In the Business of Birthdays: Present Cakes

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I know that my friends would rather receive a bow on a bottle of Jack for their birthday, but I insist on a cake. I ask about a week beforehand what they’d like to see sliced on their big day and my present to them is a decadent, made-to-order treat, candles and all. Some like to challenge me with “I’ll eat whatever!” but I can tell a chocolate fudge layer cake person from a lemon meringue pie fool. To the left is my best friend Sammy with her chocolate chip cookie dough cake on her 22nd birthday fiesta.  A few too many margaritas may have been a factor in the “BEST CAKE EVER” phenomenon, but I can make this girl anything with chocolate and I will be considered heaven-sent. She’s not making birthday-candle-pre-wish hands, she’s making pray-to-chocolate-goddess hands. Duh. (Photos- Middle: Isabella and I with her Dulce de Leche Cheesecake / Right: Stephanie and her Carrot Cake)

However when it comes to my birthday, I don’t ask for a Publix sheet cake. I know my friends would try their very hardest to make the local bakery purchase look like it came from their own ovens, but I won’t do that to them. My birthday present to myself is a cake made by me. Not just because I’m a snobby food asshole and don’t trust anyone else’s icing techniques, but because the time and effort that goes into a birthday cake is so therapeutic and comforting to me. Two years ago, my grandfather passed away the day before my birthday and for me, driving to South Florida on that Saturday was the hardest birthday I didn’t try to celebrate. This weekend is going to be hard but I’m going to make a cake for both my grandfather and I. I want to spend some time with flour, sugar and me- the best kind of present you can give yourself. I’m thinking something light and lemony? Or maybe a pile of cake donuts… Whatever it ends up being, it’s going to be awesome.

Here are a few ideas for my birthday cake! Which one do you think I should take inspiration from?



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From top left to bottom right: Lemon Poppy Seed Cake — Peach Cake with Cream Cheese and Oatmeal Crumble — Donut Birthday Cake found on — Brown Butter Waffle Cake with Sorghum Meringue Buttercream — Brown Butter Cake with Vanilla Bean — Momofuku Milk Bar Cake