Mastering this recipe is an important part of being one of the women in my family. Mom has recounted to me several times just how many of these cakes she had to make for my fater before my grandmother would admit that she'd gotten it right, and thereby accept her into the family. And I'm the only child in the family in my generation, male or female, so the entire weight of the tradition falls to me. Have I mentioned that being able to make this cake is a Really Big Deal, emotionally?
I sinned against family tradition by not sifting the flour (Amanda doesn't have a sifter, and the kitchen store was closed when I realized i'd forgotten to buy her one). And I should have trimmed the wax paper for the bottom of the cake pans. And beaten the eggs before folding them in. And I think I overcooked redbird's cake a little. And I underestimated how much sugar I'd need, and will have to make a fourth trip to the grocery store for more in the morning before I make the icing. And the premium Ghirardelli chocolate that I bought at the kitchen store went missing, so I wound up using good old Baker's instead.
I remember reading a First Blood ritual in one of my Pagan reference books, in which the guest of honor is admonished that she now has the power to create life, and that she should use it wisely. Mom and I are both infertile, so creating life in our family involves some outside intervention (I was adopted, and moominmuppet is going to pinch hit for me). But Davis women have always had the power to create birthday cake from this recipe handed down from mother to daughter for four generations. My cake isn't up to Grandma's standards yet, but now I can do it, too.
I hope they enjoy it tomorrow....