We are a small staff but we have a cast of characters—protagonists, antagonists, heroes and villains, but all are hard-working, professional, dedicated and smart. One thing we all have in common is the love of parties. That’s why celebrating birthdays is pretty important to The Office cast. We jump at the chance to come together for a break, celebrate and eat something yummy. Our treats have run the gamut—margarita cupcakes, Magnolia Bakery cupcakes, a flower arrangement made of fresh veggies, you name it. We tailor it to the honoree’s taste buds.
One of the most coveted birthday desserts is the Mary Ann Cake made by Nancy Macklin, director of marketing and events at the Hearing Loss Association of America. Boy, does she know how to put on an office birthday event! Her Mary Ann Cake is beautiful — and second, delicious. It’s made in a special cake pan, available from NordicWare (fancy version), Amazon.com, and King Arthur Flour. The exact shape of the pan varies. The recipes vary and the spelling of its female namesake varies. My favorite is Nancy’s recipe—the memorable Almond Cream Mary Ann Cake, filled with mascarpone and topped with fresh berries.
Give the recipe a try. And remember, hospitality goes where you do, even to the office. Take your game on the road. Others will be glad you did. Spread the love, be hospitable!
Nancy’s Mary Ann Cake
“The secret to this cake’s smoothness is all the beating.” — Nancy
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoons salt
1 cup of butter (two sticks), softened at room temperature
1-1/2 cups sugar
1 cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract (or as Nancy suggests, 3 teaspoons almond extract)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour pan.
Sift flour, baking powder, and salt together. Set aside.
The Beating: With flat beater, beat butter on medium until smooth and creamy, one to two minutes. Reduce to low and gradually add sugar beating until blended. Increase speed to medium-high and continue beating until light and fluffy, three-to five minutes. Add eggs one at a time. Beat in vanilla (or almond) extract.
Reduce beater to low and add flour mixture in three additions alternating with milk and beginning and ending with flour, beating just until blended and no lumps of flour remain.
Pour into Mary Ann pan and bake for 32 minutes.
2 cups fresh berries
4 T sugar, divided
6 ounces mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
1/3 cup sour cream
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup chilled heavy cream, beaten to soft peaks
Confectioners’ sugar for dusting
Combine berries with 2 T granulated sugar. Set aside.
Using spatula, combine mascarpone, sour cream, vanilla and 2 T granulated sugar. Fold into the whipped cream.
Fill the cake shell with mascarpone mixture. Top with fresh berries and dust with confectioners’ sugar.