On Saturday Molly baked her grandmother a chocolate cake, a sweet gesture on many levels. But Molly’s Grandma winters 1,425 miles away and so begins the story of the $100 birthday cake.
The tradition of a rich, homemade chocolate birthday cake begins in Cincinnati, in the small but sophisticated kitchen of my Grandmother, Dorothy Fey.
Standing on heels, wearing frilly aprons and pearls, my maternal grandmother baked beautiful peach pies and perfect chocolate chip cookies. Her signature dessert, though, was her chocolate fudge cake. She would have approved of the fudgy confection Molly whipped up this weekend and, as a Monty Python fan, she would have been amused at our absurd efforts to get the cake to Florida in an edible state.
First, Molly coated the cake with two to three inches of frosting, reasoning that the icing would act as an airbag for the cake within. We loaded it into a Tupperware cake container, purchased just for this occasion, and then jammed the whole thing into a cardboard box.
Just before I brought the box to the UPS counter for shipping, I banged my head on the car door, which may have explained the stars I saw when the kind gentleman behind the counter told me it would be $100 to overnight my cake to Florida.
“I’m sorry, what did you say?”
“It’s gonna be $100. Ouch. You might want to put some snow on that welt on your face,” he said.
“That seems a little steep for a birthday cake,” I said.
“I’d send it three-day. That will be $36 and it will get there on Thursday.”
“My mother will never eat a five-day old birthday cake,” I said.
We huddled up with another gentleman, who told me you could barely see the mark on my face but it did look like it hurt, and we all decided the second-day rate would be best.
By now, my mother should be enjoying a big old slice of chocolate cake, sent from one brick house in Wisconsin with fond memories of another brick house long ago.
Here is Molly’s Super Delicious Deep Dark Chocolate Cake Recipe
(Which is not my Grandma’s but it’s pretty close)
1 3/4 cups flour
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup Hershey’s Cocoa
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp. vanilla
1 cup boiling water
Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add remaining ingredients except boiling water. Beat at medium speed for 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water. Pour into two greased and floured 9″ pans. Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes. Cool 10 minutes on rack and remove from pan.
Molly can’t include her frosting recipe because her Grandma really dislikes butter. But there are some dairy ingredients in it, cocoa, powdered sugar and vanilla. She makes lots of it when she frosts cakes.
|How great is this picture? This is my Aunt Doris, my mom
and my Grandma in their pearls and heels in the midst of
|Here is Molly’s chocolate cake before the journey.
She added extra dollops of chocolate frosting to
pillow the cake.
|We’re hoping this lovely Tupperware container
cushions the blow.
|This is an action shot of me banging my head on the car door.
For some reason, I wanted to take one last shot of the package
before I sealed it, and the wind whipped the door into my face
as I shot it. I smell a Christmas card.