Sometimes old school is the best way. The NY Times might have revived it a few years ago, but this recipe dates back to the 30’s or 40’s. If you need a quick, easy, and reliable cake for a dinner party or birthday this is the recipe to use. It all gets ‘dumped’ into one bowl, poured into the pan, baked, and frosted.
You need to allow for cooling time but the hands on-time is less than an hour to have a sweet, moist, chocolaty cake sure to please just about anyone you’ve invited to your party. Or just your family. Or, okay, just you.
Today is my ninth Father’s Day. That is plenty long enough for habits and routines to become well worn. That is at least a thousand diapers. A thousand daycare pickups. A thousand water bottles filled. A thousand pieces of plain pasta cooked. A thousand soapy tubs emptied. As any parent knows these routines are critical for survival. These routines get us through the day with children on the bus, lunches packed, clothes laundered and bedtime stories read. They help us order our world.
It is impossible to see and feel all of those things for the first time, every time. If every experience brought that rush of the first experience, a single day would overwhelm and exhaust even the hardiest parent. If each day were full of firsts, my legs would crumple and my chest would heave with effort before noon.
Habits and routine are every parent’s secret weapon. I fear they are also dangerous. Habits can quickly make the extraordinary seem ordinary. If you’re not careful, you find yourself looking at the world through a dull, gray gauze. A whisper of brown hair is Ally. Flecks of aquamarine eyes is Cecilia. But did I see them? Really see them? Routine is an insatiable thing. It will consume the familiar and make the everyday seem mundane. They can blind you to the insane miracle of your children. Of being a father.
Of course, miracle is not the first word that comes to mind when I hear little feet going down the stairs at 5:45. Insane on the other hand…..time to be a Dad.
Quick and easy might also describe how fast this cake disappeared in my house!
Yesterday was Michelle’s birthday and after the excess of Easter, including a decadent three-layer carrot cake, she claimed she didn’t want any cake on her birthday. There was no way I was going to let that stand. Life is too short not to eat cake on your birthday.
But I could see her point, too. I definitely like my desserts, almost as much as the kids, but sometimes a little can go a long way. Thank you, Dessert for Two for introducing me to the world of mini cakes last year.
For a family of four, a mini cake is the perfect thing for a mid-week celebration where prep time might be short or for keeping that celebratory pomp and circumstance but without being left with an entire cake to eat.