Bake the World a Better Place!

Social distancing has been a challenge and having extra time on my hands, I decided to experiment with a new recipe (you know I love to cook, right?). Because a dear friend, Don Soule, was having a birthday Sunday, April 19, I wanted to make him a birthday cake for his 93rd birthday. He's a widower and for the past several years we have celebrated with him and friends at our home but now he's in lock-down at an assisted living residence, I had to think of another way to make his day special. After getting the "okay" from the front desk to deliver a cake, I decided to make him one from scratch. I had nothing pressing to do Saturday and because I like to bake cakes one day in advance, I got to work. Before I tell you about my "Saturday disaster," let me share more about Don.


He served in the US Navy in World War II and was a 3rd class Pety Officer. He was trained in electronics and repaired radios of aircraft carriers in San Diego, Corpus Christi, Chicago and the East coast.


Don Soule - US Navy

He is pretty amazing for his age! He is a ham radio expert and is proud to say he has connected with 315 countries and innities around the world. This soft-spoken man still drives his car, loves to garden, continues to help others and is someone our family has come to adore.



Don and good friend, Omer Mohamed

In 2017, Honor Flight of Arizona, transported him and other Arizona veterans to Washington D.C. for a three-day journey of honor and remembrance to their memorials. It was dedicated to honor those who have served and sacrificed for our country. This trip was provided to him and others at no cost and Don's son, Dan, traveled with him as his guardian.

He anxiously boarded a flight with other Arizona veterans from Phoenix to the Ronald Reagan National Washington Airport. It was a an experience he'll never forget!


Don takes life-changing trip with Honor Flight

To date, more than 2,000 veterans have taken the journey from Arizona to Washington, D.C.

Arizona Veterans - Honor Flight 2017 to Washington D.C.

Now back to my experience Saturday. I was anxious to try a new recipe for a dark German Chocolate cake. Getting a baked cake out of pans can be tricky but I felt confident having some small spring-loaded cake pans ready to use. I carefully sifted my flour to make sure the cake would have a light texture and mixed the rest of the ingredients according to directions. Everything looked great as I placed the little pans of batter into the oven. However, my confidence dropped when the cakes came out looking like doughnuts . . . the middle of each had sunken in. Yikes! I thought, "What I am going to do now?? "


Because I had used up some of the key ingredients, I wasn't sure what to do but knew I needed to make another cake recipe. I went back to my pantry and found not a chocolate but a spice mix and an instant chocolate pudding mix! Hmmmm . . . the wheels in this old brain started to turn and I was determined to turn spice into chocolate. (Interesting what you do when you have time on your hands!)


First try . . . oops!

I added the chocolate pudding, 1/2 cup of cocoa to the spice mix and the other ingredients and baked it. Before I knew it, I had two pretty good tasting cakes as the chocolate overpowered the spice. (Spices and chocolate go together, right?)


2nd try . . . much better!

When I took the 2nd batch of cakes out of the oven they looked great but what was I going to do with the first batch? I took the best looking cake and cut the sunken center out with a cookie cutter which made a beautiful little star opening. Ah hah!!! When I tasted the center part it was too delicious to discard so I decided to use the best cake from each of the batches for a two-layer cake. Yes! This cake would be doubly delicious, right?


I cut out the middle

Now I had hope! I was feeling like this might turn into something delicious rather than a complete failure.


I put the spice chocolate layer on the bottom, added a layer of the coconut/walnut filling

and placed the "star cake" on the top.


Top layer - coconut filling showing through

To keep the layers from sliding, I poked 3 straws through both layers and filled the star center with chocolate frosting for a little surprise.

Chocolate frosting surprise in the middle
Finished cake

After adding the coconut topping, freshly roasted coconut, candles, cellophane (sorry, I only had Easter) and a bow, it was ready to be delivered. All I can say is, when you have time to spare and a little patience, you CAN turn a disaster into something creative and hopefully bake the world a better place!


P.S. My husband, Garth, said it was the best German chocolate cake he'd ever eaten! Go Garth! Now I know what kind of cake to make him for his birthday in May.


If anyone wants the recipe, please send me a request and I will be happy to share it.


I can't conclude this blog without a little music, so click the music note page below to listen to my piano arrangement of the "Happy Birthday" song. Enjoy!




Happy Birthday to you . . . please know how much we love you!





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