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This week’s obsession: Not My Birthday Cake

When I wrote that title, this brain worm came to mind: I never said she stole my money. (Read at least the first sentence from that link if you want this blog post to make sense.)

Am I writing about a cake that is NOT my birthday cake? Am I writing about a cake that is not MY birthday cake? Or perhaps am I writing about a cake that is not my BIRTHDAY cake? Or maybe, am I writing about a cake that is not my birthday CAKE?

Truth be told, this post will cover two forms of “not MY birthday cake”, if you can believe it.

For a while, y’all, I wasn’t sure that I was going to continue writing this blog. The hustle and bustle of being in a city, the hermitage caused by COVID/ by not knowing many people here, plus still not being fully unpacked yet all piled together didn’t really make me want to bake and decorate anything. I mean truthfully, who was going to eat what I make here? I’m certainly not going to eat it [all].

And really, who would even see it? I can’t have my coworkers over for a fun hangout including cake, or invite the neighbors over for my super fun Taco Tuesdays including cake, or ask my friends to join me poolside for a wild game of Cards Against Humanity including cake.

Just before that mindset because a total permanent fixture in my brain, I started a new job in my new city and met a whole new set of coworkers whose birthdays just so happen to need to be celebrated with cake in the conference room. I was spurred into action! (And now I have lots to write about!)

Being that I found out about this particular birthday about 48 hours before we would need to celebrate it (the birthday was on Sunday, but the Monday after it was Labor Day so we had to celebrate on Friday), I had to create a very simple design to fit in the time constraints. It was necessary to go big on taste, though, because this would be the first introduction of my creations to the staff (well… technically second since I brought my immediate coworkers a plate of chocolate chip cookies on my first day on the job 🍪👍🏽).

I chose to go with my trusty vanilla cake recipe and paired it with Italian buttercream #ChefsKiss and a semisweet chocolate drizzle. To add some much needed color, I created color coded towers of M&Ms™ around the base of the cake and let it ride. Easy peasy.

But in all honesty, even “simple” designs like this one require a bit of time and finesse. For example, I laid out all the M&Ms™ I had to make sure I had enough to go around the entire circumference of the cake. Then I organized them by color to ensure that I had enough to make the “towers”.

Such a satisfying photo if you like to eat your M&Ms by color!

Lastly, I placed each candy piece by hand to guarantee that the “m” symbol wasn’t visible, and that they were stacked neatly. Tip of the week: It’s small details like that which will really bring your cake design over the top. Remember this Kit-Kats™ and M&Ms™ cake I made for my birthday a few years ago? I made sure that all the Kit-Kats™ were facing the same way which gave it that next level of clean details.

Taking the extra time to address particulars like the arrangement (or hiding) of logos will make all the difference.


On to the other form of “not MY birthday cake”: This cake is what was ACTUALLY my birthday cake this year.

As Facebook likes to remind me, for the last 5 or 6 years I’ve somehow been too busy to make my birthday cake on time. This year I actually planned to make my cake on my birthday, but because of the recent cross-Pacific Ocean move coupled with COVID complications, my kitchen supplies didn’t arrive until well after my birthday 😩 Fortunately, dear friends in the city prevented me from being completely cakeless on my birthday and ordered a cake for me. Actually, they did way more than that.

✅ They invited us over for some wine and much needed socializing.

✅ They ordered an entire Southern foods feast for my birthday dinner! (We’re talking fried chicken and massive biscuits, red beans and rice, shrimp and grits, corn on the

cob, and green beans!)

✅ They flew in a cake for me from NYC. Not just any cake. A Milk Bar cake. #IYKYK

This was such an unexpected yet V.E.R.Y. welcome surprise! The chocolate cake was so moist that I almost accused them of lying about it being flown across every single time zone ✈️ (but I didn’t, because I know they wouldn’t lie about something like that!), the sprinkles were so fun and festive, and the best part was that not only did it have cookie dough balls as a topper for the cake, but the cookie dough was chopped up and spread in between each layer of chocolate cake along with some of the creamiest frosting I’ve ever experienced. What a dream!

Look at all that cookie dough in the layers!

I mean if you have to have a COVID birthday, you might as well do it with this cake.

So while it was a birthday cake that was made for me, it wasn’t one of MY cakes, which is why I designated it as not MY birthday cake. But it was mine all mine!

Happy eating, y’all!

If you tried this dessert, or any other desserts in my blog, please share my Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram posts about them and let people know what you think! Mahalo!


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