Sunday, January 18, 2009

A Half-Birthday Half-Cake

Yesterday was Willow's half-birthday--she is now 4.5 years old. Thank god she's not five yet--five seems so old, like she ought to be smoking cigarettes and stopping by the gas station for lottery tickets.

The best thing about half-birthdays, though? On your half-birthday, Momma bakes you a half-cake.
A half-cake, y'all! Half a cake! Here's how:

  1. Buy yourself a nice box of cake mix. Will wanted a blueberry cake (when it's your birthday, you get any cake you want--same holds for half-birthday half-cakes), so I bought a nice box of store-brand natural vanilla cake--plenty of sugar, but no preservatives. Also? Damn delicious.
  2. Bake your cake in one round cake pan. If your mix makes enough for two cake pans, bake yourself up a bunch of cupcakes, too, and then throw them in the freezer before the kids see them. I threw some extra vanilla extract in and some almond extract, on account of I think almond extract is delicious and should go in everything, and I had Will sprinkle plenty of frozen blueberries over the top of the cake before we stuck it in the oven. And after it was in the oven, I noticed that the directions on the box had all these picky instructions--"Mix with an electric mixer at blah-blah speed for blah-blah minutes, then put it on blah-blah speed for blah-blah minutes." Yeah, Will and I just hand-mixed it until she was bored, and it turned out great.
  3. While your cake is cooling, mix yourself up some nice cream cheese frosting. I just beat a bunch of cream cheese (with a mixer!) until it's fluffy, and beat in some almond extract (on account of it's delicious and should go in everything) and just enough powdered sugar to make it a little sweet, but really, I'd be chill with just straight-up cream cheese frosted all over my cake.
  4. Okay, here's the trick: Cut your one layer of cake in HALF! Frost one half with your cream cheese frosting (the girls and I also spread out some blueberry pie filling on top of the frosting, which I had mixed feelings about--it came from a can, and I'm sure has lots of preservatives. Next time I'd go for a nice natural blueberry jam, I think). Then, put the other half of the cake ON TOP OF THE FIRST HALF! Frost that baby up, too, and you got yourself a half-birthday half-cake.
  5. Eat that puppy up!

After the half-birthday half-cake, during the obligatory dressing up in fancy dresses and running around like maniacs, Will took this photo: My half-birthday is next month--I wonder how much chocolate one can pile on top of half a cake, anyway?


cake said...

i really like the idea of celebrating half-birthdays. i got talked into having a half-birthday party for cosmo when he turned 6mo old. it turned out to be a really important celebration for me, and tons of fun for him too.

your "...mix at blah blah speed for blah blah minutes..." approach to baking, cracks me up. in particular, because i have been working on some very precise bread recipes lately, weighing out each gram of whatever ingredient, timing how long i'm kneading, and recording everything in the "bread journal" (it actually has turned out to be a necessity, or else i can't keep track of what i am doing). i like hearing that the cake turns out fine, even if you don't follow all the specifics.

you have a couple of very lucky girls, and i agree that 5 is some kind of turning seems very old.

julie said...

Oh, yeah, I remember those big days in the first year. The really meaningful marker for me was the transition between when each child had now spent more time in the world than she had in my body--for Will, 9.5 months, and for Syd, 7.5 months.

You and that bread journal! You have got to scan some pages and post them on your blog, because I must see and wonder at it.