Mrs. O’Leary is my witness. After a re-entry lunch out and a depressing shop at the Pao de Azucar grocery store together for birthday meal ingredients, we went home to our respective broods. As I was on a bridge on the main drag of town, our conversation was interrupted by a hideously loud horn and flashing lights. Behind me, riding my as* like the hounds of hell, were 8 SUV SWAT vehicles and 16 – 20 SWAT motorcyclists. Their sirens were not on but there was no question they wanted me to move over and move over fast. In the right lane, on this same bridge, was a cement truck. So, I gunned it and then moved over. Relieved that they were not after me and my minivan, I waved by way of apology. They were not amused. Bemvindo. Just the way to start off my re-entry.

But this blog is really about the cake, not the cops. In my husband’s family, my MIL, Winnie, makes a special cake called “The Cake”. It is served at every birthday. If I had not actually seen her make this special cake, I would never have attempted it. I call it “The ‘Ugly’ Cake” because I have never made a good looking one. Neither has Winnie, fortunately.* In the August heat of boggy Baltimore, the boiled caramel frosting generally slid right off the cake (a yellow cake straight from the box).** After boiling the concoction one must later use an electric mixer to whip the frosting which sits in an ice bath. If you beat too much, it gets hard to spread; if not enough, its too goopy. Last night I sweated it out in my kitchen to make the damn frosting. A whole lot of work for an ugly cake but only one piece remains and that is reserved for Angel. I have only given out this recipe once, to KT, because she is the only person I know who stands a chance at not making an ugly The Cake.

Highlights from the party: party hats passed out by Sunshine, swish presents, and the following card written by Sunshine to Angel:

“Dear Angel,
Happy Birthday! I bought you a present but I need to look for it. Happy Birthday again. Love, Your Beany.”

I think Sunshine’s gift is actually in our minivan in Washington, so like a few other items, it might stay there ’til June.

*She won’t mind me saying this. She is also free to post the frosting recipe, if she’d like.
** I used Betty Crocker’s Butter Yellow Cake mix, lugged in from the Land of Plenty. Yum!



Filed under Fine Dining, People, Traditions

7 responses to “Cake

  1. leezer

    Hi Expat:
    Sounds like quite the tradition. Is there anything you can make in Brazil that does not require heat? Cervecas (sp?) Guacamole? What do Brazilians eat that requires no sweating?

    Happy Birthday Angel!!

  2. Caipirinhas! They also make a lot of weird salads with mayonnaise.

  3. In truth this is an ugly cake, but the frosting has a lot to recommend it.

  4. missionary girl

    Parabems!! Angel!! I cant believe you are an official teenager!! Don’t be to hard on your old mom. She is doing her best. Nothing like trying to ice a cake in brazil heat and humidity. Not sure my Little Man will make it to his 13th in April. We shall see who will survive.

    PS check out my “Target” entry.

  5. Jody

    WOW! I have just learned about this blog that expat princess has started! She is a wonderful writer to say the least, and I want 2007 to be the year that she finishes her book, move and all.. I love to read your writing and am always impressed with her humor, wit and substance. Can’t wait to read more of this and your book too! Sincerely, another expat “princess”

  6. Jody,
    Comment allez-vous? Thanks for logging in! You are too kind. I have no internet and am at KT’s. This rain is beastly. xoxoxo

  7. Missionary Girl,
    Vis a vis Target: I am glad to know I converted you to something, at least. How is Toucan Tom? Just think, if you get in the car now, you could buy yourself a whole bag of valentine candy at Target and eat it before the kids get home! xoxoxox too!

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