My kitchen is jammed with teenagers — male and female. Their favorite Math teacher’s cousin died and Caroline has decided to gather her eclectic group of friends to make a cake and bake some cookies to bring to her tomorrow. The laughter, the squeals and the conversation are hysterical. I am relegated to the living room so I am close enough to be a resource (and to eavesdrop), but far enough away to be unobtrusive.
The cake Caroline decided to bake is called The Happy Day cake. It was my mother’s favorite. One of us made it for her every March for her birthday and we would cover the outside with butter cream frosting and on the inside we would place sliced strawberries and cool whip, of course. This cake, with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, made her almost swoon. It is just a vanilla cake — pretty old fashioned — with a decent crumb.
A few years ago, I went on a hunt to find the recipe because I had this yearning to make the cake again. My mother used to stash her recipes in a kitchen drawer. There was no organizational method, just recipe clipping upon recipe clipping with an occasional hand written index card that one of her friends had given her were all in big messy pile. I lost track of the recipes in that drawer. I asked my sisters if they had the recipe and no one did. Then one day, I was sorting a box of “stuff” in the basement that I had shipped from Massachusetts and I came across a scrap of paper with her handwriting. It was the Happy Day Cake recipe. Of course, it was a very sweet moment for me. That piece of paper with her handwriting is hidden away and I have recopied the recipe on another piece of paper. It’s funny how just staring at the handwriting of a loved one who is no longer with us makes them seem just a little bit alive. So in homage to the most magnificent woman in my life, I share with you The Happy Day Cake.
2 1/4 cup sifted flour
1 1/2 cup sugar
3 t baking powder
1 t salt
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup milk
1 t vanilla
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place all the ingredients in a bowl, mix until blended. Pour into two buttered layer cake pans. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes.
Use any butter cream frosting recipe.