Cakes are special. Every birthday, every celebration ends with something sweet, a cake, and people remember. It’s all about the memories. -Buddy Valestro
Around here our birthday cakes tend to be a little less fussy than what you can find in a “real” bakery. I’d rather tackle wild yeast than buttercream any day. The cake in the oven today is the fantastically simple strawberry summer cake from Smitten Kitchen. Loaded with fresh strawberries and barley flour, it smells like a strawberry patch in the oven, just as the recipe promises. But it smells like more than that to me. To me, a cake in the oven is the smell of birthdays. And of children’s wishes being made real. When you ask for strawberry cake, you get strawberry cake. There is no greater joy than being the one who gets to bake the cakes of childhood. My mom made one with peaches for my sister and me growing up. My son prefers chocolate cream “birthday pie” instead of cake, with a double thick graham cracker crust and homemade whipped cream. For my daughter it’s an apple cake loaded with cinnamon, although I once sent a carrot cake through airport security when that was what she craved her first year at college. At the drop in center we bake for, there is a monthly party where kids get to pick their own decorations. But it’s not really about the decorations that go on top, or even so much about what flavors the batter on the inside. The essential ingredient for a good birthday cake is love. Thats what makes the memories sweet.