Birthday cakes date back to ancient Greece when cakes were more along the lines of a sweetened bread, and our modern-day version of the birthday cake originated in Germany. Cake is practically synonymous with celebration. We eat it for many special occasions. As we were working on our annual Birthday Bonanza issue, we wondered how others felt about birthday cakes and I conducted a small survey—both on our magazines’ fan pages, as well as my own page. It quickly became evident as both friends and readers began to answer, that a birthday cake is uniquely personal.
Some of the opinions were very specific and included:
“Chocolate cake with chocolate icing and chocolate chips covering the outside.” ~ Samantha
“Chocolate topped with chocolate icing and melted chocolate inside the cake with chocolate lettering on top.” ~ Rose
“IT’S CHOCOLATE, CHOCOLATE, WITH CHOCOLATE. There is no other birthday cake.” ~ Darrell
“Devil’s-food with chocolate buttercream frosting. And chocolate sprinkles.” ~ Stacy
Obviously—chocolate was an all-around favorite. In fact, out of my little, unscientifically based survey, 35% of those who responded chose some form of chocolate as their favorite birthday cake. We had a three-way tie for second place with strawberry, red velvet and white cake. Admittedly, I was surprised by the third most popular birthday cake—carrot cake. Don’t get me wrong, I like carrot cake just fine, but it’s not what I think of when I think of birthday cake.
But as previously stated, birthday cakes are uniquely personal and everyone has an opinion!
As for myself…I was born on Christmas Day. In my humble opinion, having my birthday on the biggest international holiday of the year entitles me to not one, but two birthday cakes. My family doesn’t argue.
My first is made by my grandmother. It’s a devil’s-food chocolate cake with seven-minute frosting. If you’ve never heard of seven-minute frosting, I’m so sad for you. Martha Stewart lists seven-minute frosting as a “you can’t go wrong” recipe, but with all due respect to Martha, she’s exaggerating. This highly temperamental icing has caused my grandmother enough headaches that the only time she’ll make it is for my birthday. Super sweet, it forms a thin, candy-esque shell on the outside, while the rest of the frosting is super creamy. YUM. Drooling just thinking about it!
My second birthday cake comes from my friends at Christina’s Dessertery. Being a coffee-aficionado, I must also have her Café Mocha cake every year. Absolutely decadent.
This year, as you celebrate your birthday, your family’s and friend’s, co-worker’s, or whosever…enjoy your cake and know that it’s as unique as you are, or the person whose birth you are celebrating! And remember this: Every day, all over the world, people are celebrating birthdays. If you want cake every day, it’s okay. Someone is celebrating with you.