You Are One
WARNING: this post is a sentimental baby post, but you can skip to the end for some birthday cake!
J is one.
These are the things I want to remember when I think back on this time:
Saturday she ran up a ramp for the first time without falling - until now I had no idea that was a skill.
She laughs in anticipation when I get close to her bare toes because she knows I can’t resist them and that it’s probably going to tickle.
She likes to pull heavy things out of the dishwasher and pass them to me so that I can put them away and when I say thank you, she responds “doo doo,” in a thoughtful voice. Her dad is so proud when she calls him dada and pretends not to notice that she calls everyone else that too.
Her favorite game is
standing up in the bath like it’s time to get out and then falling back down laughing when I reach for her, which probably isn’t the safest game, but I think it suggests a budding sense of humor.
I have never been a baby person, though she was sweet, sweet, sweet.
But I love a toddler, and that is what she officially became this week!
She is one – and she plays big girl games
Eats grown-up food
And wears old lady shoes.
Things I've learned about my parenting this month:
1. I will let her eat as much sugary buttercream as she likes on her special day, and will not take it away even though my internal voice and everyone else’s external voices are saying “I think that’s enough”
2. When I have to decide between the super-cute adidas and the orthopedic shoes the salesman recommends (because her feet are almost as wide as they are long) I will reluctantly choose the ugly shoes.
3. I didn't realize it, but I'd been avoiding giving her olives, cooked peppers and eggplant because I assumed she wouldn’t like what I don’t like. But it turns out she likes these things. While there is a little part of me that is sad we aren't on the same page here, I’m also excited by these signs that she is her own person.
OK, so on to the CAKE.
I do not come from a family where an entire cake gets sacrificed to the birthday girl for her to smoosh her grubby hands all over – we are way too considerate of the other cake-eaters, but I’ve always secretly coveted that experience.
So on J’s big day I gave her a huge red velvet cupcake decorated with a buttercream flower and let her go to town.
She ate the entire thing.
For her family party, and the official first cake, we agreed she seemed like a strawberry girl, but I also felt very strongly that if you haven’t had chocolate before your first birthday, it was very important that you get that experience before you are 1 and a day. So I decided on a chocolate cake with strawberry icing. I got the
out of the library and may be investing in it soon. Although I wanted chocolate, I chickened out on something ‘too intense’ and went with a chocolate genoise that I soaked with some kirsch simple syrup (hey, she's teething)– that part was really disappointing – chocolate cake that is not intensely chocolate is just brown air.
The strawberry whipped cream that I used for frosting, however, was out of this world.
It involved reducing the juice from frozen strawberries and then pureeing it with the defrosted berries for an intense but fresh (not cooked or jammy) flavor.
I have to say, reading the recipe I didn’t think it would work - adding a bunch of heavy puree, mixed with gelatin to the whipped cream - but it did.
It would be really amazing on top of a flourless chocolate cake (cloud cake, anyone?) or with brownies.
I’m not a huge fan of buttercream because I tend to over-frost my cakes so that they’re pretty, and buttercream is far too rich to be half an inch thick. So this was a fantastic substitute.
The Cake Bible also had instructions for peach, raspberry, etc. whipped cream, and I might invest in it just for those two pages.
I’ve been into the
cookbook for cakes this year.
Their typical size is six inches, which I've fallen in love with; it is the perfect size for a cake if you're serving 8 or fewer.
It’s totally spoiled me for other recipes – I didn’t love how wide and short this one was.
J has given up long naps for her birthday week. I'm hoping she goes back to them soon so I can get out of the kitchen and back to the sewing machine!