Saturday, January 22, 2011

Happy Birthday To Me

Today is my birthday. I made myself a cake. I'm sure my daughter would have made one for me had I hinted at it. I'm sure my son, Kurt, would have made me a birthday pie had I asked him to. And I'm sure my husband would have bought me a birthday cake. But I've been planning my cake for almost a month. And they all knew I was planning my cake because I've been talking about it all these weeks.

 It began on December 30 down in St. George, Utah. We were in St. George for our daughter's wedding open house. It's a Mormon thing. In our little culture we do the whole wedding thing a little differently. If the groom happens to be from a different place than the bride, he gets his own wedding reception. Only we call it an open house. Except the regular wedding reception that's held where the bride is from is also usually an open house. Only we call it a reception.

Anyway, at Carolyn and Brock's open house in St. George, one of the desserts they served was a vanilla Texas sheet cake. You can make a Texas sheet cake without the cocoa? Who knew? It was frosted with cream cheese frosting and each piece had a big, juicy raspberry on it.

 And I loved it.

The next day I started planning my birthday cake. Texas sheet cake is made on a baker's half sheet, otherwise known as a big cookie sheet with one-inch sides. I happen to own two baker's quarter sheets. I decided to bake the cake in those and turn it into a layer cake. Because then I could add a gooey filling.

All along I planned to use marionberry preserves between the layers. Yesterday I bought some at Costco. When I got home, I opened the jar and tasted them. I was disappointed. They had an almost prunish taste. Not at all like marionberry jam I've had in the past. I went to the regular grocery store to look for a different brand. All I could find was raspberry. That would be just as good, I decided.

Somewhere along the line I described the cake I was planning to my sister. She gave me the idea of mixing the jam with marscapone cheese for the filling. So glad I listened to her.

I'd like to share my birthday cake with you. I hope you find an opportunity to enjoy it.

Vanilla Texas Sheet Cake

2 2/3 cups all purpose flour*
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup margarine
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup water
2 eggs
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
2/3 cup buttermilk (or use milk with a little vinegar or lemon juice in it)
1 1/2 tsp vanilla

Prepare two baker's quarter sheets (I'm sure you could use two round cake pans) by spraying with non-stick spray. Line the sprayed pans with parchment paper. Then spray the parchment paper with non-stick spray. Then flour them.

Mix flour and sugar together in large mixer bowl. In a small sauce pan, bring to a boil the margarine, vegetable oil and water. Pour boiling mixture over flour and sugar. Mix well. Add eggs, baking soda, buttermilk and vanilla. Mix well. Divide batter evenly between the two pans. Bake at 350 degrees for about twenty minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Place pans on cooling racks and let cool.

 raspberry filling:

1 (22 oz.) bottle seedless raspberry jam
8 oz. marscapone cheese (you might have to look in the specialty cheeses at the grocery store)

Mix jam and cheese together until smooth. This made twice as much as I needed. I'm planning to eat the rest off a spoon throughout the coming week.

cream cheese frosting:

1/2 cup margarine
1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 lb. powdered sugar

Mix all ingredients until smooth and creamy. This also made more than I needed. You probably could cut it in half. Or eat it off a spoon throughout the coming week.

Assemble cake with filling between the layers. Frost all over with cream cheese frosting. Garnish with fresh raspberries.

Really, it was everything I dreamed it would be.

* I just made the cake again, but this time I used cake flour. It was even better. To substitute cake flour for all purpose flour, use 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons cake flour for each cup of all purpose flour. For this recipe, you would use two cups plus four tablespoons cake flour to replace the first two cups of all purpose flour. And for the 2/3 cup that's left you would use 2/3 cup cake flour plus 2/3 of a tablespoon, twice. Right? I'm doing this for you, you know. I already did it once for me, but of course I can't remember what I came up with. Two thirds of a tablespoon happens to be two teaspoons. So that's four teaspoons, or one tablespoon plus one teaspoon. So all together you need 2 2/3 cups plus 5 tablespoons plus one teaspoon of cake flour for this recipe. At least I think so.


  1. Happy Birthday Sister Gassman! I'm so glad that you have been in our lives these past couple of years! I don't know what I would do without my Sister Gassman!! I hope you had a fabulous birthday! We love you!

  2. Oh YUMMMMM! That looks SO good. I will be trying this one for sure!

    Happy Birthday to you. Melinda - you are one of my favorite people! I just love you. Thanks for being a great friend - you are a real blessing to me.

  3. sounds heavenly, maybe i'll be making a valentine's dessert this year :)

  4. Yum! I always remember your white cake with the chocolate chips all over it that you would make for special occasions. So good! I hope your birthday was fabulous. You deserve it!

  5. mmm... sounds so yummy! me want! my birthday's in May... ;-)

    Happy Birthday to you! I hope you had a great day!

  6. Happy Birthday to one of my absolute favorite people. I just love you! I'm sure the cake was fabulous, because I've never known you to make anything that wasn't fabulous!