Phoebe was sick on her birthday and after her birthday party was rescheduled twice, we finally celebrated with grandparents. I had baked her cake in early May and stashed it in the freezer, so finally I could pull it out and finish it up.
It's a wacky cake (chocolate) flavored with bergamot. So when the recipe called for hot water, I used very strong decaf Earl Grey tea! I got the idea from my friend Jess.
Then I iced it with Italian meringue tinted pink, and served sour cherries on the side; I got the idea for the cherries from Moosewood - Mollie Katzen calls them Danish cherries, but most of us would call them cherry pie filling. I decorated the cake with mint leaves and candied cherries (I have them to use in Grandma's Christmas bread), and I do think the effect was more Christmassy than I intended.
I used my frozen sour cherries that the girls and I picked at an orchard last year. The whole combination was so delicious. I've been on a kick this year to use fruit in interesting ways for desserts. Typically, I think I would have served ice cream with this cake. No one missed it here.
Phoebe loved her cake, loved her party, was just a total birthday champ from beginning to end. She was fascinated by "the number on my cake." She actually tried to eat it in the happy chaos after she blew it out and I was cutting the cake. And now one of her conversation starters is "the number on my cake" and "it's wax, and we don't eat wax."
I'm glad we waited until she could fully participate and appreciate her birthday. She's a kid now, not my baby - I have such mixed feelings about this passage of time.