Monday, October 19, 2009

Think Pink

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. My grandmother was diagnosed with breast cancer in the fall of 2007 at the age of 66. Her cancer was detected at her first mammogram. She had a lumpectomy in February of 2008 and a more invasive mastectomy in April of the same year.

This is the pink ribbon I wore for my grandma during both her surgeries.

My grandmother and I have always been close. She has always been like a second mother to me and not because she is my mother's mother. As a child, I lived with my grandmother and she helped me through a lot of tough times. She is the one who got me interested in cooking and baking. She gave me my first cookbook and I've learned so much from her--in and out of the kitchen.

She lives in Texas but as you know, it's a big state! She lives about 8.5 driving hours from me so I don't see her as often as I would like. She and my grandpa visit a couple times a year and this past week was one of those times. It was a surprise visit as I didn't know they were coming. They were actually just passing through as they were going to visit a family member who was ill and dying. But I was able to spend some time with my beloved grandmother this weekend.

We shopped and talked. We had coffee together and laid in bed and watched the news and spoke to each other like we were best friends. In a way, she is my best friend. She is my biggest supporter and advocate. She is a source of strength and inspiration for me and I'm so glad that I still have her around. Breast cancer did not and cannot take her away from me.

"Kick Cancer's Butt" Pink Ribbon Cake

  • 1 box white cake mix
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup strawberry puree
  • 1 small box strawberry Jello
  • 1/2 cup hot water

Preheat oven to 350 F. In a small bowl or a measuring cup, dissolve Jello in hot water. Set aside and let cool while mixing the rest of the ingredients.

In a large bowl, mix together cake mix, oil, eggs, and strawberry puree. Thoroughly mix in the gelatin mixture. Pour into 2 9x5-inch loaf pans and bake for 40-45 minutes.

Allow to cool completely in pans before inverting onto a cooling rack or cake platter. Cover in frosting of your choice.

NOTE: This is the same recipe for strawberry cake that I make for my sister every year. But I baked it into two loaf pans instead and used fresh pureed strawberries in lieu of the frozen ones.

Pink Ribbons: The pink ribbons on the cake were made by melting and tinting white chocolate. I put the pink chocolate in a sandwich bag and snipped off the end to make ribbons. I piped them onto wax paper and kept them in the freezer until I was ready for them.

Cream Cheese Glaze from Bakerella

  • 4 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
  • 2 Tbsp butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 Tbsp milk

Cream butter and cream cheese. Add sugar and milk until thoroughly combined. Spread on top of cake. Store remainder in the refrigerator.

NOTE: I doubled this recipe to have enough to cover 2 loaf cakes but I still have a lot left. One batch makes plenty of glaze to pour over 2 single layers of cake.

My grandmother is a survivor, but sadly not all women are. Be sure to give yourself a monthly breast exam and tell the women in your life you care about them by getting a mammogram.

It's not just about saving your boobies, it's about saving your life.


#26- Mini Baker is the winner of Everyday Food! Ms. Baker email me with your contact info.


Denise said...

Monica, what a lovely tribute to your Grandmother. Good for her and good for you for all your love and support!!

girlichef said...

What a sweet post :) Your cake is simply beautiful!

Lauren said...

That was such a special post and that is awesome that you and your grandmother are so close! My grandma is a breast cancer survivor as well! Go grandmas :)

cookies and cups said...

great cake, great cause!

Amber said...

I love this post, Monica. Your grandma rocks..your cake is such a great way to express your support of breast cancer awareness. You go girl...y abuelita tambien!

The Duchess of Wessex said...

Goodness, what a sweet and loving way to honor your dear grandmother, Monica!

What a blessing she is to you, and to those of us fortunate enough to know you!

PS - the cake looks ah-mazing!

Jennifer said...

Awwww. Im so glad your grand-mother surprised!!! I am sure it made your day!!! The cake looks yummy! I love strawberry cake!!

Raoulysgirl said...

A lovely post! I have an aunt who is a survivor and she never forgets to remind us all to check our boobies!!! Beautiful cake, too!!!

Lissaloo said...

What a special visit, and a very sweet post :)

Smitten Sugar said...

What a sweet post and so special that you guys had time to visit! Cake looks great!

Debbie said...

Monica, I love your cake and your story. Grandma's are so special. I'm happy that your grandma is doing well. You are so lucky to still have her and learn from her. I was very close to my grandma and miss her every day even though she has been gone for almost 25 years....

Hennifer said...

Yay Grandma! What a lovely tribute Monica! Why is pink just a relaxing nice color! I love the cake.

oneordinaryday said...

Thanks for sharing your grandma's story. What a beautiful lady.

Donna-FFW said...

Lovely story, Monica. Your grandmother is blessed to have you and you to have her.

Love the cake, I know just who I can make it for.. she will so appreciate this, thank you.

Hänni said...

What a beautiful cake, and so to the story and woman who inspired it.

Rachel said...

This is wonderful.
YAY for your Grandma!!!
I love the cake and the story. I've dedicated my blog for the entire month to stories from breast cancer survivors and their families' stories.

A Feast for the Eyes said...

What a sweet tribute to your grandmother. I especially love the name of your cake.
Monica, you are so artistic, ya know!
I loved every single shot you took-- beautifully composed, lighted, focused... a work of art, you are.
My dear friend...
Debby, who never had time to relax during her vacation and it's gone now!

Maria said...

Great post. I love the pink cake. I am thinking pink this month!

Mimi said...

What a lovely post. You and your grandmother are both very special people. Great photos, love the cake.

Kerstin said...

What a lovely cake and tribute post. Your grandma is such a strong woman and so beautiful!

Ingrid said...

(Well, dang! I thought I commented.)

That was a lovely tribute to your Wuela!

As for the cake itself....can we say yum?! And all that glorious drippy glaze? Even yummier!

Julie said...

Can't believe I missed this..beautiful cake. You're a lucky girl to have your grandma around :)

Erin said...

What a lovely tribute to your grandmother! I'm sure she's incredibly proud of you.

Sophie said...

This is such a fun looking cake. I loved reading about your relationship with your grandma. Those kind of relationships are a must.

Whitney said...

What a wonderful story. Your grandmother is so strong and lucky for being able to get through that since many people aren't as fortunate. I am so happy that you still have her in your life and were able to make this beautiful cake to honor her! Very pretty and will have to try it out sometime.

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