Sunday, April 22, 2012

Of Birthday Cakes and Vintage Catherineholm Cookware

I know it's been a week and a half since I've posted.
Forget the holidays--spring time is our busy season.
It is wearing me out.
I've gone to bed at 9 twice in the last week.
I don't go to bed at 9 unless I am really sick, or pregnant.
I was really sick. (had you there for a minute, didn't I?)
And really tired.
Life doesn't slow down when I am sick or tired--there is still school to plan and to teach, there are still baseball games, and baseball practices, at the same time in different places no less, there are sick babies, and dinners to be made, laundry to be done and bathtubs to be scrubbed, groceries to be bought, and put away, reading to teach, letters to be traced, 4 kids to mother and a husband to pay attention to.
But today, there was a cake to be made.

My James turns 8 tomorrow.
He'll get his birthday presents in the morning when he wakes up, but we had his birthday dinner and cake tonight.
Tomorrow night is Cub Scouts and dinner will be a bit rushed.
We wanted to linger and enjoy James' celebration dinner.
So I made his favorite.
But first, that cake.

James asked for a "stacked cake".
He dreams of a layer cake about 10 layers high.
I think he's going to have a lot of input about his wedding cake.
His bride better be ready for a groom with a lot of opinions on all the details.
Just like his daddy.
Anyway, a stacked cake he asked for, and a stacked cake it would be.
I aim to please.
I used the best birthday cake recipe, I made for William last year.
James usually likes chocolate, but I felt like making a yellow cake with chocolate frosting.
It's so good, I knew he wouldn't mind.

I decided to be legit this time and use real cake flour, just like the recipe calls for.
Usually I pay no attention to those things because I never have those kind of special ingredients on hand.
I have a small kitchen and not a lot of extra room for seldom used ingredients.
But since one of my life goals is to become a great cake baker, I wanted to see if there really was a difference between regular flour and cake flour.
That's something I need to know.
For the frosting, I planned on chocolate ganache.
However, I was at Target and they didn't have big hunks of chocolate for me to chop up.
I had a baby in need of a nap and wasn't about to stop at at another store.
So I got chocolate chips instead.
That's how I got the Swan's Down cake flour.
I am sure there are other labels that might be better, but that's all there was, so that's what I bought.
Will the cake flour make a difference?
I'll let you know.

Aside from his stacked cake, I made James his favorite meal: bean burritos.
All afternoon the beans bubbled away on the stove in my new pot.
Isn't she beautiful?

I have long loved and admired these pieces of Catherineholm cookware.
They were produced by the Catherineholm company, in Norway, beginning in the early 1900s.
These pieces in the Lotus pattern, are some of the most famous and most beloved of vintage, enamel cookware.
They were designed by a Norwegian designer, Grete Prytz.
They come in many bright and beautiful colors, and the lotus leaves adorn everything from pots and pans, to plates, bowls, and tea pots.
I think they are absolutely gorgeous.
I am not alone in my admiration.
You've probably seen them in many a magazine and blog article.
I spot them everywhere.

I never thought I'd have one of my own--they're pricey.
But my sister brought this yellow beauty to me yesterday.
Her dad found it and he generously gave it to me.
He knows my style and finds lots of goods for me on his treasure hunts.
Seeing that pot sitting on my stove makes my month.
Thanks Papa John!

If you want to see more of this gorgeous cookware, I have a few links for you.
For more on Grete Prytz, go here.
For cookware, go here.
And this Pinterest page of vintage enamelware is full of lotus pieces.
I'm dreaming of the coffee pots and pitchers especially.
And maybe a bowl or two.
Because one more collection is just the thing I need, right?

And now, I have some presents to wrap and a birthday garland to hang over the kitchen table and a bed to get to.
Because a very excited birthday boy is sure to be up early.
It was 8 years ago, right now, that I was walking the neighborhood, stopping every few minutes to breathe through contractions.
It was eight years ago that my life was forever changed for good.
Here's to many more years of stacked cakes for my birthday boy!
Love from,


Lisa said...

Love that pot!! So bright and cheery. Happy Birthday to your eldest.

Cailan said...

Of course, you got real cake flour when it comes in a fun box like that : ) And your new pot is so fabulous, and I'll look forward to seeing pics of that cake and the party and I'm so pleased your better and posting - missed you last week! :)
love, cailan

meg + andy said...

ditto what sister said! i love when you share your sweet life with us.

hennymats said...

never seen cake flower around here, let me know if it makes a difference. Is it ground to a different degree? Hmmm... I love layer cakes, we only do them for birthdays and I'm not very good at them. But I need to learn more about the basics, the chemistry behind baking.

Anyhow. Love your attention to detail and loved the photos of James and his cake on your other blog. Your kids are so lucky!

Oh, and I love, love, love that design, it's been on my list for a while, but prices here are equally insane. I have a few posters in my home office, but that's it for now. Oh well. Congrats on the yellow pot, it's perfect!

Jillian in Italy said...

Congrats to your little guy on turning 8! Love the pot. That yellow is just gorgeous. I'll take a look for some of those pots here in Italy. Who knows...maybe they don't appreciate their awesome design here and sell them for a few euros(here's hoping!). Have a great week! Jill x

AngieK said...

Hope your son had a great birthday :)
Lucky you for getting that catherineholm pot. I passed one up just like that, the estate sale was just asking too much!