Bloganuary Day 28: Describe your perfect birthday cake.

Sonia felt spoiled for choice. The display cabinet held an impressive array of calorie-laden treats. Her eyes boggled, then scanned each shelf, cataloguing the available selection. There were meringues, tea cakes, brownies, various tarts, croissants, profiteroles, Florentines, apple cake and a variety of layered tortes. She nearly licked her lips in anticipation. Definitely a slice of one of the tortes. It was her birthday, after all. It would be nicer if she was sharing the day with family and friends, but with one thing or another, the day had seemed to slip under everyone’s radar. Perhaps she should have made more of an effort, reminded her children rather than rely on their memories or Facebook reminders of her special day.

After placing her order for a slice of the Black Forest gateau, which probably contained more sugar than she’d usually have in a month, and a long black to provide a contrast to the sweet cake, Sonia took a seat by the window. When it had become clear that her birthday was to be a non-event this year, she’d decided to take off and before she’d really thought it through, she was heading out of Sydney and along the motorway with no clear destination in mind. The urge to simply get out was strong, and following this same rather random approach, she’d taken the turn off to Berrima. She hadn’t been there for years, but recalled it had a number of nice shops and places to buy locally made lollies and jam. She could pick something up for the grandkids for the next time they came to visit.

As she waited for the coffee and cake to be served, Sonia looked out the window, watching people passing by. Quite a few were, like her, attracted by the thought of something sweet. Others were moving in and out of shops, some carrying bags of goodies. An older couple walked past with two children in tow – possibly on grandparent duty for the day. Sonia smiled, reminded of her own brood of grandkids, growing up so fast and such a pleasure to have time with them and treat them, as well as teach them. And it was true, it was different when you could hand them back, relishing in all of the love and less of the day to day responsibility.

But it reminded her too of birthdays of the past, when she had been surprised at the efforts of her children to make her day special. There had been some adult supervision of their early attempts at cake making, using simple packet mixes, but how sweet it was to have those roughly iced, strangely shaped cakes, covered in sprinkles and pierced with candles, presented with a flourish and a song. The birthday cakes had evolved over the years, as her children’s cooking abilities improved, and they also reflected different trends. One year there were cupcakes, another year it was a pyramid of profiteroles – quite impressive to look at but so sweet and rich. One of her favourites had been a very simple sponge cake, dusted with icing sugar and filled with fresh cream and raspberry jam. And the lamington cake, also featuring fresh cream, had gone down a treat, so light but with the coconut studded chocolate icing adding an element of textured sweetness.

The coffee and cake were delivered by a young woman who smiled and told Sonia to enjoy. Sonia had smiled back, her heart feeling a little lighter. There would be more cake to follow when her family realised it was her birthday, but for now she would simply enjoy the moment.

I’m participating in this blogging challenge for the month of January, which supports starting the year on the “write” track. You can find other posts with #bloganuary and join in the challenge.

Photo: display of cakes in Berrima, NSW

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