January 3, 2021

Harriett Cate Eaves 90th birthday, January 3, 1988

Birthday Cakes

A birthday cake says you are special—today is all about celebrating that you are alive.  The cakes come in many varieties—some homemade with decorations that reflect the birthday person’s interests, some store bought with fancy icing designs, names and messages. The shapes, flavors and sizes vary—the message is the same.  You are loved—and honored today.

Harriett’s traditional birthday cake was unmistakable. She made them for all the family (even her black sheep uncle), for friends and sometimes for strangers. This was a three-layer cake—containing a cupful of her beloved Crisco shortening to make it dense and five stiffly beaten egg whites folded in last to make it lighter. But there was a surprise.  The middle layer was always tinted pastel pink.  A snobbish stranger once asked, “And just what is the significance of the pink layer?” It seemed obvious to us—it was for your delight.  The cooked white icing was thick and generously topped with coconut.  The cake looked elegant on a crystal cake stand—and it never disappointed.

Other years, other birthday cakes.  Sometimes the chocolate delight of Wacky Cake was the choice.  One year a cake cut into the shape of a bunny and decorated with coconut icing and jelly beans for a daughter whose birthday fell on Easter—or a bakery cake decorated with Clemson logos for a son in Gamecock country.  Always with candles, singing, making a wish—and love.

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