I have an astonishing number of birthdays to deal with at the beginning of every year. I say *I* have to deal with them because I am the one making the cakes. Sometimes I feel like all I do is bake cakes for six weeks straight. Jake’s birthday is January 27, John’s and Emily’s is today, Teddy’s is February 15, and William’s is March 5.
Suzy Homemaker I am not, except when it comes to baking. No cake boxes or cans of icing will ever come through this door. All my cakes are made from scratch (which honestly is not that hard and I’m not sure why people think baking cakes from scratch is such a big deal). To make things easier, I have a few tried and true recipes that people usually pick from for their birthdays. Not that I wouldn’t make something else if anyone asked. But usually they are plenty happy with one of the old favorites.
Jake said he did not care what kind of cake I made for him, so for his family party I picked the easiest one: Coca-cola cake. I’d already made it for Lorelei’s birthday back in November, so we were over the hurdle of finding the recipe, all my cookbooks, including the hand-written one with all my most-used recipes having, of course, burned.
Jake had a second party with his friends, and for that one I made Aunt Hattie’s cake. Apparently there are or were a lot of Aunt Hatties who liked to make cakes, because I could not find the right recipe on the internet. I thought I remembered it, and I double-checked with my mother to make sure. It’s a basic yellow cake–it’s really buttermilk pound cake with one extra egg. I use buttercream frosting.
Last year Emily actually asked me to mail her a cake, which I did–a Milky Way Cake. This year I think she is more excited about legally drinking than eating cake, so I got off easy with one cake today. I always tried to make a special celebration for each birthday person on their shared day, so that meant two cakes every February 4th for eighteen years.
John is saving up his partying for his next big birthday, and didn’t even ask for a cake, so I actually decided to try something new. A friend had given me a recipe for Wet Coconut Cake, which I’d tasted at a church function. The original recipe was just too darn easy for me, so I had to tinker with it a little bit. As written, you make a yellow sheet cake from a mix, poke holes in it and saturate it with a mixture of cream of coconut and sweetened condensed milk, chill it, and then spread it with Cool Whip and sprinkle it with coconut. Cool Whip is something I never knowingly let pass my lips. So what I did instead was make another Aunt Hattie’s cake, gave it the saturation treatment, chilled it, spread it with homemade whipped cream, and flaked an actual coconut onto it (no, that very last thing was a lie).
William has already put me on notice that he expects Red Velvet Cake for his birthday. That recipe came from my friend Rico’s mother, and it is the best cake ever. Teddy has not yet expressed his preference, but besides the above choices he might request Old-Fashioned White Birthday Cake or my own variation, Strawberry Cake.
And then I won’t have to make another cake until November!