to my spouse! The making of the cake was mine, the decorating my daughter's. Let me tell you, whatever it lacked in elegance (and I'm not conceding it lacked anything in that department) it more than made up for in sheer deliciousness. It's been a while since I made an actual cake, with cake flour, full sugar, and all the rest. Now I remember why: it's just as well human history has no record of how much I actually ate.
The credit for the cake really goes to Rose Levy Berenbaum, however, whose Cake Bible supplied the recipes for cake (All-American Chocolate Butter Cake) and frosting (Milk Chocolate Buttercream, which I made with dark instead of milk chocolate). The thing about her recipes is that they make it almost too easy to make perfect cake. If you just do exactly what she says you end up with ludicrously good results, every time. Where is the drama? Where the dread? For that I guess you need to go tackle pastry.
For dinner beforehand we had field peas with onions, bacon, corn, and parsley, over brown rice. Also sliced tomatoes.