Not quite... (Birthday Cake)

Alas, today is the day I try very hard to pretend doesn't exist each year.

It's not a landmark year - it's only 39.

But it has been a landmark decade.

In my 20's, I lost myself.

Most of my 30's were spent trying to find what I had lost.

The year I turned 30, I became single again; it was flat-out the hardest year of my life.

In my 30's, I learned that you can start over.

I discovered that you can build a new life with not much more than the clothes on your back.

Realizing that with the support of those closest to you, it doesn't really matter what else you leave behind.

Having the courage to find love again. 

Looking back and realizing that you came out a whole lot stronger and hopefully somewhat wiser.

Going into the decade with children; ending the decade knowing that those two young girls are now women.

Most importantly, in my 30's, I learned the value in being able to make a really good cake from scratch...

How else are you supposed to celebrate life's grandest moments?
There can be no celebration without cake.
So, on this day, I will cut myself a big piece of cake and be thankful.
For the good and the bad.
The happy and sad.
For family and friends.
And cake.
Let's talk cake.

I normally don't make myself a cake - after all, I spend a lot of time in heavy denial. But somehow, this year, it seemed the thing to do.

It's been an over the top year. And an over the top year, begs for an over the top cake.

I found my particular brand of insanity in Momofuku Milk Bar's Birthday Cake. The combination of four separate components and a scavenger hunt to procure ingredients and equipment was the perfect crescendo to my cake madness.

A "from scratch" cake made to imitate a cake from a box. It was like coming full circle - because when I entered my 30's, the cake & frosting WOULD have come from a box.

Oh, the difference a decade makes.

P.S. If you are interested in the recipe for this dessert, I followed the recipe as written (almost) in Momofuku Milk Bar, but a rendition of it can be found here.


  1. Happy Birthday!! I'm glad it's been a good decade!

  2. Happy Birthday my friend - a beautiful and very tasty refelctie post :D


  3. Happy birthday Cher!!!
    I love the cake. I've seen it in the book and wondered if it would taste as good as it looked?
    I bet the 40's will totally rock!!!

  4. That's a crazy looking cake! I love it! Happy happy birthday, Cher! I have to admit, these days, I always feel a little cheated in the birthday cake department. My husband's birthday is two days before mine, so if I bake him the cake he wants, I rarely feel like baking myself a cake two days later, when there's still most of a cake in the fridge. Not to mention the fact that he doesn't even LIKE cake much and gives me no direction. That's it--this year, I'm baking MY birthday cake for HIS birthday. lol

  5. Happy Birthday! And cheers to a great decade full of life! (That cake looks fun, by the way.)

  6. Happy birthday! And what a rich cake. :)

  7. Happy birthday! So glad to hear the decade is turning out to be a good one. This cake looks like it was worth the scavenger hunt. Shall I make it for my milestone birthday in a couple weeks? It's calling me.

  8. Happy Birthday Kiddo!

    Big Bro.

  9. Happy Birthday Cher! I wish you continued happiness!

  10. Happy Birthday, Cher! That's a spectacular cake to celebrate your last year of the thirties.

  11. Happy Birthday, Cher! Many more in the future!

  12. Happy Birthday, Cher! I can't believe you made a Momofuko ... anything. Kudos! You don't have to dread birthdays ... this one can be the first of many "39's" to come. :) (But honestly, the 40's are good. I look at the super young twenty somethings they hire at work, and listen to their litany of personal problems, their insecure false bravado, and think, crap, I'll take the why-is-my-[insert random body part] hurting-today aches and pains of the 40's over the ungrounded, sometimes careless, winging it of the 20's, any day. Any day at all.)

  13. Cher! In my heart--I knew there had to be some Virgo in you! Yay for Virgo! Yay for cake! Happy B-day!

  14. Wishing you every happiness, Cher! I didn't know our birthdays were so close! Of course, I'm SO much older than you!

    Beautiful cake!

  15. Happy, Happy Birthday, Cher!! Wishing you all good things in the coming year! Love your cake…beautiful!!

  16. Happy Birthday, Cher, from all of us here!!! Wishing you all the very best, health and happiness and lots of wonderful, delicious cake! This Birthday Cake of yours looks outstanding - I adore the Momofuku Milk Bar recipes - they are just a little bit crazy (and a lot of work)!

    "Herzlichen Glückwunsch!"

  17. Happy Birthday Cher! What a coincidence that we both have been reflecting on birthdays this week. You are absolutely correct that you accomplished a lot in your 30s. I think as long as we know that over the last 365 days, we have change and become a better person and made a positive difference in other people's lives, it is another year well-lived. Be proud of all that you've done and wear the +1 in the age number like the medal that it is!

    Birthday is a big deal and successfully making that very complicated cake is more than just icing on the cake!

  18. Happy birthday!!! Looks like a tasty treat!!

  19. Happy birthday!!! Looks like a tasty treat!!

  20. Happy, happy, happy birthday Cher! You have such a wonderful way of expressing yourseld and this post reflects that. I´m so glad I get to share this food passion with you. The cake looks magnificent!

  21. I think I could eat that cake for breakfast, lunch and dinner. probably did. Yeah, the 30s are rock and roll and curve and swerve years ------ isn't it nice to know you're normal? Although you'll always be raising your girls (believe me that is a true statement), your 40s will smooth out (I promise) and be really, really good ones. Just enjoy it all. Happy Birthday, Bon Anniversaire and Keep On Truckin' (thot that was appropriate).

  22. Happy belated birthday! your cake looks lovely, even if you had to make it for yourself :)

  23. Happy belated birthday Cher! The cake looks amazing and hopefully it helped ease you into your next year.


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