with green icing, a little me & Number Block 4 on top.
Definitely Biggest's most specific and adventurous cake request to date. Number Block 4 ended up looking a bit vicious, but I was quite pleased with 'little me' as I find modelling people really tricky. Beautiful, handmade cake toppers are from @Bettydreamgift and also feature in the new Bakeful Play Birthday Cake baking box.
If I say so myself, this cake was flippin' delicious. In the end it perhaps tasted more of a Bakewell tart than a jammy one, but is was close enough for jazz and, more importantly, close enough for the birthday girl!
Well, that was just about the perfect day.
You woke up at the usual time, but came in to say good morning a whole year older and seemingly a whole lot wiser and more grown up. R obliged your need for uninterrupted time with mummy and daddy by having an uncharacteristic lie in whilst we had Party Rings and tea in bed - just like I used to when I was little and stayed with my Grandma during school holidays. We opened cards then too and you listened carefully to all of the wonderful messages from the people that love you. You seemed content. Really happy in your new role as a 4 year old and my heart was full of pride for the fantastically clever and courageous little lady you are.
It has been a strange and challenging year between your last birthday this one. It astounds me how resilient and adaptable you have been. In many ways, you and your little brother have handled the Covid crisis a whole lot better than your parents and when you have voiced worry or sadness about absent friends, grandparents, museum trips and treats out you have listened to us explain it all (as best we could) and quietly; thoughtfully taken it on board without complaint. I have tried to hold you extra tight, to love you more, to make up for what is missing, to make the 'us time' count, but I know it takes a village and you are missing your tribe just as we are missing ours. Thank you for being patient with the world my darling and thank you for being patient with me when I was too shaken by it all to be patient with you.
The rest of today was spent opening presents, pancakes for breakfast, playing, party lunch with birthday cake, a magic show from daddy and a film afternoon. You were your best self. Gentle and patient with your brother, thoughtful and creative in your play and grateful for the special things we did for you. I know you really wanted a party with your friends, but you managed to handle your disappointment with grace and didn't complain once when we told you that wasn't possible. The plan was to finish the day with a sausage and mash dinner with mummy's Yorkshire puddings (your favourite) with jelly and ice cream pudding, but you crashed out on the sofa before the end of 'Tangled' and Daddy carried you to bed for a good night's sleep leaving even more fun for tomorrow. Great Grandad has bought you roller-skates and I can't wait for you to find them on the kitchen table in the morning. What fun we'll have.
It seems impossible that you will be embarking upon the great adventure of school in a few short months. I know you are going to amaze and baffle your teachers just as you do your parents, but you astound and delight us too. Every day. You are desperate to learn ballet, to play the cello, to be able to read more fluently and soak up every bit of knowledge you can get your hands on. You are relentlessly independent and fiercely opinionated. Whilst this can be challenging for us at times, it will stand you in good stead in later life my love. Never apologise for who you are. Never shrink to fit someone else's mould. You are a wonder and a marvel - I can't wait to see who you will become and I will love you for every inch of who are.
In the meantime, if time could just slow down a while so that I can squish you for longer, snuggle you close a few more thousand times, try really hard to make amends for all the times I've already dropped the ball and hold your little face perfectly in my memory before it changes once more I'd really, really like that.
Happy birthday Squishy girl. You are one in a million.
Recipe For Jam Tart Birthday Cake
For the Cake
480g self raising flour
290g self raising flour
480g caster sugar
60g Stork or softened unsalted butter
1 tsp almond extract
For the Sugar Syrup
100g caster sugar
1tsp almond extract
For the Icing & Filling
500g icing sugar
160g Stork or softened unsalted butter
5 heaped desert spoons of Biscoff spread
1 jar of good quality raspberry jam
Green paste food colouring
X3 15cm cake tins
Star shaped piping tip
15cm cake card
20cm cake drum - covered with fondant if you wish.
1. Mix together the butter and sugar until combined. Add the rest of the dry ingredients and mix until you a clumpy mixture.
2. Add the milk, almond extract and eggs. Mix until you have a smooth (ish) batter.
3. Pour the mixture into cake tins which are greased and lined with greaseproof paper, filling each 3/4 full. Bake at 180° for about 35 minutes. When done the cakes will have risen, be a pale golden colour and a knife or skewer will come out clean when you poke it through the middle. This means that there is no wet mixture on the knife. You will get a sort of steamy residue because of the heat.
4. Whilst the cakes bake make the sugar syrup. Put the water, extract and the sugar into the pan and heat gently until the sugar has dissolved completely. Pour this over the cakes when they are straight out of the oven.
5. When the cake pans have cooled just enough to handle them, pop the cakes out and cool them on a wire rack. Once cool wrap in cling film until you are ready to assemble and decorate the cake.
6. When you're ready to finish the cake, level each layer by using a bread knife or cake slice to take off the domed tops of the cakes. If using a bread knife then start slicing at the lowest point of the dome to ensure a straight cut.
7. To make the two types of icing (which you can do in advance) mix butter and icing sugar until you have a smooth butter icing. Remove half of the icing to a separate bowl. Into the mixing bowl add the biscoff spread and mix until combined. Add a spot of paste colour to the other bowl and mix until you have a smooth colour.
8. put the biscoff icing in a piping bag and cut off the end so you have a circular opening. Pipe a circle of icing around the edge of the first layer of cake. This forms a barrier for the jam, which you can now spread in the middle. Repeat on the next layer.
9. Ice the top and sides of the cake with your coloured icing and decorate as you wish. I piped stars around the top edge, added sprinkles and your cake toppers of choice.