In the end it was a delicious cake, however diminished in size and conventional beauty, and we were all happy. I'm still holding a grudge against the mutant white mountain frosting, but the cake itself -- cocoa mayonnaise cake, page 149 of Philip Schulz's As American As Apple Pie -- has been forgiven. Writes Schulz: "This is an all-American state and country fair winner that was invented when bottled mayonnaise replaced homemade and a woman's urge to be creative was most often executed in the kitchen." Is he saying that a bored 1950s housewife invented this moist and tender cake? Or can we still assume that it came out of the Best Foods marketing department? I'm not sure, but whoever dreamed up the weird-sounding but super-tasty cocoa mayonnaise cake, thank-you!
I also recommend the meatballs on page 513 of the new Joy of Cooking.
I wanted an easy meatball recipe that didn't require veal or rehydrated porcini mushrooms or raisins or smoked paprika and this was that. A very suitable meatball for 9-year-old boys. Birthday party: big hit.
For the family celebration tonight I just baked the lemon verbena chiffon cake from this morning's San Francisco Chronicle. For some reason, I'm not finding it online. Hmm. I probably should have gone with chocolate again, since I don't see lemon verbena as a big child-pleaser, but what's done is done. My sister is hosting because Owen and his cousin Stella have birthdays one day apart. The year I don't get invited to THIS party, make room on the psych ward.