Making a homemade birthday cake is an act of love. Finding the right recipe, hoping your confection doesn’t burn or fall and decorating it all require time, energy and emotion. The stakes are even higher when it’s your child’s first birthday. When Gregorio turned one, I knew Camille Glenn’s Southern Heirloom cake wouldn’t let me down. To keep the plain yellow cake easily edible and not overly sweet, we served it with some decorative whipped cream.
This year for birthday number two we outsourced to the oldest pastry shop in Bologna Gamberini. Not that we love our son less, but a running toddler is hardly compatible with involved baking in a tiny apartment. Gamberini creates beautiful cakes that make even the dessert-indifferent lick their forks. Gregorio’s simple pan di spagna with pastry cream and kiwis was decorated with crumbled sponge cake, cape gooseberries and an edible print of a car with the festeggiato’s name.
Preference for the love put into a homemade cake or the surprise of a confection crafted at a pastry shop is totally subjective. But our empirical testing found that whipped cream is excellent for making a mess in year one and that Gregorio by year two had outgrown cake destruction.