Since I don’t often get food cravings in connection to specific times or events – for instance, while turkey is nice on Thanksgiving, it’s not a must-have for me –my recent desire for birthday cake caught me by surprise.
As of this writing, my birthday is in two days. It’s not a major one – nothing ending in 0 or 5, or allowing me to vote or drink alcohol – but still, a birthday. I started the celebration early, getting together with my family 10 days beforehand (primarily so we could incorporate seeing Star Trek: Into Darkness on opening weekend), and as part of the gathering we had a picnic lunch.
Now, normally birthdays with my family include cake made by my dad, specifically black midnight chocolate cake with creamy vanilla frosting. Unfortunately, as I’ve discussed previously, I am now avoiding gluten and eggs and being better about avoiding dairy (among other things). This means that my dad’s cake doesn’t work for me.
I briefly considered making cake myself, since I have all the ingredients, but I was resistant to that idea. After all, it was my birthday, a time when I expect to be more on the receiving end than giving. On the other hand, I didn’t feel like I could ask anyone to make gluten-free vegan cake for me, since no one else in my family has done baking like that. In the end, the sort of compromise was that my aunt was kind enough to make black bean brownies for me (though with eggs). They were yummy, but I couldn’t deny the obvious: they weren’t birthday cake.
In the days since, I’ve been obsessing about cake. Have you ever experienced that, where if you really want something and don’t let yourself have it (for whatever reason), even if you have good food you still want the first thing? I quickly realized this was one of those occasions for me. I also reminded myself that much as I wanted someone to make it for me, I like baking.
Given all that, what was the point of feeling petulant about making my own cake? Had it not been my birthday, I wouldn’t have thought twice about making what I wanted.
So this weekend I treated myself. I made mini chocolate cupcakes with vanilla icing, and I’ll have plenty to share with a friend after we have dinner on my birthday itself. And if I run into this next year, I’ll remember that giving myself what I want on my birthday is one of the best gifts I can get.