This Saturday is my son’s birthday, and I have spent the entirety of July listening to him talk about it. We are hosting a sleepover, and I have been informed that I am making my signature spicy chicken sandwiches for dinner, some form of cheesecake (I am supposed to “be creative”), and a large amount of twice-baked honey cakes for a Lord of the Rings–inspired breakfast, which will likely be followed by a riotous five minutes of sword fighting that will end when someone gets hurt and I throw everyone out into the yard.
In all this excitement, I almost forgot that this Sunday is my own birthday, which means my husband will make me any cake I want. I am very fortunate that he is an incredible pastry chef with whom I owned a bakery for nearly a decade, but truth be told, I’ve never really taken advantage of that. My birthday happens during the part of the year where it’s too hot to turn on the oven, and up until five years ago I’d spent my entire life in New York City, where there is only one appropriate birthday cake for a Leo like me: the Carvel Cookie Puss.
I currently live in Baltimore and have no car, so I cannot as easily celebrate my birthday with a Carvel cake that stares at me with cold, dead eyes as I slowly devour it bit by bit. I will have to “settle” for a homemade cake, and considering my husband is capable of making me just about any damn cake I could possibly dream of, I’m a little bit overwhelmed. There are too many cakes to choose from, and I love them all (except the ones with raisins, which can burn in hell). I am trying to figure out what sort of cake will make me over-the-moon happy, but will also be completely repulsive to the children so they won’t ask me to share. I need this cake to help me recover from the ordeal of having six screaming boys in my house for 24 hours, and if they come anywhere near me while I’m eating it, I will fend them off with my fork.
If money, talent, or the laws of physics weren’t an issue and you could have absolutely any sort of birthday cake you wanted, what would you pick? Maybe something simple, like a chocolate cake, but made with the finest ingredients and double (or triple) the normal amount of frosting? Or maybe something completely over-the-top, like a towering croquembouche, or a movie theater popcorn cake?