Sunday, September 6, 2009

Old School

For the past 15 years we have been buying Joey's birthday cakes from Helen Bernhard Bakery in Northeast Portland. We have had pirate themed cakes, batman cakes (a few of them), soccer themed cakes, tennis themed cakes, music themed cakes... and just plain old birthday themed cakes. Helen Bernhard's was always Joey's favorite. He absolutely loves their chocolate butter cream frosting. Well, folks, times they are a changin'.... we have now decided we will make all our birthday cakes at home--from scratch. No fancy bakery decorated cakes and certainly no store bought mixes. We strive to know what every ingredient in our cake (and all our food) is and also that it is the freshest we can find.

Below: me and Grandpa John outside Grandma & Grandpa's house in Southeast Portland with my Mom's turquoise Metropolitan in the driveway behind us.
We are going back in time and doing it the old fashioned way. One of my favorite things to do when I was a child was to visit my Grandparent's house in Southeast Portland and we visited them all the time. Their house wasn't big or fancy, but when you walked in the front door you could smell the fresh brewed coffee and all kinds of delicious goodness that was cooked in their modest kitchen. My Grandma made THE BEST scrambled eggs ever. They also had a beautiful garden. I loved going over and helping my Grandpa "harvest" the peas. We would pick them off of the simple chain link fence that separated their yard from the neighbors and we would shell them right there sitting on the grass and gravel driveway. Every season my Grandma canned anything she could find. Their basement was kinda scary, cold, dark and a bit musty, but I knew canned goods of all varieties resided there. Grandma or Grandpa would go down to the cellar and bring back the most wonderful canned peaches or pears. Maybe a little apple butter or delicious green beans or bread & butter pickles. Canning: an old school tradition for another day perhaps. At least in our house, canning is something we often talk about, but haven't quite mustered the resolve to practice on a regular basis. Next week maybe?

But for today, we will be making our cakes from scratch. Labor Day this year is a very big day for us as it is perhaps the last birthday Joey will celebrate at home for a while. We will be making a 'Mile-High Chocolate Cake with Vanilla Cream Filling and Chocolate Butter Cream Frosting' and a 'Frosted Apple Spice Cake with Walnuts and Currants'. There won't be any Batmobiles or purple confetti, but I am thinking they are going to be delicious.

Weird, two cake posts in a row... huh.


Kim Williams said...

I have been craving wedding cake since you last post. Maybe I will have to break down and make that zucchini cake recipe I got from you!

Lindsay said...

Can I come to your place for my birthday??

Blackberry Bratt said...

Does your amazing food journey on your vacation have anything to do with this enhanced effort at fresh foods in your home? I say enhanced because it seems like you already apply that principle in so many ways.

If you want some company canning, let me know. I have no skills but would love to assist and learn in whatever way I can.

kjlubitz said...

That chocolate zucchini cake IS very good.

Lindsay, you know you can come to our house anytime, birthday or not, but I hope you don't wait until March to come for a visit :). If you decide to come for a visit, we WILL make cake. Gee, it appears as if I am a little obsessed by cake lately.

And yes, Jennifer we should do a canning party. Its a good thing! We need to do it before Joey leaves for college. Actually, we need to do it when things are plentiful--like now!!!