Saturday made 31 years since I was born. We spent the morning stuffing sausages – three different kinds. They are delicious, and we have 18 lbs of them. It was a good birthday.
Later I made a grain-free non-chocolate chocolate cake (if I eat chocolate, I can’t sleep for days). Lately everyone has been asking me for chocolate birthday cakes, and I have been at a loss. I felt safe possibly ruining my own birthday cake, so it was a good opportunity for experiment. It was extremely chocolate-y and delicious. Clothilde sat in my lap and helped blow out all the candles (at this point, I do need the help). I think she thought it was her birthday.
Turning 30 was so much harder for me than turning 31. It just came so suddenly. What did I accomplish with my youth? What do I have to show for it? Mostly I spent my twenties doing ephemeral things for my family and working on our farm. Clothilde was at her most difficult climbing age, and I felt like I was paralysed to accomplish even the simplest things, like loading laundry into a machine. Mirin was bored that year, and spent a lot of time having tantrums about stupid things. I kept hurting myself and getting sick. It was a year of cleansing, of going through my experiences over the last decade and sorting them out. It was a cross-roads. I had to decide who I was and what direction to take.
Thirty-one feels much more certain and grounded. I think I have taken a firm step into my early thirties. I want to have a vision for myself as I get older. I don’t want to be one of those that covers their age up with youthful clothes and cosmetics and refuses to be changed by the years slipping by, but I would like to age gracefully. That’s always the hope, anyway.
I am glad to have been a young mother. Having my own children so close to my childhood, it has helped me hold on to bits of youth. Flexibility. Interest. The intensity of experiences. Even as I grow old, I can hold onto those things, and try not to grow stiff, or stuck or too distracted.
Ethan said 31 is harder for him than 30, but it takes boys longer to grow up. We have grown up together from age 21. He is 18 days older than I am. If he had been born a little later, or I earlier, perhaps we would have come here on the same day. As it is, he gets older first, which I like. It’s easier being second.
Grain-Free Non-Chocolate Chocolate Cake
1 cup coconut flour, sifted
1 cup toasted carob powder, sifted
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
12 eggs (appalling if you buy them, I know, but if you keep chickens, you’ll understand what the piling up dozens are like and forgive me)
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup food-grade cocoa butter (I get it from Mountain Rose Herbs)
1 cup honey
Juice of 1 lemon or lime (about 4 teaspoons juice)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons chocolate extract (I get mine from Frontier)
1. Preheat oven to 350 and line two cake pans with buttered parchment paper.
2. In a large mixing bowl, sift together the coconut flour, carob powder, baking soda and salt.
3. In a small sauce pan, melt the butter and cocoa butter together on very low. Turn off the heat when they are just melted and mix in the honey and lime or lemon juice, and chocolate and vanilla extracts.
4. In two mixing bowls, separate six of the eggs. Add the remaining six to the bowl with the yolks and lightly beat them with a fork. Set the 6 whites aside for now.
5. Add the honey/butter/lemon/flavoring mixture to the dry ingredients and mix well. I find it helpful to add a third or so at a time, and stir carefully to avoid lumps.
6. Stir in whole eggs/egg yolks mixture in several stages, stirring carefully to avoid lumps. The coconut flour is very absorbent, and will soak up what looks like way too much liquid at first.
7. Whip up the reserved egg whites into stiff peaks, and fold into the batter.
8. Divide between two cake pans, and bake for 35-40 minutes, until set. Let cool.
9. To serve, carefully turn cooled layers onto plates. Slice in half and layer with lightly sweetened whipped cream.