Birthday cakes

Vanilla sponge cake, pastry cream, raspberry jam and a vanilla whipped cream dome inside. Marzipan shell outside, topped with powdered sugar and a fresh rose. Available in green, pink or lavender. (Princess cake, Gayle’s Bakery)

Classic Apple spice cake with chopped local apples folded in the batter, topped with Moonbeam cream and cinnamon frosting. (Apple spice, Buttercup cakes)

Our Italian-American friends once celebrated every occasion with this special dessert from their corner bakery. Now we bring them the same delicate vanilla sponge kissed with rum, then touched with raspberry jam, and filled with creamy Meyer’s rum custard. (Italian rum, The Buttery)

I’m twenty nine today. Birthdays usually cause me to be fairly introspective. A birthday gone-by is no birthday at all without deep reflection of the last year! This year, there’s some of that. But really, the main topic of birthday discussion this year has focused around what cake we will respectably eat after dinner and then quietly scoop handfuls of later in the evening once pajamas are on and judgements have left.

That said, the input of my two year old may have something to do with it, too. Balloons were also of importance.

Isn’t there something to be said about beautiful bakery language? The Princess cake so splendidly curt. The Apple spice warms you with nostalgic nutty sweetness and was most likely baked by your Aunt Margaret. And the Italian rum so deliciously cheeky, and ever so faithful to a sugary, sinfully rich texture. How could I ever choose?

Can I possibly align my need for cake with a deeper and self-shaking principle relating to this twenty ninth birthday? I imagine no. I actually just want cake. I am simply thankful for another year of life, decadent desserts and my little clan around me. Salud!

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