Tuesday, December 14, 2010

It’s All Happening: November Birthday Cake of the Month/Chrysanthemum Cake

One of my all-time favorite movies is Almost Famous and there’s a line from the movie that struck a chord with me the very first time I heard it: “It’s all happening.” It basically refers to one of those moments in life when everything seems to come together at once. I’ve doodled this quote in journals and in the margins of notebooks many, many times since I first heard it ten years ago (has it really been that long since the movie was released?). Over the past two years, however, the meaning of the quote changed somewhat for me. A lot was happening, but it wasn’t the type of stuff that causes you to squeal with joy and throw your hands into the air with jubilation. Until recently. 

Murphy has a very exciting announcement to make and he couldn’t think of a better way to do it than with a cake:

In February, Murphy will become a big brother…well, at least that’s what we’re calling it. Ryan and I are expecting our first baby! And quite honestly, I don’t know who is more excited, us or the dog. In fact, Murphy knew before we did (I’m not kidding) and ever since his amazing discovery, he has become my shadow and protector. He pokes my belly all the time and when we ask him where the baby is, he gently places his wet nose on my stomach. It’s pretty incredible to watch.

I’ve waited to make this announcement on the blog until I had a job, which leads me to my second big announcement (one that Murphy is definitely not as excited about): I got a job. It’s only part-time, but I’m excited to have a paycheck and with our current situation, it works out very well.

I apologize for the lack of posts recently and for sending out the November birthday cake of the month so late, but between the pregnancy and starting a new job, I have been absolutely exhausted and haven’t had much brain power left at the end of the day. I have also been working furiously on my submission for The Sketchbook Project, which is due in January, and finally feel like it will be done soon. I’ll be sure to post pictures when it’s completed.

I’m excited to share the Chrysanthemum cake with you and it came to be very symbolic for a few reasons this weekend. The cake itself is actually one that I’ve made before; it was just the decorations that were different. And I am not an expert cake decorator so my design was very simple and plain, but just seeing that bright, colorful flower in the middle of winter brightened my day. 

The Twin Cities were buried in snow this weekend (we got 18 inches at my house) and just to make it worse, the temperatures plummeted to zero (or below) right after the storm. Wind chills at night have been 20 below zero. Poor Murphy barely has time to get off the deck to go to the bathroom before his feet freeze. Ryan even took the snow thrower into the yard to make a trail for him because the snow was too deep to walk through (he was hopping around like a gazelle through the yard, which was hilarious to watch, but very frustrating for the dog). 

Ryan snow-throwing trails in the yard for Murphy
Snow dog!

After dealing with all the snow a simple orange flower, even one made out of sugar, was a welcome sight. And in honor of the season, I even added some “snowflakes” to the cake. 

For the frosting, I wanted to try something a little different so I used the recipe on the inside of the Baker’s Chocolate box. Here’s the card, it might be a little hard to read because the ink is faint, but I hope it comes through. 

We were really happy with this frosting. It has a nice rich flavor, but isn’t too chocolaty. For a cake this size, I had to make two batches of frosting to use as filling and to cover the cake completely. The cake is the same Four Egg White Cake that I made with the Easter Egg Cakes and has a wonderful hint of almond, which paired up very well with the chocolate frosting. 

Staring at the orange flower on the cake not only made me think of summer and sitting on a deck that isn’t covered in nearly two feet of snow, but also reminded me of the quote, “it’s all happening.” Only this time, I was able to squeal with joy again and throw my hands around my rapidly expanding belly in jubilation. When I lost my job nearly two years ago, a lot of dreams were put on hold indefinitely. But starting a family was something I never gave up on. We still have a lot of rebuilding to do and there is still a lot of fear and uncertainty, but every time I feel the baby kick – even when she is waging war on my liver or extending her tiny little appendages out of my belly in a way that reminds me of the movie Alien – I just smile and know that everything is going to be O.K., because no matter what happens, I will always have my family by my side. And even though the baby hasn’t arrived yet, cooking is already a part of her life. For our shower, my sister-in-law gave blank recipe cards to each of the guests with a stamped envelope addressed to me. She asked each guest to send their favorite recipe to the baby so that I could start a recipe box especially for her. It was one of the coolest gifts I got that day and it meant the world to me to have my family and friends share something so special with me and my baby. Now I just have to find a recipe box for the cards!

Again, I apologize for the lack of posts recently. I promise I’ll catch up soon! I even have a special recipe already picked out for the arrival of the baby. Nine months always sounded like a long time, but February is just around the corner and I’ll be posting that recipe before I know it! Until then, I have some great comfort foods picked out to help get us through this winter season. One of our local meteorologists said that the Twin Cities has 2/3 of our seasonal snowfall on the ground already. It’s the second week of December. I hope that means that winter will be over early, but sadly, I think it’s a sign that we need to hunker down in front of the fire with a good movie and a steaming bowl of soup or heaping plate of a casserole dish. Thankfully, The Found Recipe Box has plenty to offer in both categories.


  1. Yay, yay, yay! Molly, if I was looking at you funny at the November VJC meeting, it was because I thought you were pregnant, but didn't want to ask. I am soooooo happy for you all. So glad you got a job, too. What a beautiful 2011 you'll be having. Congrats, congrats, congrats!!!!!

  2. I finally decided to post and also to read your post. Congrats on both accounts! Please keep us posted on your baby updates!

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