June and July are busy months amongst our family and friends as there is not a week that doesn’t go by that we haven’t had at least one or more birthdays; and it has been a month of endless parties, BBqs and gift buying! Actually I think I have done quite well and would consider myself quite the party organiser.
So it was I who recently organised a surprise 60thparty for a friend and work colleague who we call ‘Mother Superior’ so you can imagine how hard it was to keep a secret from her! I had a headache for over a week with all the stress of constantly looking over my shoulder at work avoiding her and being an expert in changing the topic of conversation at the slight hint of her arrival. Hiding the party from Mother Superior was the hardest part, as I would normally go to her to ‘off-load’ my problems within the ‘inner sanctum’ and know that it would go no further. Lying to her was unbearable and I was so closed to spilling the beans many times! It honestly made me ill and I know for sure that I will never be able to hold a lie like it again! I’d make a rubbish spy!
However, when it came to the day of the party I made sure everyone had arrived at our house, food prepared, balloons blown-up, bunting in place and the secret ‘horn honk’ to signal our arrival before heading off for the special guest. Mother Superior still had no idea what was planned. We actually share the same birthday and each year we head off for lunch so she assumed that we were doing the same thing as normal. I pretended to lean on the horn to signal I made some excuse of dropping off the car at home before we headed out and said just nip upstairs to get my things. Everyone was silently gathered in the kitchen and turning into the kitchen I was just as shocked as I hadn’t realised how many people had made the effort to come! All the stress and hiding had been worth it though just to see her face and the utter joy that we had planned it all. It was an absolutely wonderful evening and everyone agreed it was the best present for her.
Birthdays are all about making memories and know that we made a special memory that day which will stay with us for a very long time.
So here is a simple but tasty birthday cake to make for someone special.
- 200g caster sugar
- 200g softened butter
- 4 eggs , beaten
- 200g self-raising flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 2 tbsp milk
- Icing sugar for dusting
For the filling
- Good-quality strawberry or raspberry jam
- 300ml/10½ floz double cream, lightly whipped
- Vanilla essence
- Heat oven to 190C/fan 170C/gas 5.
- Butter two 20cm sandwich tins and line with non-stick baking paper.
- In a large bowl, beat all the cake ingredients together until you have a smooth, soft batter.
- Divide the mixture between the tins, smooth the surface with a spatula or the back of a spoon, then bake for about 20 mins until golden and the cake springs back when pressed.
- Turn onto a cooling rack and leave to cool completely.
- To make the filling, add the essence to the cream.
- Spread the cream over the bottom of one of the sponges, and jam on the other. Place one on top of the other.
- Dust with a little icing sugar before serving.
- Keep in an airtight container and eat within 2 days.