I read a thing on facebook that claimed that if a friendship lasts seven years, it will last a life time. I tend to think that’s true, because I have friendships that are very long, some since high school. Although some funky things have happened along the way, I absolutely know that nothing will crush the friendship.
They have already survived the falling outs, the melting downs, the “how could you” moments.
They have already seen my worst possible side, my darkest self, my emotional crazy breakdowns. They have watched me rise and fall and rise again, and their arms are out and ready. A few have watched me date the many Mr. Wrong’s, and they stood there truly happy for me in self selected bridesmaid’s gowns, approving of my Mr. Right at the altar. They have privileged me with watching one of their children being born, or helping to raise their babies.
They have kept me from their darkest secrets that might scare me. They have listened to mine in non-judgment.
They have seen me sick, fat, and broke. Conversely, they have seen me in a few glory moments and didn’t hate me for it. Real friends are happy for you when things are good in your life.
Real friends soothe you and listen to your truths. I’m a thinker which translates to a talker, which translates to one too many thoughts on too many subjects, controversial subjects. They have listened to my rants and my lectures. Now I’m wondering what kind of friend I’d be to me.
They have hugged me, kissed me, gifted me, cried with me, and refrained from saying hurtful things.
They have surprised me with birthday food, bottles of wine, gourmet food gifts and treasured pieces of furniture. They have forgiven my wrongs.
They have encouraged this blog as if it were the freaking Huffington Post and when a friend subscribes, it feels special. They have eaten my food that didn’t turn out right.
I hope I’m encouraging their dreams too.
They have spread good news to me and some have allowed me to spread it back to them.
They have entrusted me to mentor their children, take them on field trips, hire them for painting projects, stay for a week overnight. This has been the highest level of trust and honor.
They have called for me in their darkest hour and invited me along to share their personal joy. They have stood next to me in grief arranging things when I couldn’t deal with painful details.
They have watched my dogs, and dealt with Retro Rose on her good days and her crazy days. They know who they are. They are the cream of the crop.
Sifting through all the things my friends have allowed me to do, one of the things that has added a special quality to my life is cooking dinner for them dinner, which is my love language, and to especially bake them a cake.
This week marked the 40th birthday of a friend, and I think it has to be the 100th cake we’ve eaten together. I’ve known her for 13 years, and there have been many birthday cakes that we have shared together. Last year, on September 11, we had this amazing coconut cake that has gone viral on Pinterest.
How to Celebrate a Birthday on September 11
It’s tough to have a birthday on September 11th. Forever, the day will be clouded by the unfriendliest of acts. The people who put the plan together bonded on a belief system, which enabled them to carry out the plan through twisted friendship, and an ideology gone wrong that is incongruent with humanity. They lived and breathed their plan for a very long time, committed to the thoughts inside a philosophy that led to heinous actions. Over 3000 friends were lost that day and they did nothing to provoke it except to be American. It was a loss we will all suffer each year we see this date.
I breathe a very deep breath thinking about how fortunate I am that my friends often have very different beliefs than I do, and that we are not committed to a single minded cause that will wreak destruction. We aren’t indoctrinated in any group think process. We are free. We talk, we debate, we grow, and I can only hope that when I get too weird or crazy, a friend is nudging me towards righteousness, forgiveness, a higher walk of love. I know I say things clearly, strongly, and my beliefs are well-defined. I pray I bring a balance of nurturing and love to the table along with the cake I serve. In this case, it was maple cake with maple frosting.
Maple cake tastes like pancakes with syrup. Add candied bacon to the mix and you have breakfast for dessert. I got the idea from Breakfast for Dinner, which I told you about here. It’s a great idea. The original recipe used chocolate in the frosting, so I changed up the frosting adding in a bit of cream cheese and it came out just the way I like it. It’s the flavor profile September waits for along with cooler weather and crispy mornings. By the way, you can eat these for breakfast too.
A Few Tricks for Great Cupcakes
Notice how bright the cupcake liners are. Look for color stay liners. Gorgeous. The matching candles also had matching light. It was cool.
There is a trend called the tiny cake which is cake that is made with two six inch pans. We got 8 slices, which is perfect for a dinner party.
The Wilton scoops came in very handy in getting the cupcakes even, something I always struggle with.
The original recipe featured candied bacon. This is a great option. You simply coat the bacon with brown sugar and bake at 375 until done Done is different for different thicknesses of bacon. It can anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes. You can also crumble the bacon, or decide to not candy it and use regular bacon. The salt goes well with the sweetness of the maple for the maple frosting.
This recipe makes a tiny maple cake using 6 inch cake pans or dozen maple cupcakes. Double the recipe to make both, as I did or to make a big cake.
Don’t forget this really cute decoration idea you can do with cupcake liners.
- 1½ cups all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup or 1 stick of unsalted butter
- ½ cup light brown sugar
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- ¼ cup pure maple syrup
- ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract vanilla
- ⅓ cup buttermilk
- ½ cup butter
- 4 ounces cream cheese
- 3 cups confectioner's sugar
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- ⅛ maple extract (optional)
- 2 tablespoons of heavy cream
- Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
- Cream together brown sugar and butter for two minutes at least.
- Add eggs one at a time. Mix on medium for 45 seconds.
- Mix in maple syrup and vanilla.
- Add in dry mixture a little at a time. Mix on medium.
- Mix in buttermilk on low speed.
- Pour into two six inch buttered-floured cake pans or 12 cupcake tins, lined.
- Bake at 350 for 18-25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
- Cool completely prior to frosting. For the tiny cake, you can do two or four layers. This will serve up to 8 people, small pieces or 6 large pieces.
- Mix together butter and cream cheese on medium high speed until incorporated.
- Turn to low-medium speed and add in confectioner's sugar ½ cup at a time.
- Once sugar is added, add in maple syrup and incorporate. I didn't have maple extract and added in another teaspoon of maple syrup.
- Add in heavy cream as needed and beat for a few minutes until fluffy.
- Frosting can be refrigerated up to three days before use or frozen.