It’s the 38th Anniversary of my 21st Birthday.

A momentous occasion.  Considering there are plenty of reasons why I probably shouldn’t have lived to see my 30th birthday, this is a pretty remarkable achievement.

I actually spent my 21st birthday on the USS Ranger (CVA 61) floating off the coast of San Francisco.  We had been back from Viet Nam for about a month and were just going out to sea for three days for a little waste of taxpayer money.  I put in for a three-day leave but when our Leading Chief found out it was for my 21st Birthday, he denied it.  He just didn’t like my attitude and he had the power to keep me on the ship. It seems that even then I had issues with stupid people telling me what to do. Alas, I hadn’t learned how to hide it very well at that young age.

38 years later and things are just a bit different.  Okay.  They’re a lot different!  And how sweet it is!  No more stupid people telling me what to do and the ability to have what I want for my birthday dinner.

Victor was planning something a bit more elaborate, but I said that BLT’s on little rolls and Tater Tots were really what I wanted.  Being the extremely intelligent man that he is, he readily agreed.  He didn’t even argue when I said I’d cook.  As I said – smart man!

Thick slices of applewood-smoked bacon and thick slices of tomato from the garden.  It was gastronomic perfection.  I forgot to get the iceberg lettuce but did have some arugula.  It made for a nice little twist.

Home-grown tomatoes… I have been waiting for these.  They really are just too wonderful for words.  And it looks as if we’re in for a bumper crop!  I’m psyched.  There is just no comparison to those things that are called tomatoes at the grocery store.  In fact…  you should read Tomatoland: How Modern Industrial Agriculture Destroyed Our Most Alluring Fruit by Barry Estabrook.  I did.  I had issues with tasteless supermarket tomatoes before.  I don’t see myself buying many more – and I definitely will want to know their parentage.

But back to those delicious home-grown tomatoes…

It was the perfect birthday dinner and in about an hour I shall be eating a (large) piece of the perfect birthday cake!  A flourless chocolate raspberry cake!

Victor made this while I was at work.

It is based upon Tyler Florence’s Chocolate Cracked Earth Cake.

 Victor’s Flourless Chocolate Raspberry Cake


  • 1 pound bittersweet chocolate, chopped into small pieces
  • 1 stick butter
  • 9 large eggs, separated
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 pt raspberries, mashed with a fork
  • 1/4 cup strong espresso coffee

Preheat the oven to 350°. Butter a 9-inch springform pan.

Melt chocolate and butter together.

Beat egg yolks and sugar in a mixing bowl until light yellow in color. Stir in a little of the chocolate mixture into the egg yolk mixture to temper the eggs then mix in the rest of the chocolate mixture.  Stir in coffee and raspberries and mix well.

Beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form.  Fold into the chocolate mixture.

Pour into the prepared pan and bake until the cake is set, the top starts to crack and a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out with moist crumbs clinging to it, 35 to 40 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes, then remove sides of pan.

Serve with whipped cream, if desired.

Birthdays are a good thing.


Under that mound of whipped cream is the most luscious feather-light, rich, decadent, chocolate-raspberry cake on the planet!


I am so having a piece for breakfast!