I L.O.V.E. LLLLLLLLLOOOOOOVEEEEEEEEEEE my birthday. It’s the one day when I am queen and protagonist. I like to think, that for 24 hours, my chakras are perfectly aligned, I have perfect skin, my metabolism is supercharged, calories do not count, I namaslay my yoga class, my credit card pays its self, my hair is full of bounce and shine, everyone is smiling at me and being uber kind, luck is on my side, the sun shines brighter on this day, and a super titanium shield blocks me from jerks and all BS floating around the universe. May 20th is my day and for 24 hours I am allowed to do as I please, even become a narcissist.
My mother was always BIG on our birthdays and created birthday loving monsters. From the moment the clock strikes 12, it’s MY DAY. I am always giddy to see who will be the first one to “win” and wish me happy birthday at midnight. In the elaborate novela that plays in my mind, the whole world is rivaling against each other (a la Hunger Games) to see who wishes me HBD first! That’s just how narcissistic I am about my special day! #owningmycraziness #sorrynotsorry
Notwithstanding all the hoopla, I am not a fan of birthday parties. That I can totally do without. Parties are suppose to be fun, but parties require alot of work and no one likes to work on their birthday. The insane micromanaging-hostess-with-the-mostest-tyrant in me does not allow for a laissez faire party. What I am huge on is receiving birthday wishes! I love the attention bestowed on me by my loved ones. I love facebook and text messages, thoughtful presents, like smelly candles, yummy creams, kitchen gadgets, gift cards to the spa, and heartfelt written notes. I love how every year, Juan Carlos wishes me happy birthday at midnight. I love how Mirka brings me flowers arranged by her with my cafe con leche. I love how my mother-in-law sends my present with a beautiful prayer attached at 9am sharp. I love how, without fail, my Tio Turi will call and with his over-the-top personality, scream into the phone “HAPPPPPPPPYYYYYY BIRTHDAYYYYYYYYYYYY JESSIQUITAAAAAAAAAAAAA”. I love how no matter what, my first email on May 20th is ALWAYS from Judy Stein. I love how my mom sings her idiosyncratic special birthday song “Today is Your Bday”. On hands and knees, I BEG YOU TO watch this video to fully grasp the scoop of my mother’s joie de vivre. You just can’t make this stuff up.
My birthday and Christmas are my favorite days of the year. The pickle is my husband is the grinch who stole birthdays. The man could careless about his birthday, my birthday, Jesus’ birthday (he isn’t so big on Xmas either) and anyone else’s birthday. I am 100% convinced he suffers from some sort of psychological affliction not yet discovered. He gets annoyed if I tell anyone it’s his birthday (take note: January 23). For years (11 to be exact), he, ignorantly, wouldn’t make any commotion concerning my day. How horrible,tragic and grossly apathetic is that? I was too embarrassed (young and stupid) to tell him I HATED HIM on May 20th for being so blase and lukewarm.
Every cloud has a silver lining, once married and living in Dominican Republic, I realized I no longer had my birthday phalanx (mom, dad, sisters, extended family, girlfriends) to make a HUGE brouhaha for me. I was left with no other option than to take matters in my own hands. I “explained” ( I am 100% sure I lacked composure, civility, a decent decibel, and emotional intelligence) that he needed to buck up, put his birthday aloofness aside, throw on a party hat and become the leader of Jessica’s HBD Brigade every May 20th for the rest of his life.
And so he did. Since then, every year for my birthday, he gets me flowers, a cake, and several over the top presents (apparently he didn’t get the memo on smelly candles and body cream and I am not complaining nor disclosing).
Warning: My birthday is May 20, a couple weeks away and my obnoxious birthday narcissism is brewing. I have started celebrating early this year and that brings me to the purpose of this post:
When life kicks you in the a$$ and you hate everyone around, eat birthday cake. Forgive me for advocating eating your emotions, but NOTHING in this world can numb your pain like a fluffly, light, moist slice of birthday cake. Well, perhaps some vicodin chased by a glass of merlot. My favorites are Patricia Reyes’ birthday cake, Publix Vanilla Buttercream frosting cake and Edda’s Cake. In case of emergency, when none of these are readily available and you need a quick fix, I suggest you turn to my favorite alternative: Oreo Cookie Birthday Cake. Boom. Cue mic drop.
Here is my go to, fool proof, easy homemade vanilla birthday cake recipe. It’s a million times better than the boxed stuff and I promise you it’s crazy easy to make. It’s good for cupcakes too!
VANILLA BIRTHDAY CAKE
(adapted from lifelovesugar.com)
- ¾ cup salted butter, room temp (1stick +3/4 stick)*
- 1 heavy cup white sugar
- 2 egg whites
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 1 ½ cups all purpose flour or cake flour (to make cake flour: 1 cup all purpose flour, remove 2 tbsp of AP flour and add two tbsp of cornstarch. Make sure to sift.)
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ¾ cups full fat cow’s milk
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 inch springform cake pan with non stick spray.
- Sift flour, baking soda and baking powder in a medium sized bowl. Set aside.
- With paddle, beat butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy.
- Add egg whites and 1 tbsp vanilla. Beat on medium speed until the batter becomes thick.
- On medium speed, slowly add half of the dry mixture to the batter and beat until combined.
- Add half of the milk until combined.
- Continue alternating adding dry mixture and milk, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed, and beating until incorporated after each addition. The batter will be thick.
- If you want to make funfetti cake, now is the time. Fold in 4 tbsp of sprinkles. DO NOT FOLD too much because sprinkles will bleed.
- Pour batter in greased 9 in springform pan.
- Bake for 33 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. (18 minutes if making cupcakes).
- Remove cake from oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes.
- Remove cake from pan to cooling rack.
- Cool completely before frosting.
- Before all you frenzied, cut throat bakers (Chef Micaela) dive into my jugular, I know you are suppose to bake with unsalted butter, but salted butter works PERFECT in this recipe. For my Dominican housewives, I swear by Rica salted butter.
VANILLA BUTTERCREAM FROSTING
(I have had this recipe for 10 years. I do not know where it came from, but it is time tested and true. It’s a solid recipe.)
1 cup (2 sticks)unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
3 cups powdered sugar (might need additional cup)
1/4 cup COLD heavy cream
1 tbsp vanilla extract
salt, as needed
- Beat softened butter on medium speed with paddle aprox. 3 minutes until smooth and creamy. *Not necessary, but if mixing bowl is cold it’s better. I put mine in the freezer while I wait for butter to soften.
- Add powdered sugar, cold heavy cream, and vanilla extract while the mixer running.
- Increase to high speed and beat for 3 minutes.
- Add more powdered sugar if frosting is too thin or more heavy cream if mixture is too thick. Add 1/4 teaspoon salt (or more) if frosting is too sweet.
- Frost cooled cake as desired with a cold icing spatula.
*Sass it up and top with funfetti sprinkles or colorful non pareils!
What’s your go to cake recipe? I love to try out new recipes!
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