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I have to think that one of the most universal traditions is making a wish when blowing out candles on a birthday cake! If it isn’t, we should all help spread the word! Last week Matt and I got to spend a day driving several hours west to deliver bulls to a friend/customer who had purchased them. Since all of us have spring birthdays and three of the four of us had just celebrated birthdays within the week, I decided it was most appropriate to take a birthday cake along!  It was an absolutely wonderful lunch with some great friends!

Can you see the candle in each serving of cake? Each of us got our very own wish!

Can you see the candle in each serving of cake? Each of us got our very own wish!

One can never share their wish at the time of blowing out the candles, because it might not come true! However – I can now share mine. 🙂 I had one simple wish as I closed my eyes and blew out my candle. I wished (and prayed) for rain on our pastures and wheat fields. Well – what do ya know? It came true! Best Mother’s Day gift ever for this farm/ranch mama! We were blessed with 2.75″ of rain yesterday and it couldn’t have been more timely!  I hope the other 3 had their wishes come true, too!

make a wish_commonground_nebraska_storm_clouds

Part of the cattle got turned out to pasture on Saturday even though the grass was still pretty short – this rain will give us some restful nights now, for at least a few weeks; knowing there will be grass for the cows to eat and water in the ponds for them to drink. Rain is so very crucial to farming and ranching – one only has to observe how much the number of cows in the U.S. has decreased the past few years due to drought. You can see it in the prices of beef in the grocery store and at restaurants. I can guarantee there are very few if any ranch families that wanted to sell their cow herds, but when there isn’t enough feed, you have to keep around only what can be properly cared for, and not permanently damage the land. It is tough emotionally and economically. When your annual source of income (or, your salary, if you will)  all gets sold at one shot – there has to be a tremendous amount of planning, pride-swallowing, and willingness to do something different for a while.  Some ranchers have received rains and are beginning to rebuild herds, but it will take years to get back to what they once had. Best wishes to everyone who has had to make the tough choices!

I definitely should share the recipe for the cake I took along to celebrate with! It was from one of the recent issues of Southern Living & it is SO Yummy!!!!! I just can’t say enough about how good it is! And – not always does my food turn out like the picture, but this cake did.

Strawberries-and-Cream Sheet Cake

Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 2 tablespoons strawberry-flavored gelatin
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon table salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2/3 cup chopped fresh strawberries
  • Shortening
  • Parchment paper
  • Vegetable cooking spray
  • Strawberry Frosting
  • Garnish: fresh strawberries

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Beat butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy; gradually add sugar, beating 4 to 5 minutes or until light and fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating until blended after each addition. Beat in lemon juice and vanilla.
  2. Stir together flour and next 3 ingredients; add flour mixture to butter mixture alternately with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat at low speed just until blended. Stir in strawberries.
  3. Grease (with shortening) and flour a 13- x 9-inch pan; line with parchment paper, allowing 2 to 3 inches to extend over long sides. Lightly grease paper with cooking spray. Spread batter in prepared pan.
  4. Bake at 350° for 30 to 40 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack 30 minutes. Lift cake from pan, using parchment paper sides as handles. Invert cake onto wire rack; gently remove parchment paper. Cool completely (about 1 hour). Spread Strawberry Frosting on top and sides of cake.

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