Like Mother Like Daughter
It's five in the afternoon, and I'm debating whether to sacrifice valuable calories for a glass of wine, or save them for a piece of the cake my daughter made last night. It's really no contest.
That cake! Oh, my goodness. I let my daughter make it with her two friends all on their own. It was from a boxed mix so all they had to do was throw in the eggs, water, and oil. No problem.
I was working on my computer when my daughter popped in my office and said, "Mom, where's the recipe for the icing?" Her friends were right behind her, on either side: one blond, one brunette, and my daughter, the redhead.
This would have been my cue to get up, sigh, and lead the parade of girls back into the kitchen to find the recipe for them, and stick around to oversee the proper making and frosting of the cake.
But doggone it, I didn't want to get up. “It’s in the recipe book on the counter by the pantry,” I said. “The one we always use. You’ll find it,” I said brightly. She turned away, the friends pivoted on their heels and marched off in formation behind her, determined not to let anything so trivial as a recipe stand in their way.
A few seconds of frantic looking later, my daughter must have thrown in the towel. I can picture the scene: “Oh well, I’ve made icing lots of times. It’s just a box of powdered sugar, a teaspoon of vanilla, and butter,” she probably said as she gathered the ingredients. To herself she must have been thinking: but how much butter, one stick or two? Best not to let the troops see you sweat.
I could hear the faint whir of the mixer and lots of giggling as the girls fluffed he butter, added the powdered sugar and vanilla, then shook out a few drops of green food coloring to make it pretty. My daughter has helped me frost cakes many times and knows you have to wait until the cake is cooled before icing, but in their lust for cake, the girls put the icing on while it was still warm.
"Mo-om!" she bellowed. "Helllllllp!"
I ran into the kitchen, bracing myself for the sight of blood. Oh the horror! The icing had melted into that warm cake and ran down the sides in variegated light and dark, greasy green streaks. Before I could even say, "What the?" the top layer began slowly sliding sideways, sliding, sliding, sliding, until the bottom edge came to a halt on the counter, and the top edge pointed up to the sky like a flying saucer cruising sideways.
"Mom, help!" my daughter screamed. As if I could, I thought. Then the three of them burst out laughing as the frosting started flowing down the flying saucer in slow motion, making a seafoam green slime pool on the countertop.
“This is just like that ‘Macarthur Park,’ song,” I said.
“Huh?” they chorused.
The girls' fingers nosed cautiously into the frosting, and soon they were brave enough to venture a little sample. "Tastes a lot like butter," the blond said.
I dipped my finger in. "A LOT like butter," I laughed. "How much did you put in there?"
"Just two sticks," my daughter answered, eyes wide and looking slightly down as if to say, I may be stupid but ain’t I cute?
"Two sticks? It's supposed to be six tablespoons, not two sticks. You put sixteen tablespoons of butter in that icing!"
The girls thought that was side-splitting, double-over hilarious. They laughed and licked frosting and nearly choked on their glee. We sliced ourselves an experimental piece of the bottom layer of cake, a little scared because the icing had oozed down into every crack and pore, and it looked soggy and greasy.
Oh, but that greasy green butter cake is the best thing I’ve ever tasted. You have to close your eyes to eat it, it's so ugly. But it beats a glass of wine, hands down.