This past weekend we celebrated my father-in-law’s 70th birthday.
A crowd of family and friends gathered at the table to share a meal and a bottle of his favorite fine wine as we listened to him tell stories about his youth. Every so often his eyes would wander to the living room to watch the children play on the floor, and he would smile from behind his glass.
Of all the many roles he’s had in his life, he values the role of father and grandfather above all others. He treasures his children and all the grandchildren they have given him, and they all adore him in return for his loving heart.
Around the state he is known as a respected businessman, but to my son, he is Grandpa. He is the sweet man who cuddles him and tickles him and participates in his games. He is the gentle man who takes him for tractor rides and boat rides and many trips down the zip line.
He patiently teaches him about tools and engines and mechanics, always allowing him the opportunity to try his hand at learning the new skill. He shares his cookies and reads him stories and always has a warm lap to sit on. His grandpa loves him so much.
For his birthday celebration, we prepared a chocolate fondue for dessert. The children gathered around first as Grandpa demonstrated the dip and twirl technique, then happily tucked into their very special treat, and left with stained shirts and smiling faces.
For dippers we had fresh strawberries from O’Brien Garden and Trees, sweet peach wedges, sliced bananas, salted pretzels, and I baked a buttery pound cake and cut it into cubes to dip in the liquid delight. This cake is sweet and dense, perfect for this application, but would also be great sliced and packed to be eaten out of hand — for those who are so busy they drive mobile offices, like Grandpa.
2 cups butter
3 ½ cups sugar
6 whole eggs
6 egg yolks
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon salt
3 ½ cups all-purpose flour
Let your butter come to room temperature.
Grease and flour a Bundt or loaf pan.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Add ½ of the sugar and beat at high speed until light and fluffy.
Add the rest of the sugar and continue beating at high speed until the mixture is very light in color.
Turn the speed down to low then add the whole eggs one at a time. Be sure that each egg is fully incorporated before adding the next.
Whisk the egg yolks in a small bowl.
With the mixer still running on low, slowly drizzle in the yolks.
Add the vanilla.
Keep the mixer running on low while you combine the flour and salt.
Add the flour mixture in thirds, completely incorporating before adding the next portion.
Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and use a spatula to smooth the top.
Bake for 1 hour before checking doneness with a butter knife: When inserted in the center the knife should come out mostly clean but with some sticky crumbs. Do not overcook this cake or it will dry out. Keep an eye on it and pull it when the center is still sticky.