Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Only Birthday Frosting

Mama always gave us our choice for birthday dinner and birthday cake. The dinner would change through the years , I wasn't fussy about the cake(as long as it was chocolate) but the frosting was always the same. I've never liked sweet fluffy frosting, never understood the point of those bakery cakes with beautiful swirls of color that promise what they can't deliver: their creators could choose substance or beauty and made the choice that I would always scrape away.

Mama's frosting came, I think, from the back of the sweetened condensed milk can and was everything I wanted on top of a cake. Chocolate, indulgent, thick and good like-candy-good out of the bowl. I can still feel the drop to a different consciousness that would happen as I stood at the kitchen counter eating what was left of that precious darkness after Mama finished my cake. It was that important to me.

Its silly easy: take a can of sweetened condensed milk and put it into a bowl and set it over a pot of boiling water. Leave it there to heat and slightly darken. Then add 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate and stir to melt and thicken. It should get to the point where you can move the mixture and see the bottom of the bowl, but, really in my opinion you can't mess this up. Take it off the stove, add a pinch of salt( don't leave this out, it brings out the flavor of chocolate), about 2 tablespoons butter and a teaspoon of vanilla. Beat it with a wooden spoon until the butter is incorporated and the chocolate is glossy. Taste to make sure you have it right. (Not necessary but I've given you a legitimate excuse to enter MFS-meditative frosting state.) Much love and you cannot know what your birthday wishes to me yesterday meant- I am a very lucky woman.


  1. We come for the food; we stay for the writing: the drop to a different consciousness. Yes! Delicious.

    Happy birthday, Nana!

  2. ooh, I really should not have read this. lol.
    Happy belated b-day! Hope it was a good one, honey!

  3. My nephews birthday is coming up in a couple weeks- I might give this a try. He wants "Firemen with flames and a truck" on his cake, so that should be fun to make!

  4. Happy birthday, Nana!

    Happiness, good health, many good friends, sunshine and a lot of good events for you! You are realy delightful person :)

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  6. this recipe reminds me slightly of dulce de leche. Ever had that? Sooo good. Sinfully good if made correctly.