Anika's birthday cake this year followed suit with cakes from previous years - delicate flowers, bright berries, and buttercream icing. Her first birthday cake was a magnificent tiered cake filled with raspberry jam and topped with a fresh rose, made by a dear friend; for her second birthday I made a cake in the shape of a kite in celebration of one of her favourite movies at the time, "Mary Poppins." Her third birthday cake was an ode to pretty ballerinas and her fourth birthday was a magical mermaid cake. Last year was the first year we couldn't have a birthday party due to COVID, so we made up for it with a cake decorated with fancy piping, and sugared purple and yellow pansies.
This year, I made my signature Orange Blossom & Cardamom Butter Cake with Rose Water Icing, featured in this month's (July) issue of Food & Wine magazine. This really is a delicious cake with a beautiful and delicate blend of essences and flavours: ground cardamom, warm vanilla bean, delicate orange blossom and romantic rose essence.
The recipe uses both pure orange blossom essence and orange zest. I recommend blood orange for the zest, if you are able to find blood oranges at your local grocery, and I added a bit of the zest to the buttercream icing as well, which really brightened up the flavour. In my original recipe, I use a home made red currant jam for filling the three tiers of cake, but in the midst of a an unprecedented heatwave, I spared myself of this one detail and used Bonne Mama's Red Currant Jelly, which was just as good if not better. The bright taste of red currant is a perfect compliment to the cardamom, vanilla, citrus and rose essence.
It's a pretty sophisticated cake for a 6th birthday, but the kids truly loved this cake. For the recipe, head over to Food & Wine.com or pick up a copy of the July issue of the magazine at your local book store.
If you have a favourite, or go-to birthday cake recipe please share in the comments below.