Today my Dad turns 67 years old. Every year his birthday rolls around and we all ask the same question.... what can we get Dad for a gift? We have yet to come up with a good answer. Sometimes its something homemade from the grand kids, sometimes it's something vintage and cool about the city of Detroit (where he was born, raised and we all live near today). And some years, it's simply a mushy card and we leave it at that. You see, I'd like to think that it isn't because he has lazy, ungrateful kids, but more along the lines that he is the man that already has everything. Sure, he appreciates the tokens and trinkets, but what he really loves most is being with his (amazing) wife, his kids and his especially adorable grand kids.
I typically am the one that bakes the birthday cake, because, well, that is just my jam :) So this year, I thought, okay, I'm really going to put thought, attention and of course, love, into this cake choice.
When my Dad was growing up, his parents owned a drug store in Detroit. My Dad would tell us storied about the soda fountain counter that was in the store. he has such fond memories of that store and that counter. So much so that he actually has a slab of the marble counter in my parents house as the hearth in front of their fire place in the dining room. So thinking of childhood memories led me to think of that soda fountain. My parents keep this original piece of equipment in their kitchen.
Malt milkshake machine from the drug store/ fountain shop
Thinking about that soda fountain machine and the counter and milkshakes made me think of the malt flavor that I love and I know my Dad loves too. I went looking for recipes. I found what looked like a delicious and simple cake recipe for a malt flavor cake and I even went to three different grocery stores until I found the malt milk powder. I was on a mission to get this just right.
The cake batter looked creamy and smooth. The frosting was rich perfection.
The smell of the cake baking was so warm and sweet and filled the house. All I could think about was I hope this cake comes out tasting as delicious and loving as my intentions were. All I wanted to do was give my Dad the gift of showing him how much I love him. What better way to do that than by baking for him. It is just my way. The cake cooled, and I frosted it. My daughter helped to arrange the chocolate malt balls on the cake in the perfect design. It was ready.
I set the cake down on the table with the candles burning, everyone ready to sing and I saw my Dad smile. That is what I was going for. Once the cake was sliced and served, my Dad took a bite. The first thing he said was how he could taste the milkshake from that fountain shop. He was happy. My heart was full. Happy birthday, Dad. I love you so much. I hope the taste of that cake made your heart and mind fill with 67 years worth of good memories. Thank you for being you, for giving us all all the wonderful memories and details of our lives that are so rich and delicious and we taste them and enjoy them each and every day.