I think birthdays, whatever age they happen to usher in, warrant a celebration of some sort. Whether you’re turning 11 or 81, the day deserves recognition, a distinction to divide one year from the next, even if you feel no different waking up that morning. There will always be those people who ask “how do you feel now that you’re 13?” or 21? or 25? Those are all milestone years in growing up, marking additional privileges (that is, if, at 25, you consider being able to rent a car a privilege). I never felt any particular change with each passing year, even the big ones- at least not like I’d imagined I would feel when I was, say, 8 years old.
I bring up the topic of birthdays not because mine is coming up, but because we just celebrated my mom’s big day. We had a small get-together for her, somewhat belated but still a surprise. I love surprising people, and also love being on the other side, having something planned without my knowing about it. Anyway, I made her a little cake- chocolate with chocolate frosting and bananas and raspberries on top.
There are some factors to consider in making a cake (or anything, really) for a group of people: a) making something you think the majority of those attending will like and b) making something you think the majority of those attending can eat. The cake I made happened to be a gluten-free chocolate cake from a mix I found on the pantry shelf. (Is it wrong to use a batter my mom bought to make her birthday cake? To my defense, it had been sitting there for at least a few months, if not longer.) So there was no wheat. But then it called for gluten-free vanilla, which I didn’t have. So the cake had some small percentage of gluten contained in its 1 teaspoon worth of vanilla. The frosting was another issue, as Whole Foods had only one choice (why is that when it is supposedly the third largest on the entire East coast?), and contained all-natural ingredients, but was not gluten-free.
So do I label the part-gluten-free cake as such? Or just leave it, and assume people with concerns will ask? I went with the latter, and no one asked. It tasted great, and the night was a success. My mom was thrilled, and I’d say she brought in her next year in a style of someone at least 20 years younger.