Saturday, June 14, 2014

Lemon-Lovers Birthday Cake and Birthday Week Celebrations

In our home, we celebrate birthdays for a whole week. It started when Glen and I were first married, and living far away from family.  Sometimes gifts and cards would arrive before our birthdays and sometimes after, but it always felt like more fun to have an extended celebration, rather than just one instant when we unwrapped gifts. (And what about if you didn't actually like the gift you received? That's a different story!)  So we started a "Birthday Week" tradition.

In the beginning, Birthday week usually incorporated some type of theme, and part of the fun was guessing what the theme was.  Pre-k (Pre-kids) we usually did something every day that involved being out of our apartment -- theater, dance, window-shopping, walking along the river, or something along those lines. When we had children, the themes were often around super-heroes or princesses, and involved getting little items each day, like a Barbie Pez Dispenser, or a funky eraser for a pencil.  As our children have gotten older, it's been harder to do theme weeks, but the gifting has continued.

We just celebrated Dash's Birthday Week, which included tickets to see Aladdin on Broadway, a birthday party at Escape the Room NYC, and making (and serving) his favorite lemon cake -- a four-layer cake, with lemon curd filling, lemon buttercream icing and more lemon curd as the decoration.

There's a back-story to this lemon cake...When Kate was in middle-school (and in her "I'm going to become a pastry chef phase") she decided to make this cake for her soccer team's season-ending party.  There was no convincing her that brownies or cookies, or even a cupcake version of this cake would be easier to take to school and probably more in line with what 12 year olds would generally like to eat. But Kate had her heart set on making this recipe, which takes about two full days from start to finish (it's straight out of the Martha Stewart Baking cookbook - enough said!) and so we spent the weekend baking and assembling the cake, and I also had to run out and find a cake carrier, so she could transport it to school on the bus.  During the soccer party, one of the teachers took a slice out of the cake, and Kate brought the rest of it home.  She was so sad that no one appreciated all of her hard work (the brownies and cookies other kids brought were all eaten.) But Dash was thrilled -- he loves lemon cake!  He was very excited that Kate brought home the leftover cake, and had visions of eating it for days. He came home from school one day, all excited to eat leftover cake, but it was gone -- after keeping it a couple of days in the fridge, Glen tossed it out. Dash has been talking about it for years, and when we asked what cake he wanted for his birthday, this won hands down.




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