(This blog originally ran in the Daily Globe on Thursday, July 23, 2015.)
When I looked at the calendar and realized what date this blog would fall upon, my heart paused for a second.
July 23. My mother’s birthday.
And after another moment of contemplation, I realized it wasn’t just her birthday. It would be her 90th birthday. An occasion that, if DotMom was still alive, would likely have been celebrated with a cake and much fanfare, if not a party in the church basement.
Earlier this year, the calendar heralded a different milestone — the 10th anniversary of her death. It seems like just yesterday that we had one of our daily morning phone calls. As she was a late riser, I always called to check in on her about 11 a.m.
She wouldn’t like me sharing this, but she often wasn’t out of bed yet. Although she was a night owl for as far back as I could remember, that tendency to stay up late and sleep the morning away got more frequent in her later years. As rheumatoid arthritis took its toll upon her body, her joints would loosen up and the aches would lessen later in the day, prompting her to stay up later and later and later. Many of her Mixing & Musing columns for the Daily Globe were written in the wee hours of the morning, and that’s also when she liked to call and order items from the stacks of catalogs she received in the mail (chatting up the late-night marketers) and catch up on her email correspondence.
Last week, a friend from high school whose mother has also died posted a melancholy cartoon on Facebook that said, “Sadness is not being able to phone your mom.” I concur with that sentiment 100 percent. There are so many times I want to pick up the phone to tell her about my day, consult about a recipe or menu, tell her the latest piece of news or just hear her voice.
Today, perhaps I would have called her a bit earlier than 11 a.m., urging her to rise and shine and celebrate her milestone birthday. And I would have been compelled to make her a birthday cake, as she always insisted that the celebrant have a (preferably homemade) cake on his or her special day.
Since she loved lemon, this would have been my choice for her out of the Cakes section of her “Mixing & Musing Cookbook.”
Happy birthday, Mom. I hope you’re enjoying a slice of cake with the other angels in heaven.
Golden Lemon Angel Food
1 package one-step white angel food cake mix
1 1/3 cups water
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon grated lemon peel
6 drops yellow food coloring
2 cups powdered sugar
1 to 2 tablespoons milk
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon soft butter
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
In large bowl, blend cake mix, water, juice, lemon peel and food coloring. Beat 2 minutes at medium speed, no longer. Pour batter into ungreased 10-inch angel food tube pan. Bake at 325 on lowest oven rack 45 to 55 minutes. Cool cake upside down (on funnel or bottle) at least 1 hour.
In small bowl, blend glaze ingredients. If thinner glaze is desired, stir in additional milk, a drop at a time. Spoon over top of cake, allowing some to drizzle down sides.