All of our holiday visitors are back in their respective homes today. It just us old folks here at the farm. A few days ago, Little Sister asked me how I got so old, then informed me, "I'm not old. I'm new." So many Christmas memories were made. And I lived in the moment more this Christmas, so there are fewer photos.
While we had little ones in residence for a couple of weeks, we only had about two days when they could play outside. It rained. And rained. And rained. And then it rained some more. The river that borders the farm overflowed its banks. But it was warm enough for flip flops. Crazy weather for Christmas.
New Year's Day is always a big day for us. We had the traditional Southern meal of black-eyed peas, collards, pork and cornbread. Then that evening we had cake. Birthday cake. Mommy's birthday isn't on New Year's Day but it's close. We usually end up celebrating on New Year's Day when we are all together.
This year she asked for chocolate pound cake. And because it was for her birthday, I made chocolate frosting. This recipe was given to me by a sweet lady at our church who is famous for her chocolate pound cake. Mommy would always make a dash for her cake at church dinners to be sure she got a slice before it was all gone. I don't usually frost pound cake, but it's the frosting that made Ellen's cake special.
Last week, I unearthed the recipe card she had given me years ago while I was looking for something in a kitchen drawer (you know..."that" drawer) and I decided it was a sign to make the frosting. Then I read the recipe and wasn't sure it was right. I googled other frosting recipes. There were many similar ones. All had more butter. Some had less sugar. There were more mixing steps. I couldn't believe that 2 tablespoons of butter would work with a whole box of sugar.
But we have eaten Ellen's cake for years, so I decided to follow her recipe exactly as she wrote it, fingers crossed. (I could have served the cake without frosting and it would have been fine.) I did sift the cocoa and sugar together. Then I cut up the butter into smaller pieces and dropped it into the sugar. It really didn't look like enough. In fact, I wasn't sure that 2 tablespoons of cocoa was enough either. But I kept going, trusting Ellen. I added the 5 tablespoons of evaporated milk, plus a little more. I used about 6-1/2 tablespoons total. When I mixed it together, it was like magic. It was just like we remembered.
1 box 10-X powdered sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa
2 tablespoons butter, softened
5 tablespoons evaporated milk, plus more to make it creamy & spreadable
Sift sugar and cocoa together. Add softened butter and milk. Mix on medium to high speed, adding more milk by the tablespoon as needed, until it's spreadable. Work quickly to frost cake, as frosting sets up.
We were about to cut the cake after dinner when Little Sister asked, "Where are the candles?" Well, what were we thinking? Of course we needed candles. It's a birthday cake! We added a candle of each color in the box. And then we sang Happy Birthday. That made it a real party.
Happy Birthday, Mommy!
And Happy New Year to all of you!