Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Happy Birthday, Mr. Thirty-Three.

Today is Robb's birthday.

Due to a very unfortunate turn of events with his business calendar, he is on a business trip in St. Louis all week long. So we cannot celebrate as I would like... and I don't know if you know this, but birthdays are sort of a big deal to me. So, I grieve his when it's not the hoopty-do I wish it was. But we went on a great date on Saturday night, and we will celebrate him further this weekend, with his family and mine.

And without a doubt, he is in my heart and on my mind all day today.

On a cross-country phone call today, I offered to make him something fun to take into work next week... his response, "Um, no thanks, babe. You don't have to do that."

Well, of course I don't have to. But I want to. Or maybe I should let his birthday be about him, and maybe men outgrow the joy of sharing birthday treats long about fifth grade.

His choice, I suppose.

Robb's very favorite birthday treat is my grandmother's chocolate cake. He loves it. He has asked for it every single year since we've been married, and for most of those 8 years, I botched it.

One year, I made the frosting (which is the shining crown on this delicious dessert) too thin, and all the chocolate goodness slid down the sides.

Another year, I was a little too generous with the "pinch of salt" in the frosting, and it was the saltiest cake you've ever tasted.

Still another year, I mastered the chocolate frosting but botched the colored frosting that I made to write Happy Birthday on top. It was a swirly mess of blue sugar on top... illegible at best, but highly edible. I promise.

And yet another year, I decided to go fancy-shmancy and make a three-layer cake for him. I adjusted the recipe and compiled the ingredients; I was really pleased with how tall and grandiose this cake would be. But then when I went to put it in the oven, I remembered that I only had two cake pans. I decided to pour the batter into my two faithful pans, forgetting that i had made 1.5 times the normal amount... so the batter overflowed everywhere. Not only did I have no cake to show for it, but I also had a great big mess.

And then we moved to Colorado: land of the high altitude baking. That summer, I adjusted in what I thought were all the right ways, and the cake was the driest thing you've ever tasted.

The next summer, the whole cake fell in the middle, compliments of the high altitude. What we had was a chocolate torte. But thanks to frosting (the shining crown of the recipe, remember), it at least maintained the appearance of being smooth. Frosting covers a multitude of sins... and baking errors.

Last year, my mom made it. It was perfect. She is a pro at such things... and she let me frost it and call it my own.

I'm pretty sure that brings us to this year. What does he want for his birthday dessert? Grandma's Chocolate Cake. And he will get it. Promise.

(It's a wonder it's still his favorite; his encounters with this cake are more often failures than tremendous successes. But, I guess this is a picture of his faith in me: we'll try it again this weekend.)

I guess I should be thankful he doesn't want to share it with all his professional colleagues; my baking mistakes can stay a secret, in the privacy of our own home.

So, in case you thought I was Betty Crocker in the kitchen, be not intimidated. More accurately, I am an Undomestic Goddess with really good intentions, a big heart, and lots of frosting.

Happy Birthday, handsome man. Your cake is coming.

(And your wife loves you a lot.)


Janet said...

And sappy too! ;)

QueenSamiJ said... know Chris' birthday is in two weeks and I said to him rather upset and distressed over the fact that I make him his favorite treat every year and take them to his work for him (for some reason, he won't take them in? I don't get it. hehe)and this year I do not have a functional kitchen as of late. And I'm not terribly sure when I will get a functioning kitchen. (I have been making due with my fantastic electric skillet from our cute little cousin Amy!) Maybe boys do grow out of "treats" ...Tricia, I don't get it either. lol