I rarely have trouble writing a story. I eat something, I remember it, I write about it.
You know me, no topic off limits. Nothing left un-shared. You’ve read it all.
But I am having particular difficulty describing an event that was both happy and sad, exciting and scary. A memory that despite the amount of alcohol I consumed, I will always remember.
Anyways, I’ll try.
His going away party.
We knew for months he’d be leaving. He took a job in San Francisco and the countdown began.
Two months, one week, one weekend.
Before he left, I was determined to do something special. A gesture to express the things I can never word exactly as I want so end up not saying. To tell him how loved and special he is and how missed he will be.
A surprise party.
I set to work sending invitations, assigning tasks to my unbelievably helpful friends and family, buying much needed alcohol, making party favors, baking cakes, and weaving my web of lies to throw him off the scent.
At the diversion dinner with my parents, my punctual pop subtly and repeatedly displayed his watch to me, to ensure we would be on time for the big reveal, just as my friends setting up the venue texted me many variations of “Stall!” “Delay!” “Don’t return!” I can’t remember if I ordered a ladies room and excused myself to the coffee, or vice versa; but there I was looking in the restaurant’s bathroom mirror, starting to feel the Bourbon Ginger and mumbling, “It’s gonna be okay.”
It wasn’t the party I was worried about, I trusted my friends and I had made a crazy tasty cake, it was the knowledge that going to the party meant he was really leaving and I’d have to face all the emotions that would follow.
If I had hours of your time, I’d tell you how difficult it was to get him up to the roof but when I did, there they were – his friends, our friends, my family, all there to support our favorite person.
Seeking emotional support, I beelined for my cousins and, of course, a nice slab of cake while he did the rounds greeting his friends.
Oh yeah, the cake – fluffy vanilla, packed with maraschino cherries (one of his favorites), slathered with white chocolate buttercream.
On the top I piped, “Will Miss You.” A guarantee. An inevitability. A promise.
It was sad and happy. Lovely to be surrounded by our people, to pass out cake to smiling faces, and to have my favorite person, the best guy, feel loved and appreciated and surprised.
I hope that this party, this cake, this story, indicate just how much he means to me.
Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg yolks and vanilla.
Add dry in three parts alternating with milk.
Mix until smooth.
In a separate bowl, beat the junk out of your egg whites until they hold stiff peaks.
Fold egg whites into batter, delicately, don’t want to deflate them!
Fold in chopped cherries.
Spread into a large rectangular cake pan that has been floured and buttered.
Bake in a 325°F oven for 30 – 35 minutes until the cake begins to pull away from the sides and springs back to the touch.
Make the White Chocolate Frosting and spread an even layer across the top. Use the remaining to decorate as you see fit.
I can confirm he is deeply missed. Though, depending on when you are reading this, I am on my way to see him! California here I come!
Will Miss You Cake
2 sticks of butter, at room temperature
2 cups of granulated sugar
2 eggs, separated
1 tablespoon of vanilla extract
2 cups of cake flour
1 tablespoon of baking powder
1 teaspoon of salt
1 cup of buttermilk
10 oz jar of maraschino cherries, juiced drained, stems removed, roughly chopped
Preheat your oven to 325°F
In a large bowl, cream together the butter and the sugar. Add the egg yolks and vanilla. Cream until smooth.
In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
Add the flour to the butter mixture in three additions, alternating with the buttermilk. Set aside.
In another bowl, whip egg whites until they are glossy, opaque and hold firm peaks.
Fold the egg whites into the batter.
Fold in the maraschino cherries.
Spread into a floured and buttered cake pan (I used a 9 x 13 inch). Place in the preheated oven and bake for 30 – 35 minutes until puffed and lightly browned.
While cake cools, make the frosting.
Decorate cake as you please!