It happens every year. July begins and I feel both hopeful and slightly terrified at once: the year is half over (yikes!), yet it’s a chance for renewal and lots of celebration. But in a blink, the lively month is at its end. The frosting splatters I find in my house remind me of the festivities I’ve been fortunate to be part of — which this year were more bustling than ever. (Stay tuned for recipes I’ve been dreaming up but haven’t had the chance to perfect yet.)
It started off with the birthday of our newest staff member at the office, whose big day coincided with his first day at work. In the whirlwind, I failed to take a full photo of his cake, but imagine this one with tart cherry juice and cherries swapped in for the blueberry elements, and with its swirly meringue edges nice and toasted. [Tip: everyone should bring a kitchen torch to work once in awhile.]
A few days later, my husband turned 40! We decided to have a tiny barbeque where I served this summery cake, frosted with a bit of lime-speckled cream cheese icing and topped with a mountain of sweet nectarines. The day seemed truly magical and left the birthday boy feeling grateful and, most of all, loved — exactly my wish for him.
Little David turned four soon after that, and while I couldn’t stay long at his picture-perfect party, I was honored to provide the cake custom made to his very specifications: chocolate cake, vanilla frosting and strawberries — with some extra chocolate cupcakes to match. And then, before I knew it, my father in law, my office mate, a few dear friends, and even yours truly had turned a year older. What a compilation of lovely lives to celebrate!
And the icing on the cake* this July was a new opportunity: a kind Campari publicist asked if I’d make my Aperol Spritz cupcakes for an exclusive SF party at the end of the month. After a quick, healthy dose of my typical what-ifs, I said yes. After all, I’d baked for big gatherings before — it’s just that I’ve usually known the hosts. This time, I only knew of the party’s hostess, and I was flattered, honored, and ready to bake!
So even though I don’t have a new recipe to share with you yet (like the iced cherry bourbon bars or sesame mango cookies I’ve been testing), I’m full of inspiration from the birthday-baking extravaganza that was my July. I hope yours was fantastic, too, and I’d love to hear about it in the comments. See you in August!