Years ago, while thumbing through an old box of family photos, I ran across some photos of my mother, Margaret, when she was a small girl. One particular photo stuck in my head. It is of my mother on her 5th birthday holding a doll, standing by a toy stove set out in a field with a white, iced cake sitting on top. It was her birthday photograph…she is slightly bent to the side with a finger just grazing the icing.
Mother died a few years ago, but this photo is indelibly stamped in my mind. It shows a very young girl, an only child who lived in a farm-house in rural West Tennessee, the child of older parents, parents who never expected to have a beautiful little girl in their midst. From this photo and others in the box it is obvious my mother was well-loved and doted on and for this I am happy. She had lovely aunts who came to stay with the family, Aunt Layla and Aunt Fannie, a dog named “Pal”, her own pony. It makes me feel good to look at these images and know that at this particular time in her life she was adored. Thinking of her on her birthday I made this little cake.
She loved white cakes with white icing especially if it had coconut added. This is my Happy Birthday Cake for Margaret. I had a box of King Arthur Cake Flour left over from a photo shoot. I used the cake recipe printed on the back cutting the recipe by half with a few substitutions & additions. Not a fancy cake recipe, just a simply delicious one layer white cake that is moist and light.
—Teresa Blackburn, Food on Fifth