I love a birthday.
Is this true for you too? I hope so... celebrating is awesome stuff. It's all cake, balloons, and happy times with faces you love.
I remember my Wizard of Oz birthday cake a'la my mother. It was a large "yellow brick road" made of icing, with the complete cast of characters from the movie (minus the flying monkeys).
Other years it was a Barbie cake (I've had both the one with the doll stuck in the top and the one just in the shape of her as a sheet cake). But the best one? The best one was a GIANT 3D Care Bear. That thing was epic, friends. Mom's killer piping skills made it look all fuzzy and justlikearealcarebearomg. So good. Mad skills, mom.
I'm not sure how it is for you, but when I say "Happy Birthday" to someone, I cringe a little when they say they'd rather forget about it. Come on! LET ME BAKE YOU SOMETHING. Then you'll see... Then you'll change your mind.
Eh... but some people are just not into that kind of thing, I suppose. I certainly am not the type to run out to the bars on my birthday, nor am I the type to plan a huge soiree at some fancy downtown location. It's just not... me. So maybe they like to celebrate a bit more simply. Maybe it's not the "bigness" they want, but a "nod", if you will, before they move on to the next life event.
Cori's birthday is Friday and we celebrated with the family this morning. I made her a cake, sweet and simple. It had vanilla and berries. It had birds (what? yes.). It was gluten-free (for Cori's mom and sister). It was a simple acknowledgement of a life event I am privileged to share with her: Her 25th birthday. So special.
While Cori is the type of person to get excited about this passage of time each year, she does it simply and with the ones she loves. On her birthday this Friday, I'll be making Cori dinner and we'll be spending the evening celebrating her special day. There'll be presents and dessert. Possibly a movie and yummy beer. It's how she likes it. Also, she and I LOVE this.
Happy (early) Birthday, my dear sweet Corina. I do love your style.
|"Fantastic" reverse iPhone picture. It's gets us.|
Cori's Vanilla and Berry Birthday Cake
Adapted from Joy the Baker
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 3/4 cup granulated sugar
4 large eggs
2 3/4 cup gluten-free flour (such as King Arthur or Cup4Cup)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup whole milk
1 1/2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
*preheat oven to 350 degrees and position the oven rack in the middle position*
You'll need to butter two 9" round cake pans, line the bottom with parchment paper, then butter and flour, tapping out the excess flour. Set aside.
In the bowl of a standing mixer with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 3-5 minutes, on medium speed. Turn down the mixer to low and beat in the eggs, one at a time, until evenly blended.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
In a measuring cup, mix the milk and the vanilla together.
Beginning with the dry ingredients, alternate adding thirds of the flour mixture and the milk mixture to the butter mixture. When the flour disappears, turn off the mixer and mix with a rubber spatula by hand until smooth.
Divide the batter between the two prepared pans and bake for 35-40 minutes, or when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Let cool on wire racks for 15 minutes in the pan, then inverted on the wire racks until completely cool. Only frost when they are completely cool.
1 cup (two sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup organic cane sugar (such as turbinado)
1 cup whole milk
1/4 cup sifted gluten-free flour (sift first, then measure)
2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon coconut extract (or your favorite... maybe rum, orange, or even rose water!)
a mixture of your favorite berries - mine were raspberries and blueberries
In a standing mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until fluffy, about 3-5 minutes. Set aside.
Over medium heat, bring 1/4 cup of milk and the flour to a boil, adding the rest of the milk slowly while whisking constantly to prevent lumps. When bubble start to appear on the edges, bring down to low and whisk constantly until slightly thickened. Don't stop whisking! Once thickened a bit, remove from the heat and place in the freezer to help bring it back to room temperature. Remove from the freezer every 5 minutes or so to whisk.
Once the mixture is at room temperature, add it to the sugar and butter, along with the vanilla and coconut extract, and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 5-7 minutes. Frosts on 9" layer cake by following these instructions. Decorate the inside and top with berries as you like.