Updated: Mar 18, 2020
I just got back from Tahiti. But I wasn't there for leisure. I was there because my mother passed away a month ago today, and today is her birthday.
I have not been on a computer since then and I hesitated to write this today. As I thought more about it, today is the first day I feel like writing again so I should just do it. After all, I really started this blog a few months in her honor because she always wanted to travel the world, and as her battle with cervical cancer had taken over, her biggest wish was to travel to New Zealand before she left this world. Her wish did not come to pass but now she is in a place where she can travel wherever she wants and at any given time. She can probably be in multiple universes all at once too! (I am all about quantum physics and I believe in multidimensional universes and different planes of existence and the fact that we are part of it all and all of it is part of us is what makes me wake up excited and grateful for life every morning.)
I did promise her I will continue this blog because she knew it is my passion to travel and explore new cultures and subcultures, but also because she wanted to live vicariously through me. I miss her tremendously. She was my confidante and bestest of friends; she was my mother, irreplaceable, a bright light, a woman of undying faith, alway brutally honest and transparent out of respect for herself and others. She was loved by so many because she was selfless, always in service of others, and was the best mother to all of us seven children, and the most loving of grandmothers to twelve grand-children.
And today, well today is also my mother's birthday. She would have celebrated her 72nd year here on Earth so, today I rejoice in her honor and I will have a whole cake for her. Her favorite was a black forest cake.
Back in the Hamptons now I am not sure where to get a black forest cake but I am pretty sure that I can find one around here, if not somewhere on Long Island.
I was told that the Black Forest Bakery in Lindenhurst makes the best cakes. They don't have black forest cake on their online menu but they have it in the bakery. I must simply drive there!
"How about you bake it yourself," you might ask!
Let's just say I am not a baker. Every time I bake something, it comes out barely edibly correct! LOL Plus I ma just not in the mood for baking. yes I can only laugh at myself because I do love to cook, but bake! NO! Plus if I am going to celebrate my mother's birthday without her, I feel she just has to have the best cake I can find!
However, if you wish to bake it for me, I am happy to pay you to bake it!
If you would like a recipe for it, here is one from King Arthur Flour that was top-rated:
2 cups (227g) King Arthur Unbleached Cake Flour
2 cups (397g) sugar1/2 cup (71g) dried buttermilk powder*
2 tablespoons Cake Enhancer, optional, for moist texture
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups (454g) water*
2/3 cup (135g) vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 large eggs, at room temperature *Or substitute 2 cups liquid buttermilk for the buttermilk powder and water.
28.5 ounce jar Sour Cherry Pie Filling, or 1 can cherry pie filling
2 to 4 tablespoons Kirsch liqueur, optional
1/8 teaspoon cherry flavor, optional
3 cups (680g) heavy cream
1/4 cup (28g) confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 ounces grated dark chocolate
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease two 9" cake round cake pans.
To make the cake: Combine the cocoa, flour, sugar, buttermilk powder, cake enhancer, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the water, oil, and vanilla. Gradually beat the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients.
Add the eggs one at a time, beating until well blended. Pour the batter into the prepared pans.
Bake the cakes until a tester comes out clean, about 25 to 30 minutes. Cool the cakes in the pans for 15 minutes, then turn them out onto a rack to cool completely.
To make the filling: If you're using a jar of sour cherry pie filling, strain the cherries from the syrup and reserve both; add the optional Kirsch and cherry flavor to the syrup. If you're using canned pie filling, don't drain; simply stir optional Kirsch and cherry flavor into the pie filling.
Whip the cream, slowly adding the sugar, and then the vanilla. Whip until stiff peaks form.
To assemble the cake: Cut each layer in half horizontally. Place the first layer on a cake board or plate and brush a coating of cherry syrup over the surface. If you're using canned pie filling and don't have cherry syrup, skip this step.
Spread a 1/2" layer of cream onto the cake, and top with 1/3 of the cherries. Repeat with two more layers of cake-syrup-cream-cherries, and top with the final layer of cake.
Use the remaining cream to coat the sides and top of the cake. Decorate with the grated chocolate. Refrigerate the cake until you're ready to serve, up to a few hours; the whipped cream in the filling will gradually deflate, so better to serve this cake sooner rather than later.
How I deal with the passing of my mother is a trip in and of itself.
There are no word to describe it. Losing my mother was more painful than losing my father, and I was very close to him. Losing a mother is part of life's journey but nothing can fill the hole it leaves... although my mom would say, "Traveling fills any hole that could ever exist because you discover yourself through it and that is empowering. And when you are empowered, there is no more room for holes."
... And so, I keep on traveling and exploring, and learning
And I hope to inspire others, you, to do the same when they feel like there is a hole to fill. We are all divine beings having a human experience and we are in a wondrous world worth exploring as it reflects part of of we might not be too acquainted with yet. I am so grateful for my mother, for black forest cakes, for my family and friends around the world. Life is so short so let's connect and share adventures, let's enjoy every moment as if it were our last.
If you are looking for a way to find out where to travel next that will be for your highest good, three options I love and use are Google Flights, HitList, or for a more show-me-where-to-go now approach, the "Show Me My Next Pin" Cards; they are all great solutions and the latter is designed to help you intuit where you're meant to go next.
>>> See my blog on my favorite travel apps to use that save money and are the most practical to use.