Chocolate Cake for Papa's Birthday

another dessert requiring hyperbolic language

It's been a busy weekend--church retreat in Port Orchard, racing home across the Tacoma Narrows Bridge to be home in time for my dad's birthday picnic at Seward Park.  A lot of sunshine and memories packed into 48 hours.  Last night, crossing the field with the kids to the sing-a-long, it occurred to me (for once, I was being reflective.  Ha!) what a countercultural thing it was for all these busy people to break away from their lives and be together.  As we got closer to the lodge, I could hear the guitars, everyone singing Edelweiss, and it felt like we were warming ourselves in the middle of a cold world.  I love the people at my church--lawyers, teachers, retirees, single moms, kids with two moms or two dads, lonely people, passionate ones.  We need each other like crazy and I'm glad we didn't stay home and do whatever it was we would have done.

But then this cake.  Oh my Lord.  I don't post an awful lot of desserts on here.  I'll leave the baking blogs to people with more patience than me.  And I didn't make this one--my sister did.  It so happens I've made it before, though, and always meant to come back to it when an occasion arose.  My mom brought an amazing portable feast down from Bellingham--tomatillo pulled pork with grilled Hatch chiles on rolls, guacamole, corn and rice salad, slaw.  That's a whole other posting.  Then my sister unveiled this cake, and we must have barraged her with compliments for a good 20 minutes.  I could tell, slicing it up for the panting grandchildren, that it was going to be perfect.  The knife slid through with just the right amount of resistance, a bit of bittersweet buttercream sticking to the blade.  And its crumb was so moist and firm, I could eat it with a spoon.  This is what chocolate cake is meant to be--two layers that have reached their fullest potential.

after our attack

All my dad ever wants for his birthday is to be with us, and sometimes the stars don't align.   This year they did, and he seemed so happy to have us all there, Loretta following him around like he was Brad Pitt.  She adores him and thinks everything he does is perfect.  Can't say I disagree with her.  Happy Birthday, Papa.

Happy Birthday, Papa

Double Chocolate Layer Cake
My sister followed this recipe EXCEPT she used bittersweet chocolate for the frosting instead of semisweet, which I think was a wise move.  And she shaved a bit of white chocolate on top and added some raspberries in her beautiful, designerly way.

You can find the recipe here