Last month it was my Mum’s 60th birthday. For her gift I really wanted to treat her, so I thought long and hard and came up with 12 special ideas, one thing a month for the next year that she wouldn’t ordinarily do. Here’s my list:
- Surprise afternoon tea with friends
- An art course at the City Lit
- A London Walk with Dad
- A family picnic at Knebworth House
- A visit to the Georgia O’Keefe exhibition at the Tate Modern with Dad
- A spa day and shopping with me
- A roast, at our house for a change
- London Community Gospel Choir Christmas Concert
- Book of Mormon with Dad
- A pub quiz night with Will, Anh, Chris and me
- A night at a comedy club
- A family walk in the bluebell woods
On Sunday, we went to Mum and Dad’s for Roast Lamb, just the right number of potatoes (which is too many) and an excess of puddings.
It should have been time to cut Jet’s chocolate cake, but as Mum had also made a trifle and lemon posset, most of us were far too full to eat any of it! Luckily, the kids stepped up and ate/demanded some.
Chocolate birthday cake recipe
- 163g butter
- 163g plain chocolate
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 163g plain flour
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1.2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 225g light soft brown sugar
- 2 1/2 large eggs
- 150ml soured cream
I halved this recipe, which lead to my interesting quantities 😉 If you find a shop that sells half eggs, please let me know… In any case, it was a lovely cake with a simple method:
- Preheat the oven to 160C/fan 140C/gas 4. Base line an 8″ round tin, which will be too small for the amount of mixture.
- Melt the chocolate and butter over a pan of gently boiling water, ensuring the bowl does not touch the water. Mix in the vanilla and leave to cool.
- Sieve the flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda into a large bowl. Add the sugar, breaking up any lumps if necessary. Beat together the eggs and soured cream and pour onto the flour mixture. Add the melted chocolate and mix all well together until smooth.
I poured the lot into my lined 8″ round tin. A cursory glance told me it was almost certainly too full, but I went with it… Luckily there was a large tray at the bottom of the oven to catch the overspill, and the kids and I enjoyed sampling these bits.
We decorated it with white chocolate buttercream icing and 60 chocolate buttons.
- 110g unsalted butter, room temperature
- 250g icing sugar
- 150g white chocolate
- Melt the white chocolate using the same method as above. Leave to cool.
- Use an electric mixer to beat the butter until pale and fluffy. Add half of the icing sugar, sieving to remove all lumps, and beat again.
- Keep sieving and adding the sugar, beating until it is all combined. Then beat in the white chocolate and ice your cake.
On the Monday we all needed to rest our overstretched stomachs, readying them for a new challenge on the Tuesday – a walk in the bluebell woods and a pub lunch. On our walk we tested the theory that it is impossible to get everyone to look in the same direction at once for a family photo, and we all enjoyed wandering through the stunning bluebells.
Some of us were a little overdressed for this walk – Stella insisted, as 2 year olds will, upon wearing her red wellies, despite a distinct lack of mud. Similarly I insisted, as people who have spent lots of money on sunglasses and LOVE THEM will, upon wearing my sunglasses, despite the shady woodlandy-ness.
I realised as we approached the car park at the end of our walk, at about the time of taking this stunning selfie, that they were no longer on my head. Will, Chris and I retraced our steps and miraculously they were discovered. Sunglasses lost and found, strangers talked to, and wees desperately needed, we got on the road to the pub.
Jet helped Grandad pass the time spent waiting for his food with a sticker spotting game
Finally, party well and truly pooped, we headed home. Jet was so worn out he fell asleep on 2 pairs of his own shoes! Who said 60th birthday celebrations can’t be rock and roll? Happy birthday, Mum. You are my favourite.