yesterday was my mom's birthday. in case you haven't noticed, i get really excited about birthdays. i like celebrating mine, i like celebrating others', i like eating birthday cake. i think this quote, though, really captures why i love them so much...
"birthdays need to be celebrated. i think it is more important to celebrate a birthday than a successful exam, promotion, or a victory. because to celebrate a birthday means to to say to someone: 'thank you for being you.' celebrating a birthday is exalting life and being glad for it. on a birthday we do not say: 'thanks for what you did, or said, or accomplished.' no, we say: 'thank you for being born and being among us.' on birthdays we celebrate the present. we do not complain about what happened or speculate about what will happen, but we lift someone up and let everyone say: 'we love you.'
i know a friend who, on his birthday, is picked up by his friends, carried to the bathroom, and thrown clothes and all into a full tub of water. everyone eagerly awaits his birthday, even he himself. i have no idea where this tradition came from, but to be lifted up and 're-baptized' seems like a good way to have your life celebrated. we are made aware that although we have to keep our feet on the ground, we are created to reach to the heavens, and that, although we easily get dirty, we can always be washed clean again and our life given a new start.
celebrating a birthday reminds us of the goodness of life, and in this spirit we really need to celebrate people's birthdays every day, by showing gratitude, kindness, forgiveness, gentleness, and affection. these are ways of saying: 'it's good that you are alive; it's good that you are walking with me on this earth. let's be glad and rejoice. this is the day that God has made for us to be and be together.'"
- henri j.m. nouwen, here and now: living in the spirit
(birthday banner made by me!)
that said, i tend to get a little carried away with birthday plans and celebrations. and, as cake is my favorite food, birthday cakes. i've never attempted to make a tiered cake before, but i figured three layers can't be that much more difficult than the standard two. i also like mini things, and given that my stove is mini, i figured a mini tiered cake was exactly what mom wanted for her special day. i have no photos of the process, but the finished product exceeded my expectations immensely...
here's what i did:
- mixed up one box of duncan hines classic white cake mix. (i honestly think cake mix is easier and doesn't taste any different than made-from-scratch cake. i've made a lot of both, and sometimes cake mix is even better.)
- chose three small ramekins/pyrex bowls in ascending sizes, greased, and added batter.
- disassembled my smoke alarm when the extra-small ramekin overflowed in the oven.
- cooled cakes overnight, first on a cooling rack, then in the fridge. (i think this part is important - they would have fallen apart much more easily if they weren't cold.)
- used dental floss to shave off the domed top of each cake, so that each layer was completely flat-topped.
- used dental floss to split each mini layer into two smaller layers, for a total of six layers (if you don't know about the dental floss trick, check it out here. it's magical.)
- spread seedless raspberry preserves inside new the layers i cut, and whipped cake icing (also store bought - making icing seemed like too much work - i used three cans) between the full layers. i like using preserves in multi-layer cakes. it prevents icing overkill (if that's even possible) and really adds some flavor/moisture. lemon curd is also super.
- inserted 2 wooden grilling skewers into the full stacked cake to prevent layers from sliding.
- used my pampered chef easy accent decorator (and various other random kitchen items) to frost completed cake.
happy birthday, mom!
what i learned:
- next time i will choose more pronounced cake layer sizes. they were each so similar in size/width, i had to get pretty creative with the icing to make it look tiered. it sort of started out looking more like this:
- icing a cake in a hot kitchen in the summer is decidedly frustrating. next time i will make sure to take more breaks to chill the icing to keep it from sliding around so much.
- the cake went further than expected - i'd say it had about six small servings in it.
so, happy birthday, mom! i love you and thank you for sharing your mini tiered cake with me! (i already finished all of my leftovers.)
images: 1.weheartit 2.google