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September 14, 2008

Butter Rush

Filed under: Uncategorized — Twistie @ 1:13 pm

I love birthdays. I had one yesterday. I’m still feeling no pain.

The thing I love most about birthdays is birthday cake. Delicious, moist, flavorful, decadent birthday cake. Mine was chocolate with raspberry ginger buttercream frosting this year. And since I made it myself, I got to lick the beaters and everything. There are times when I am entirely a child, you know.

When I was an actual child, my mother made the cakes. When I was in my early teens, my mother took the Wilton cake decorating course and learned to do amazing things with Crisco buttercream…but I never liked those nearly so much. All the effort started going into the look of the cake and not the flavor or texture. The cakes got much, much prettier, but I would leave half the frosting (or more) on the plate because it tasted like Crisco with a dollop of almond extract in it. I can still admire the effort that goes into making a cake of the sort she did then, but I’m never eager to taste one.

Mr. Twistie told me for years that he detested buttercream frosting. If he was going to eat cake – which he almost never did even before his type II diabetes was diagnosed – he wanted whipped cream frosting because he hated buttercream.

Last night, we celebrated with a slice of cake each (Mr. Twistie carefully controlled his diet up to the big day so as to be able to do so without disaster, and will behave himself in the food department for a while to make up for it). I hadn’t really expected him to indulge, since he had been swearing up and down from the day I met him twenty-eight years ago that buttercream was disgusting. Well, last night was a revelation, apparently. He’d never had buttercream made with butter before.

No, Mr. Twistie is not suddenly going to lose his resolve and eat buttercream frosting every night. He and I would both like to keep him around with all his limbs intact for a while, yet, nor does he want to slip into a diabetic coma.

But a couple times a year now, he might share a slice of cake with me, even if I’ve frosted it in buttercream.

That’s a birthday present I couldn’t have asked for, and that can’t be beat.


  1. Twistie, I am so with you on the subject of birthdays. They should be celebrated as often and for as long as possible (I estimate that a 1 week long celebration is appropriate). They should also be accompanied by presents and birthday cake. Birthday cake as in frosting, roses and my name in writing on top! I absolutely refuse to age another year unless a gooey pastry adorned with edible, sugary vegetation is produced in my honor.

    Comment by gemdiva — September 14, 2008 @ 1:25 pm

  2. Hmmm…when’s your birthday, gemdiva?

    Comment by Twistie — September 14, 2008 @ 1:28 pm

  3. `Well, last night was a revelation, apparently. He’d never had buttercream made with butter before.´

    The Annalucia can relate to this. When she and the Tedesco were first married he swore that he despised mayonnaise – until he actually tasted some. It seems that the Tedesco s Irish mother (a delightful lady in so many ways) bought only Miracle Whip, believing it to be mayonnaise, when of course it is no such thing.

    Now the Annalucia is not the big consumer of mayonnaise (in fact she keeps it around only for making the sandwiches of tuna fish). Still, she is glad to have cleared up this serious culinary misunderstanding.

    Alas she is unable to make a traditional frosted cake that both looks and tastes good – the layers always slide out of place, for a slightly inebriated effect – so for her own birthday she makes the chocolate cheesecake, and for that of the Tedesco she makes the banana cream pie, and everyone is happy.

    Comment by Annalucia — September 14, 2008 @ 1:46 pm

  4. Happy birthday fellow Virgo! (mine is next Friday)

    I’m making my own birthday cake this year too – flourless chocolate cake. This is my first gluten-free birthday after being diagnosed with celiac disease this summer, so I think I’m going to stick with something simple that I’ve made before, rather than mucking around with alternative flours. Although, reading this makes me want to whip up the gluten-free cake mix I’ve got stashed away and make some buttercream frosting to go on it.

    Comment by Abbey — September 14, 2008 @ 1:51 pm

  5. Buttercream frosting is absolutely delicious. My favorite, stand-by for birthdays, bored days, or those times when I have manly-man friends around (consuming everything in sight), is the chocolate cake recipe from “Confetti Cakes” (lovely cookbook) with peanut butter swiss meringue buttercream. People seem afraid of trying to make the swiss meringue variety for some reason, but I’ve never had a problem with it. It’s also easy to make in a million different flavors. So light and fluffy and fabulous!

    Comment by crewbie — September 14, 2008 @ 2:56 pm

  6. Twistie,

    I’m a December 1st baby. A Sagittarius (proud owners of expansive personalities and expensive tastes).

    Comment by gemdiva — September 14, 2008 @ 6:34 pm

  7. Twistie,

    Happy birthday from your birthday twin. My birthday was also on Saturday. My sweet man’s sister made me a delicious cake with delicate yellow flowers on it. I also believe you should celebrate a birthday as long as possible – a week is good.

    Comment by Jane H. — September 15, 2008 @ 10:19 am

  8. Very happy birthdays to Abbey, Jane H., and all my fellow Virgoes out there! And yes, even those who happen to have birthdays in the time of some other, lesser Zodiac sign!

    Annalucia, my cakes – while tasty – will never be classed as particularly pretty. I do manage somehow to keep the layers more or less straight, but that’s as good as it gets, I’m afraid, in the ornamental aspect. Still, I firmly believe that taste trumps looks in food, if naught else. Then again, there’s no reason I would turn down a tasty homemade cheesecake or banana cream pie.

    I think, too, that we should all follow the example of the fabulous gemdiva and celebrate our birthdays as long as we can possibly manage. In fact, I believe I’ve been celebrating mine for more than a week and intend to carry on doing so at least well into this week. If I can stretch it out over the entire month, I absolutely intend to.

    Comment by Twistie — September 15, 2008 @ 2:56 pm

  9. I love homemade buttercream frosting, especially chocolate buttercream frosting.

    I have two of the Cake Doctor books by Anne Birn, one is strictly cupcake recipes. I love these books because you can use cake mixes and tweak them so they taste like from scratch desserts. But all her frostings are from scratch and what I like is that they are less sweet than can frostings. You don’t skimp out on the sugar though, but they’re not as heavy.

    My birthday isn’t until January 29, so I have no idea what my cake will be. It won’t be homemade, as my mother uses the grocery store as her source of cakes.

    Comment by Bree — September 15, 2008 @ 6:11 pm

  10. Happy, happy belated birthday to the lovely Twistie!

    Comment by Glinda — September 15, 2008 @ 10:09 pm

  11. Ooh, happy birthday! Plus many more!

    You’re so right about real buttercream…for many a year I thought I didn’t like wedding cake at all until I realized that part of the problem was the nasty frosting. My favorite frosting is actually a cream cheese buttercream mix, which just can’t be faked with shortening.

    Comment by Never teh Bride — September 17, 2008 @ 11:08 am

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