(Photos by the exquisite Kelly Sauer)
Today is my daughter’s 20th birthday. And it’s the first time I won’t be with her to celebrate.
Last year, on March 7, I baked Murielle’s favorite chocolate cake with the help of some generous people in the neighborhood. The recipe and special bundt pan normally used at Christmas were skulked away in a corner of the kitchen but I had inadvertently overlooked the need for mixing bowls and the Kitchen Aid; items already packed away in boxes. A few phone calls to friends quickly solved my lack of organization.
In the midst of preparing for an international move to England, we celebrated Murielle’s birthday seated around chips and salsa at our favorite haunt: a Mexican restaurant where the owners know us by name. Dessert was free but we declined the offer.
Instead, we returned back to our nearly empty house and savored dense triangle mountains of chocolate citrus cake. Sliding tongs into crumby bits on the last of the blue Wedgewood plates awaiting packing paper, the familiar taste of that cake provided some comfort amidst the chaos.
The next morning, we all woke up in a hotel room.
I was determined to keep familiar rhythms of family celebration but my motives were somewhat selfish too. I needed to bake that chocolate cake to keep from falling apart.
Follow me over to Grace Table for the rest of the story and recipe for the chocolate cake!!