Monday, May 18, 2015

The long distance birthday

Today, my son is finishing up his first year of college.  He'll be going to one last class, saying goodbye to his roommate and friends for the summer, covering up holes in his wall with toothpaste, and stuffing a pile of dirty clothes into a duffel bag before turning in his keys and leaving campus behind.

He will do all of this on his own, just like he experienced all the rest of freshman year for himself. Thinking back*, I don't think I appreciated how much of a gift this independence was for me. How foundational having the space to misbehave and strive and goof off and win and fall down and lose sleep and connect and love and eat poorly and bond and learn and type and cheer and drink and run and get naked and question and write and be me would be.  It was, I think, one of the most important periods of my life.  My parents had no part in it. None.

That is as it should be.  But I kinda wish my mom was around now so I could tell her I get it. Long distance relationships are tough.  Long distance motherhood is brutal.

And then, just to make it that much worse, the first birthday away from home comes around.

Yep. Today is his 19th birthday. He's there. I'm here.

Deep breath. Text. Call. Bake.

Tomorrow, he'll be here.  Tomorrow, we'll have cake.

Bite of Butter Cake with Chocolate Fudge Frosting | Cheesy Pennies

Butter Cake with Chocolate Fudge Frosting

by Sharon Graves
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
When you think of cake, this is it.  Easy as can be, and comforting as all get out.  Kind of like a good mom.
    For the cake
    • 1 box yellow cake mix
    • Melted butter, to replace oil in the box recipe
    • Milk, to replace water in the box recipe
    • Eggs, as directed in the box recipe
    • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
    For the frosting
    • 5 Tbs. butter, room temperature, cut into several smaller pieces
    • 1 c. sugar
    • 1/3 c. milk (whole or 2%)
    • 1 c. semi sweet chocolate chips
    • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
    • 1/2 tsp. almond extract

    Butter a 13x9 pan and set aside. Pre heat oven to 350.

    Prepare cake according to package directions, subbing in butter for the oil, milk for water, and adding the vanilla. Be sure to beat for at least 2 minutes.

    Beaters with Butter Cake Batter | Cheesy Pennies

    Turn batter into prepared pan, and bake for 22-25 minutes, until cake springs back when touched. Don't over bake!

    Butter cake, fresh out of the oven | Cheesy Pennies

    As soon as cake comes out of the oven, prepare the frosting.

    Place sugar, butter and milk in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until butter has completely melted and you have a smooth combined mixture. Stop stirring, bring to a boil, and keep boiling for a full minute.

    Remove from the heat. Add the chocolate chips, almond extract and salt, and stir vigorously until smooth and slightly thick, but still pourable. Ladle over still-warm cake, and then smooth evenly over the top. The icing will set as is cools into a delectable dark fudge frosting.

    Cut into squares and serve warm or at room temperature. 

    Butter Cake with Chocolate Fudge Frosting 3 | Cheesy Pennies
    Butter Cake with Chocolate Fudge Frosting I | Cheesy Pennies

     Or, if your kid is still away from home, just grab a fork and go to town.

    * OK.  When I think way, way, way back.  

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