I made a birthday cake last week; not for my husband or my children, but for me.
I wasn’t a fan of birthday cakes when I was little. My parents usually celebrated my birthday with pie or cookies; once we made s’mores in the fireplace.
Over the years, though, I’ve come to appreciate the steps that go into making the perfect cake. It’s a process, one that requires precise measurements and complete understanding of the instructions for the ideal outcome.
I’m 38 years old. I’m not ashamed of that number. If anything, I’m proud of it. I have been alive for 38 years.
Some of my days on this earth have been phenomenal. I brought two kids into this world. I tried skydiving, and I crossed the finish line of a half-marathon.
Other days have been quiet — binge-watching four seasons of “Modern Family” in one weekend, for example. Most of my days, however, have been filled with the little things we rarely think about, but take up most of our time.
Work. Cooking. Homework. Cleaning.
I don’t live every day to the fullest. Sometimes, I live every day just to get to my warm bed at the end, and that’s OK. One thing I’ve learned in nearly four decades is that the little things — a cup of tea, a new book, a game of “Bananagrams” with my family — can be just as amazing as the days that I jump out of planes or complete a half marathon.
Let me return to my birthday cake as an example.
In October of 2012, otherwise known as my apple-a-day challenge, I learned that bundt cake recipes should not be adapted for other baking pans.
It took several attempts for this knowledge to sink in, but now that I have it, I won’t lose it. That’s something to celebrate.
SUGAR DUSTED APPLE BUNDT CAKE
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 10-inch tube pan or bundt cake pan.
In a small bowl, mix together 2 tablespoons sugar and cinnamon, and sprinkle bottom and sides of pan.
Combine the flour, salt, baking powder and 2 cups sugar in a large bowl. Stir in the oil, eggs, orange juice and vanilla; mix well. Add apple pie filling and stir. Pour batter evenly into the prepared pan.
Bake uncovered for 1 hour. Let cool for 15 minutes. Invert onto serving plate and cool.