February 18th was my son’s 17th birthday. He was excited because he had off from public school (for Presidents’ Day). And he was excited because he made it into the local fire company (he can literally run there) as a junior firefighter (no more quiet moments in this house — I mean, should there have ever been any…). And he was excited because I baked his cake and designed it the way he wanted…


I found the recipe I use in the Joy of Cooking cookbook, by Irma Rombauer, which is kinda my “go to” cooking manual, and finally tried it one day just to see if I liked it. I won’t give away all the intricacies of the recipe, but I will say that it is more than worth it to try! It does not take that much time, really — baking from scratch as opposed to a box is much better in my opinion (no artificial everything). But this recipe uses real chocolate, chopped and melted (4 ounces) and then mixed in with 3/4 cup mayonnaise, as opposed to using cocoa powder. While that may seem a little fussy, I think that it gives the cake an extra boost of chocolatey goodness that you just can’t always achieve with cocoa powder. I personally attribute this to the fact that the melted chocolate incorporates much more smoothly and evenly into the mayonnaise, so there are no little clumpy bits of cocoa (which always happens to me even if I sift! ugh!!!). Not to knock cocoa — it is delcious and works great in many recipes. But this particular cake’s taste really shines when using real chocolate.

So the cake was cooling — and stuck in the pan (ever suffer memory loss when baking and forget to grease and flour??). And I was trying to figure out the best method to achieve the particular design my teen country boy wanted for the cake. I chose to work with fondant, mostly because I thought the stars would be better cut than piped. At least by me. I’ve taken several Wilton courses, but time is just not always in my favor when trying to achieve birthday cake perfection. So a quick trek to Michael’s and I was able to procure fondant in a box. Not as exciting as homemade, and certainly not as tasty! Next time I will think things through a bit better to plan ahead. Of course, hopefully I won’t be recovering from a week of illness and scrambling last-minute to get stuff done. But que sera sera, right?! So, ever one to make the best of things, I bought the fondant. But the one benefit is that they make the stuff pre-mixed in colors, so I did not have to mess with red!

Anyway, this is what the finished product looked like:


He liked it! So I count that a success…And since it’s just about gone, everyone thought it was quite tasty too!