Birthdays at our house

We have a slew of birthdays in the summer and with the new addition to the family (born in June) our total summer birthday celebrations comes up to seven – that’s right- 7 of us born in the summer months.  With that come many celebrations and we try to celebrate each one separately.  Everyone deserves a ‘your special day’.

I’m not the best at remembering to take photos, so you will need to use your imagination on some of these.  Several friends on Facebook asked for the recipe for my version of a caramel cake, so indulge me if I give you more information than that.

Each one in our group likes something different for a birthday cake and I like to make them.  The little ones like cupcakes and their Moms do a great job coming up with creative riffs on a cupcake for a 3 and 4-year-old.   Our daughter in law likes yellow cake with chocolate frosting,  oldest son likes german chocolate and hubby, Bill, likes caramel cake.  We’ve been inundated with cakes this year and my personal fav is ice cream so I requested the best ice cream on earth from Cruze Farms, a local farm with a food truck and temporary space downtown this summer.  Yummy yummy.  To find out more about them check their web site at http://www.cruzefarm.com

Each of us gets close to what we want for dinner and Bill wanted his Moms’ recipe for Spaghetti Casserole, simple salad with Blue Cheese AND Thousand Island Dressing, Texas toast and Caramel Cake with vanilla ice cream for dessert.  For those of you who wanted the caramel cake recipe I  use two family favs to make it happen.  The first is a sponge cake recipe that a family friend used to make for all the birthdays when Bill was growing up.

14241633_10155157295325744_9103596583325439066_oSponge Cake

4 eggs, 2 C sugar: mix well (cream)

add 2C flour, 2 tsp baking powder (sifted together)

last add 1C hot milk, 1 heaping tsp butter (or margarine) heated together.  Mix all well.

This makes a runny batter!  Bake at 350 degrees : two 8″ layers = 30 minutes or loaf pan = 60 minutes.

You can frost it with anything you like (daughter-in-law got same cake with chocolate frosting from the cocoa box recipe.  I substitute a tablespoon or two of cold morning coffee for part of the milk – gives it a little flavor bump).  Bill’s favorite is Caramel frosting from a special friend from church. Ruth made the best desserts ever and this is her caramel frosting recipe.

Ruths’ Easy Caramel Frosting

1/2 C butter

1 C firmly packed brown sugar (I use light)

1/4 C milk

2 C confectioners sugar, sifted

Melt butter and add the brown sugar.  Cook over low heat 2 minutes, stirring constantly.  Add the milk and continue to cook and stir until mixture comes to a boil.  Remove from heat, cool, and add the confectioners sugar gradually until of right consistency to spread.  (Use 1 3/4 C to 2C sugar depending on consistency you desire).

The Spaghetti Casserole is one I’ve made from Mary Ruth’s recipes (Bill’s Mom) for over 40 years and it’s always a favorite, but best in cooler weather as it’s heavy!

Mary Ruth’s Spaghetti and Beef Casserole

1 pound ground chuck

1/2 C chopped onion

1/2 C chopped green pepper

1 can tomato soup

1 can cream of mushroom soup

1 C grated cheddar cheese

1 soup can water

salt and pepper to taste

7 oz. spaghetti, cooked

Cook meat, onions and green pepper together until meat is done; skim off fat, then add the two soups and water.  When all is mixed together add 1/2 C of the grated cheese.  Stir until melted.

Mix the meat mixture with cooked spaghetti and place in a deep dish casserole.  (You will think it’s too much sauce for the spaghetti but  it isn’t – use it all!).  Top with more shredded cheddar and bake in 350 degree oven 30 minutes or until hot and bubbly.

Guaranteed to disappear!  This recipe may serve up to 6 people who are prone to take small portions.  If you want plenty – double it!

Enjoy  – and remember – entertaining is all about having fun and enjoying the people around you!

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