blender mix it for 30 seconds and viola!  Perfection!

Now the pie is ready for the fridge to stiffen up.


And you know the best thing about celebrating your birthday alone???


No fighting over the beater.

Oh yeah!!




4 responses to “Today I made my Birthday Cake

  1. Happy birthday! its my birthday as well 🙂 i hope it is wonderful for you

  2. christinajavete says:

    Awesome!! Happy birthday to you!! <3<3

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