Archive for June, 2017

I love birthdays. Especially mine. And I love birthday cake. Not the kind from the bakery, but actual homemade cake. My Mom always made our birthday cakes when we were growing up.

Below is a pic of one of Mary Ann’s cakes. This is my little sister, Melissa, on her second birthday. She’s blowing out her birthday candles surrounded by my sisters, Coleen and Tracy. Looks like Coleen’s helping her blow out the candles and Tracy is holding her by the PJ’s so she doesn’t fall off the chair. Melissa’s sporting a fancy birthday hat one of us made with paper and glitter. Not sure where I am — maybe those are my hands on the left. I’m probably clapping or rubbing my hands together excitedly because we had to eat Friday Night Casserole for dinner and I was starving.



My favorite was Mary Ann’s M & M Cake, which I thought she had invented: chocolate cake and chocolate frosting, decorated with M & Ms. Tracy knows how much I loved it, so here are some cupcakes and a mini M & M cake she made for a recent birthday of mine:



My second favorite cake was Cherry Chip with pink frosting and pink sprinkles. Mary Ann taught me how to bake when I was little, and I still like to bake. I’d make cakes and cookies with the nieces and nephews when they were little. Below is my niece, Madi, helping make a Cherry Chip Cake a few years ago. She’s quite the artist, so she made sure to add pink sprinkles just like Mary Ann would:



And here’s my niece, Addi, helping me make a cake when she was about 4:



Here’s a brownie-baking session with Addi:



The head-in-bowl technique was apparently something she learned from her Uncle Jay.


Here’s my nephew, Logan, at about 4, helping with chocolate chip cookies :



Or actually, feeding cookie dough to my sister’s dog:



There was another cake Mary Ann made that we liked. But if she had told me the ingredients involved, I would’ve never eaten it. It was called Mayonnaise Cake. There’s actually mayonnaise in it. That’s disgusting. I’m a Miracle Whip girl at heart, and never liked mayonnaise. Growing up in our house, there were always two condiments you’d find in the fridge, thanks to Papa Don: Heinz Ketchup (of course) and Miracle Whip. Papa Don used Miracle Whip on every sandwich, and it’s all my sisters and I used when we made school lunches. Miracle Whip and Land O’ Frost luncheon meats, Miracle Whip and American cheese, Miracle Whip and liverwurst (hurl). Papa Don even ate Miracle Whip and peanut butter sandwiches. I tried one once. Not a fan, but it was still better than Miracle Whip and liverwurst.

So I did like Mayonnaise Cake. It simply tasted like chocolate cake to me. Mary Ann would ice it with Cool Whip, which I’d scrape off. But you could’ve fooled me that there was mayonnaise in it. As I got older, I realized that adding mayonnaise was really no different than adding oil and eggs, so it made sense. So give this cake recipe a try if you run out of eggs and oil. Just be sure not to substitute Miracle Whip for the mayonnaise.

Mayonnaise Cake

1 Cup sugar

1 Cup water

1 Cup mayonnaise

1 tsp vanilla

2 Cups flour

½ Cup cocoa

½ tsp baking soda

Mix the sugar, water, mayonnaise and vanilla in a large bowl. Sift together the flour, cocoa and baking soda, and then add to the wet mixture, mixing until combined. Bake at 350 for 1 hour. When the cake is cooled, frost it with Cool Whip if you’re retro, or use good ol’ chocolate frosting. Or forget the frosting and place a doily on top of the cake and dust it with powdered sugar to make it ’70s fancy.


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