A Birthday Treatise on Frosting

I LOVE frosting!  It is one of my culinary passions.  I’m very picky about my frosting, too.  I guess that is why, when our daughter got married, she sent me to the cake baker to sample cake and icing since she said it obviously was more important to me than it was to her.  Ouch!  She was SO right, though.  By the way, the cake at her reception was fantastic.  Well, I guess it was.  I was too busy concentrating on the frosting, which was scrumptious.

Last year, on my birthday, I left it up to the Commander to see that I got a great slice of birthday cake.  Big mistake.  I ended up with a paltry cupcake from Barnes and Noble which was horrible.  So this year I decided to get my own birthday cake.

“I see that you were sampling your birthday cake a little early,” my husband remarked yesterday.

“Well, I had to make sure that the frosting was up to par,” I replied.  “It’s not all that great.  I might have to go find another cake.”

Did you know that frosting on cakes began as a practice in the 1600s?  It was more a glaze back then.  In the 1800s, frosting evolved into what we are more familiar with today.  Frosting can be used to add artistic embellishments to cake and also to add an additional sweet, creamy layer on the cake itself.

There is buttercream frosting made from butter, sugar, egg whites, and vanilla (one of my favorites), cooked or boiled frosting, whipped cream frosting (bah, humbug), and royal frosting. Then again, let us not forget cream-cheese frosting and peanut butter frosting, variations of buttercream frosting.  There is also marzipan, an almond paste type of icing which can be used to sculpt lovely flowers and other objects but which I find to be rather tasteless and fondant, where you add glycerin among other things to your frosting ingredients.  Ganache can be an icing made from chocolate and cream.  Forget using low-fat ingredients when making frosting.  This is one area where low-fat just doesn’t translate into a satisfactory product.  I’ve always had a weakness for “lard frosting” although people look at me like I’m crazy when I tell them that.  They don’t know what I’m talking about.  This is the type of frosting my grandmother always made, using lard as the shortening in her frosting, instead of butter.  Did you know that many commercial bakeries use lard also as the shortening for their icing?  Of course, when I say “lard”, she might have been using Crisco by the time I was born so who knows?

Well, enough about frosting.  My day DID start out extra special with a call from my sister-in-law followed by a Skype call with Jason, Laura and little Mika out in Indonesia.

Mika is a little over 7 months old now.  I love watching her on Skype and talking to her.  She even has some teeth.  And my, is she a cute little wiggle worm.  It won’t be long before she is tearing all over the place, I’m thinking.  It was so funny today because when she’d get fussy, they’d pick her up and turn her upside down and then I’d see her face looking at me upside down in the computer.  She’d be giggling away.  I wish I’d had my camera to record it all but I couldn’t type, talk, and take pictures at the same time.

Facebook has been a real delight, too with all sorts of lovely birthday wishes from friends around the country.

I also got to eat lunch with my mom today.  We had our usual time of reading together and when I asked her if she knew why this day was extra special, she wasn’t too sure until I told her the date.  Then she perked up and said, “Why, it’s your birthday.”

We had a lovely lunch together at the nursing home, having a good laugh when they forgot we were in the little private dining room and I had to stick my head out the door and corral someone to bring our food when I noticed that everyone in the main dining room was getting their desserts and we hadn’t even had our main dish yet.  I guess the staff had closed the door to our little room to give us some privacy and then had forgotten we were in there.  Ha!

When I took Mom back to her room, one of the nurses came in and said, “Your mom has been like this all day.”

“Like what,” I asked.

“All peppy and perky,” she answered.

“Ah, well that’s because it’s my birthday,” I laughed.  And truly, I couldn’t have asked for a better birthday present from Mom.

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Hot Flashed Funk

  • Happy Birthday! I’m so glad you had such a great gift ‘from’ your mom!

    I love the photo of little Mika – she is a cutie, for sure.

    Hope you have a wonderful evening and a blessed year ahead!

  • Dee,

    I am glad your birthday was so special and that you could talk to Mika.


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