One of the best unofficial perks of my job is the cake for birthdays. It’s not just getting a cake, as in any cake from a grocery store’s bakery. Cake in general doesn’t impress me. As an avid chocolate lover I find chocolate cake disappointing. And I am very particular about frosting. That light, whipped-cream tasting stuff is not, in my opinion, worth the calories.
Frosting, or icing (the Phillyism is icening), should be like my mom used to make it. She would use a stick of butter and some milk, confectioner’s sugar and vanilla extract. I don’t know if there were any other ingredients, unless you wanted chocolate icing: then cocoa powder was added, and probably more sugar until it tasted right. There was an enormous mixing bowl that attached to a base built right into the counter top. Was that the norm for houses built around 1965?
This department only gets cake from a specific Pennsylvania Dutch bakery in the Lansdale PA area. I am not going to say where, or everyone will want to go and get the chocolate cake and then there will be none left for us. Or it will cost more. They might even start selling it on the Internet. It would become an overnight boom and before long the quality would go down, making it ordinary, disappointing cake.
Okay, wait, I’m projecting. OUR chocolate cake is really, really chocolatey. An eight-inch (diameter) cake feels like it weighs five pounds (that would make the Internet thing slightly less practical). And it has real buttercream frosting, similar to the Mom-made kind I remember. My mom’s background is Pennsylvania Dutch as well as Irish, so that makes sense.
Today would be such a good day for cake. A Happy Friday cake. A the-bastards-haven’t-beaten-us-yet cake. Just-for-the-hell-of-it cake. End of summer? Labor Day weekend? School starts in a few days? Or just an unbirthday cake, for all those non-birthdays in the year.