Today is my mother-in-law’s 90th birthday. Physically, she’s fit as a fiddle as you can see in these photos. Mentally, there’s not much left in her spongy brain. Dementia is the worst illness anyone can have I think. It robs you of who you are and takes away most of your memories.
Joan can remember things but she tends to mix and match so that she might remember something but she’ll put it in a different place with different people and she gets annoyed when we don’t remember things the same way she does. We’ve sorted that by agreeing and nodding to everything she says. Validation is important, questioning is never good.
She was all dressed up for her birthday today and was as pleased as she could be to spend time with us. She even gave Rob a big kiss!
I made her favorite cake but it’s only been her favorite since moving into the nursing home where they often have hummingbird cake in the cafe where we take her for coffee. There’s not much in the way of poundage for this little woman but she can polish off a whole piece of cake and nibble some off your plate too.
John helped his mother read her cards and then we sat down and ate cake. I was so busy icing the cake this morning and then wrapping her presents that I walked out of the house without my camera so I used Rob’s point and shoot. When I put it down, he moved it and that was the last I thought of it so we don’t have photos of the inny bits of the cake, sorry.
Trust me when I say, you need to make this cake. I used a Woman’s Weekly recipe and made my favorite cream cheese icing instead of theirs and put in a 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon. It makes it SO good.
- 450grams can crushed pineapple in syrup
- 150grams (1 cup) plain flour
- 75grama (½ cup) self-raising flour
- ½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- 200grams (1 cup firmly packed) brown sugar
- 45grams (½ cup) desiccated coconut
- 460grams (approximately 2 large) overripe bananas, mashed
- 2 eggs, beaten lightly
- 180ml (¾ cup) vegetable oil
- 250 grams (8 oz) cream cheese, room temperature
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ½ tablespoon vanilla
- 2 cups confectioners' sugar (sifted)
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 cup walnuts, chopped
- ½ cup shredded coconut, lightly toasted
- Grease and line two 9-inch cake tins with baking paper
- Drain pineapple over medium bowl, pressing with spoon to extract as much syrup as possible Reserve ¼ cup (60ml) syrup.
- Sift flours, soda, spices and sugar into large bowl.
- Using wooden spoon, stir in reserved syrup, coconut, banana, egg and oil, then pour into prepared baking pans.
- Bake layers for 40 minutes until golden brown and bounces back when you touch.
- Cool for 5 minutes then turn onto wire rack with cake top-side up to cool.
- Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat cream cheese, butter and vanilla until light and fluffy.
- Reduce speed and gradually add icing/ confectioners' sugar and cinnamon.
- Spread frosting between cake layers and on the top and side.
- Sprinkle side with walnuts and the top with toasted coconut.