Soon after Dan and I met, we had a discussion about birthday cakes. I told him how lucky I was that my parents always bought me a cake from the grocery store for my birthday. Mum would pick out a white cake that had lovely pink flowers on it. Then she would have the baker write "Happy Birthday" in pink icing on the cake. Just for me. And that made me feel special.
Dan said that for his birthday, his mother would bake him his favourite cake. It didn't matter what kind of cake his brother or his father wanted. It was Dan's birthday. The cake that his mother made was especially for him. And that made him feel special.
This conversation happened a long time ago. Just over thirteen years ago. I was still a teenager, and still inclined to do nice things for Dan "just because". I decided that since Dan's family lives so far away, and Dan wouldn't see his family that year for his birthday, I would make this cake for Dan.
I asked Dan how to make this cake. He had no idea. It was some recipe that only his mother had. No worries, I called his mother and asked her for the recipe. She seemed a bit confused. She said "You bake a Duncan Hines Chocolate cake, cut it in half, put some pudding in the middle, and cover it with whipped cream". I felt like an idiot! Thanks, Dan! I'm sure that this conversation was the one that resulted in my mother-in-law thinking I can't cook! Any fool can bake a Duncan Hines cake. However, it would have been helpful had she pointed out that there are two different kinds of pudding: the thick one that you use for making pudding cake, and the one that you make for regular pudding that if you put it between two layers of cake, it will run out of the cake, all over the table and onto the floor. Word to the wise, use the first kind!
Since I have not made this cake in about thirteen years, I thought that I would make it for Dan this year. Knowing me the way he does, Dan had only one request. He didn't want the whipped cream to be wonky colours. He wanted plain old white whipped cream.
I tried to honour his one birthday request...
Happy Birthday anyway!