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Love, Loss, and Laughter. Happy Mother’s Day, Victoria Ashton…

May 4, 2011

Mother's day, cake.
Mother’s Day is a simple reminder to honor the kindness, affection, and spirit of moms everywhere.  For many, this is an important day to come together and show our gratitude for all the little things mom does for us from wiping away our tears, cheering us on, and loving us unconditionally. Mothers have the uncanny ability to give us the strength and courage to be our best selves.  For some, including me, it’s a day of loss, reflection, and a video reel played on repeat filled with special memories, togetherness, and laughter.

The one thing that my mom, Victoria Ashton, surely taught me was how to laugh, granting me the grace to embrace every moment of my incredible life.  Without her knowing, this gift got me through times of betrayal and extreme pain, and changed my attitude toward any obstacles that crossed my path.  I feel her presence every time I hear a funny joke or take stage and deliver a humorous story.  I feel her lean in to watch Victoria Mei and I giggle when we bake together. Her love shines on us as we make funny faces while patiently watching our cupcakes rise in the oven. I carry her memory around in my heart and share her hearty laughter every chance I have. Even in her absence, laughter is our common language of love. No matter how hard things get, mom continues to remind me that the panacea to every hardship is a good belly laugh.

If you are fortunate enough to enjoy time with your mom on Mother’s Day no matter what your personal dynamic is, make sure to appreciate the moments.  Cherish and accept all the imperfectly perfect parts of her. Sprinkle in some compliments or share your favorite stories from growing up.  Bake together.  Take stock in your roots.  Plant some colorful tulips as a reminder of love that continuously blooms.  Change your Facebook picture to celebrate your relationship.

If you’re like me and you’re missing your mom, take a long walk, call a close friend, open up an old photo album and share your favorite story about mom with your own children, or volunteer for the day in her name.  The kindness you show will come back to you in countless ways.  Mending a broken heart isn’t always easy and although time does seem to fill in some of the empty spaces, you’ll never stop missing her, especially on Mother’s Day.

To honor my mom, I’d love to share her favorite English dessert.  Here’s to you, mom. I love you today and always.  For all the moms out there, thank you.  You are an exceptional gift.

Vicky’s Sandwich Cake
1 cup sugar
1 cup butter, room temperature
4 large eggs, beaten
1 cup all purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 tbsp milk

FOR THE FILLING
1 stick butter, softened
1 1/2 cups confectioner’s
sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence
strawberry jam (I use Smucker’s)
confectioner’s sugar, to decorate

Heat oven to 350 F. Butter two 7 inch cake tins and line with non-stick baking paper. In a large bowl, beat all the cake ingredients together until you have a smooth, soft batter.

Divide the mixture between the tins, smooth the surface with a spatula or the back of a spoon, then bake for about 20 minutes until golden and the cake springs back when pressed. Turn onto a cooling rack and leave to cool completely.

To make the filling, beat the butter until smooth and creamy, then gradually beat in icing sugar. Beat in vanilla extract if you’re using it. Spread the butter cream over the bottom of one of the sponges, top it with jam and sandwich the second sponge on top. Dust with a little icing sugar before serving. Keep in an airtight container and eat within 2 days.

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