It’s birthday week here at the Stelzer house, and you know what that means: cake.  And if the cake is for someone under 10, it also means sprinkles, baking after said birthday boy is asleep, and spelling out words in the frosting of cupcakes.  If the cake is for someone turning one, who has never ever before experienced the joys of sugar, chocolate, butter, eggs and flour in these extreme proportions all in one place before, it means a very tiny two-tiered cake with his initials in sprinkles on top just for him alone to smash all over his face to try and get to the tiny quarter of a grape I will promise him in a whisper as we blow out the candle is in the center of all that nonsense.

Really, I hope he looovvveees it.

I remember being intimidated by baking a cake from scratch, after all Duncan Heinz Devil’s Food does produce a tasty multi-tiered.  I think it wasn’t until I was 20 that I actually did so, with increasingly more consistent results as time went on.  It’s actually pretty easy, although maybe not worth it (my mom’s friend makes wedding cakes for a living using the 99 cent packaged mix), there’s a certain level of satisfaction that comes along with it.  Not to mention the many interesting varieties you can make.

This birthday week, I am settling on three cakes.  First, a no-holds-barred chocolate from Alice Waters smash cake and cupcakes for Miles’ party.  Then, for the same party, a healthier version (less sugar, WW flour) of a favorite pumpkin spice cake with pumpkin cream cheese icing for those guests who don’t want to walk away with a toothache.  (That’s supposed to be a M1 in the cake, I thought I was being clever, Tim didn’t get it.  We’ll call the healthy cake ugly-cake)

We’ll subsist on leftovers from those two until Thursday, when I’ll bring to room temperature the olive oil apple cake which had been aged in the fridge 3 days, made with exactly 360g of chopped apple, and frost it with maple cream cheese muscovado sugar icing.  Ottolenghi, it better be good.

May the eating begin.