baby’s three

We recently celebrated Luca’s 3rd (already?!) birthday. My brother-in-law’s birthday is the following day, so the boys were able to mark their special days together. Luca just loves his uncle and I think finds it very special to be able to share his birthday with him. It was a lovely little party, with just the grandparents and us in attendance. Lu had a great day, and I was so happy to see him having fun.

 
This little guy has changed my life in so many ways. He is loving, feisty, smart, funny, stubborn (have no idea where he gets that), challenging and delightful. I am having to learn how to be a mama all over again, but hopefully the experiences only he can give me will make me a better person and more versatile in my parenting skills! I can’t imagine my life without this sweet little man in it.

Oh, and since I always have to bring it back to the subject of food, this birthday cake was amazing. It’s a chocolate layer cake with strawberry filling, made vegan and free of gluten refined sugar (I did, however, use confectioners’ sugar in the frosting). I neglected to photograph it after it had been cut, so I’m not posting the recipe just yet. I plan to make another one for Tracy’s birthday this weekend, so that post will be coming soon.

 

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creamy lemon cake with raspberries

Bella chose the recipe for her birthday cake from a book called 500 Cakes. Almost everything in it is off-limits for me, but it was fun to make, and seemed to be a hit with everyone at the party.

Weird, she didn’t want me to make her a dairy/gluten/sugar-free cake for her birthday…

The recipe in the book is called “spring flower cake”, because it calls for sugared flower petals to be placed on top, but B wanted raspberries instead. The recipe also specifies that two 8 inch pans be used, but I only had a 10 inch, so instead of making a two layer cake, I made 1.5x the recipe and made three layers (I reduced the baking time to 15 minutes, and the cakes came out perfect). It turned out really well this way, and made room for more filling and frosting. Yum!

INGREDIENTS

for the cake:

  • butter, 1 1/2 sticks
  • extra fine sugar, 3/4 cup
  • zest from 1 lemon
  • 3 eggs
  • self-rising flour, 1 1/4 cups

for the frosting:

  • cream cheese, 9 1/2 ounces
  • confectioners’ sugar, 1/3 cup (I used a little more here)
  • zest from 1 lemon
  • lemon curd, 3 tablespoons (I probably used a lot more here, since I had three layers. Also, lemon curd is delicious, so more is better!)
  • lemon juice, 2 tablespoons (I used a little more of this, too)

METHOD

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, grease your cake pans and line with waxed paper.
  2. Beat together the butter, sugar and lemon zest until pale and creamy, then beat in the eggs one at a time.
  3. Sift flour over the bowl and then fold in.
  4. Divide the batter between the pans and bake until risen and golden, about 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean after being inserted.
  5. Turn cakes onto a wire rack and cool completely.
  6. For the frosting, beat together the cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar, lemon zest and juice until smooth and creamy.
  7. Spread lemon curd over the top of one cake, and frosting over the bottom of another, then place the two together so that both are between the cake layers.
  8. Use the remaining frosting to cover the top and sides of the cake.
  9. Top with sugared flowers, or raspberries.

a beautiful birthday

Somehow nine years have passed since I gave birth to to sweetest, most beautiful girl in the world.

It really does seem like just a moment ago I was holding her tiny body in my arms for the very first time, those big blue eyes staring back at me, so impossibly calm and wise.

Bella has given me so much these past nine years, and I only hope I can teach her half of what she so beautifully teaches me each and every day. I am so proud to be her mama.

We had a fun weekend celebrating, first by playing miniature golf and riding go-carts at the local fun park along with two of B’s girlfriends. The next day, her birthday, we had a small family party at our house, where we served some of her favorite foods: turkey and bacon croissant sandwiches, fresh berries, cold shrimp, and lemon cream cake with raspberries.

I sewed a banner with her name on it to go along with a few other decorations, including a bouquet of wildflowers I picked in our yard.

birthday banner

birthday banner

wildflowers

wildflowers

It was a beautiful day for a beautiful girl. Happy birthday, my sweet.

Oh yeah! Stay tuned for the lemon cake recipe, which I’ll post tomorrow.