Tuesday morning I asked my family, who were all hunched over their breakfast bowls, how they felt about having our family Valentine's celebration on Wednesday instead of Tuesday, since M had a guitar lesson that night. This question was greeted with a long silence, then C finally said, "Family Valentine's celebration?" So, apparently my efforts are neither noticed or appreciated, however I forge on. So Tuesday, while C and M were at guitar, Z and I baked a Mexican chocolate cake (recipe below) and Wednesday I came home early and prepared a feast of tlacoyos stuffed with green chiles and cheese, rice, beans and sweet potatoes and we had a candlelight dinner for five (C and I had our "date" ten days earlier, going out to our favorite restaurant and a movie).
For his gift, I got C two Cuppows--lids that turn a canning jar into a travel mug (a friend of mine had sent me an email about the Cuppow lids a few weeks earlier, and I knew instantly that they were the way to C's heart). I knitted a cozy for jar insulation (pattern from here--it ended up very huge and I had to wash it a few times to fit the jar) during the last three basketball games and filled the jar with chocolate-covered coffee beans. Even though everyone made fun of me for knitting such a romantic present, C LOVED it and said it was just what he wanted. Really, it was.
MEXICAN CHOCOLATE CAKE
(Based on the Easiest Cake Pan from the back of an old King Arthur Flour bag)
Note: you can mix this cake directly in the pan, but I mixed mine in a bowl and poured it into a greased, floured pan because I wanted to be able to take it out to frost it.
In an 8" or 9" baking pan (heart-shaped if possible), stir together:
1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
3 T cocoa powder
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1 t. cinnamon
1/2 - 1 t. cayenne pepper
Make three wells in the dry ingredients and add to the first:
6 T vegetable oil
Add to the second:
1 T apple cider vinegar
Add to the third:
1 t. vanilla
1/2 t. orange extract or flavor
Pour over the top of the ingredients:
1 cup cold water
Stir till just mixed. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool and frost with Cinnamon Butter Cream Frosting, below.
CINNAMON BUTTERCREAM FROSTING
In the bowl of a mixer, blend together:
1 3/4 cups powdered sugar
1 t. cinnamon
Add and mix until thoroughly blended and smooth:
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, softened
1/2 t. orange flavor
1/4 cup milk
|This year's Valentine's card. I'm not sure where or when I took these heart-shaped rock pictures (but I'm guessing it must have been in Acadia National Park, because I don't have the rocks now--I'm a stickler for the "take nothing but pictures" rule.|