Haaaaaaaaappy Biiiiiiiirthday to…

Without trying to sound like a one woman pity party, my birthday kind of sucks sometimes.

It regularly falls within that golden trifecta of long weekend/AFL Grand Final/Royal Show, meaning that when I was growing up kids couldn’t come to my birthday party because they were going away for the holidays or going to the show. As an adult, people can’t come to my birthday because they’re sneaking off for the weekend or getting balls-wasted for the grand final and aren’t in much shape to kick on after. Luckily, my friends and family are awesome, and always make me feel 100% loved. Except for that one year where we all kind of forgot it was my birthday, and no one said anything until mid-afternoon. Not that I’m holding onto that…

The older I get, the more I try to hold on to being young. Not in a stuffing-my-face-full-of-fillers-and-botox kind of way, more of a lets-get-a-bouncy-castle-and-build-forts kind of thing. This year I convinced Jacqui from Where the Wind Blows Me and her partner S to the Swan Valley at 7am on a Sunday morning to have a crack at Stampede in the Valley – a 4km, mud filled obstacle course for those too terrified of the Tough Mudder. We got muddy, sweaty, giggly, sustained minor injuries and generally had a blast.

Just so you know I’m not making it up – that shirt was white when I started.

Which leads me to the next birthday…

Today is the first birthday of eatmeetswest! Huzzah!

I have trouble believing that it’s been a year. In some ways, it feels like I’ve been doing this forever, in others I feel like I started yesterday. I’ve made some of the best friends, gotten to participate in events I’ve only dreamed of, and eaten some seriously good food. I’ve learnt more about food, writing and myself than I could have imagined. I struggle to wrap my head around that my words have been read in almost every country, and I thank you ALL so much for doing so.

And there is nothing that makes me prouder or more excited than when someone tells me that they’ve made something I’ve posted – and it didn’t blow up spectacularly. It’s even better if they liked it. Winning.

Now, to birthday cake.

There’s only one way to go when you’re making birthday cake. None of this serious, shmancy stuff. I go all out with diabetes inducing, frivolous, sprinkle laden fun. Because that’s what birthday cake is all about!

Now, the queen of this kind of dessertry is Christina Tosi. I talked about David Chang from Momofuku a little while ago, and Christina is his dessert protege. Her book, Momofuku Milk Bar is basically a sugar induced coma to read.

Obviously, the recipes are how they make them in the shop, so this recipe looks a little complicated, but it’s really not. There’s the cake (duh) and icing. But there’s also this gorgeous crumb and a soak that goes between the layers. For simplicity sake, you can skip these if you want, but I do recommend you keep the crumb. It’s stupidly easy, and sooooo yum. I’m also choosing to ignore how they assemble the cake, just because I think it’s unnecessarily fussy. But, if you want to go full Christina, you can follow the instructions here.

Oh, and one more thing, the recipe is really American. You can get glucose syrup at the supermarket, but corn syrup is trickier to get. I’ve seen it in baking shops, the David Jones food court, specialty shops. I substituted with honey, just use a smidge less. If you don’t have grapeseed oil, use vegetable (but not olive oil).

So, to say thank you beyond words for stopping by, I’d like to give you something!
A) the recipe for the most fun birthday cake IN THE WORLD (please see below)
B) The chance to win a copy of Jamie Oliver’s new book, 15 Minute Meals, which is excellent. See the bottom of the post for how to enter!

Momofuku Milk Bar Birthday Cake

From Momofuku Milk Bar by Christina Tosi

Birthday cake crumbs
100 grams granulated sugar
25 grams light brown sugar
90 grams cake and pastry flour
2 grams baking powder
2 grams salt
20 grams rainbow sprinkles
40 grams grapeseed oil
12 grams vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 170°C. Line a baking tray with baking paper.

Mix together the dry ingredients until evenly combined. Add the vanilla and oil until the mixture begins to clump together. You can ‘help’ this process by smushing bits together by hand.

Spread the clumps in a thin layer onto the baking tray and bake for 20 minutes. Let them cool completely.

Birthday cake
245 grams cake and pastry flour
6 grams baking powder
3 grams salt
50 grams rainbow sprinkles
115 grams unsalted butter, room temperature
250 grams granulated sugar
50 grams light brown sugar
3 large eggs
110 grams buttermilk
65 grams grapeseed oil
8 grams vanilla extract
25 grams rainbow sprinkles

Preheat the oven to 170°C . Like a cake tin with baking paper and grease.

Mix together flour, baking powder, salt and 50 grams of the sprinkles. Set aside.

Cream the butter and sugars together with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add the eggs and then mix again until completely combined. Slowly mix the buttermilk, oil and vanilla, then increase the speed and beat for a further 5 minutes, until the mix doubles in size and is fluffy. Add the dry ingredients and mix until combined.

Pour into the cake tin, and cover with remaining sprinkles. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean. Allow to cool.

Birthday cake soak
55 grams milk
4 grams vanilla extract

Combine the milk and vanilla. Set aside.

Birthday cake icing
200 grams icing sugar
2 grams salt
Pinch baking powder
Pinch citric acid
165 grams unsalted butter, room temperature
55 grams cream cheese
25 grams glucose
18 grams clear corn syrup
12 grams vanilla extract

Mix the dry ingredients together in a bowl, set aside.

With an electric mixer, cream together the butter and cream cheese until smooth and fluffy, a couple of minutes. Add the glucose, corn syrup and vanilla, beat until smooth and glossy. Mix in the dry ingredients on low speed, then up the speed and mix until fluffy.

To assemble

Cut the cake in half (or thirds if your cake is smaller but taller) lengthways. With a brush, press some the soak into the first layer of cake. Be generous. Then, spread a layer of icing. Sprinkle a handful of the crumbs over the icing, pressing them in gently. Then, another layer of icing (gently, so the crumbs don’t move. Repeat, if your cake is in thirds.

Carefully place the top later of cake on top. Ice the top with a generous layer of icing, and decorate with remaining crumbs. It helps if you put it in the fridge for a couple of hours to firm up before serving.

To win!

Tell me about your favourite birthday in the comments below – did you get the pony you always wanted? A surprise party? Too many jelly shots and your nana danced on a table? I’ll pick the best!

I’ll announce the winner next week!


Entries are now closed. Thank you for entering!


11 thoughts on “Haaaaaaaaappy Biiiiiiiirthday to…

  1. Hmmm I dunno if it was my FAVE birthday but it sticks out! I was in Germany, staying in an old castle that had been converted into a hostel… I had just turned 18 and I had snuck off into the forest with 2 Americans to drink a bottle of Jäger. We had previously sourced it from the local servo, and it was the only drink that wasn’t “old man” enough to put us off drinking it. We had to scour the town for it though, as the supermarket was shut. I also had to spell it out to the Americans, as they didn’t understand me.
    “Maybe we can check the servo for from grog?”
    “Uhh what?”
    “The servo – that’ll have something, surely”
    “Wtf is a servo? Grog?”
    “The gas station should have some alcohol…”
    “Ooooooh, why didn’t you just say that….”

  2. Rhiannon says:

    Welllllll, it’s not a birthday story for you – but I need you to know – that after reading your previous post about your clumsy day – I HAVE HAD MICHAEL F*KN BOLTON – “HOW CAN WE BE LOVERS” stuck in my head FOR OVER AN HOURRRRRRRR. And I’m going mad….I blame YOU for this.

  3. For my 21st Birthday I was on exchange studying in Canada. I had been doing a long-distance relationship with my boyfriend for six months and had only been in touch via Skype! He was in Australia and managed to organise (without me knowing) a compilation of video messages he put together by himself, of all my friends and family back home saying how much they missed and loved me. He even managed to get in contact with my Canadian housemates and they recorded video’s of how they were happy to meet me on exchange. He then compiled all the video messages (totalling over 20 minutes) and along with music and the works made a movie which he sent to me on the internet as a surprise on my 21st birthday! This was not all. Upon my return to Australia, I found he had organised 12 of our closest friends to come away with us for a holiday in Thailand. He had booked flights and arranged everyone to travel and stay together. It was the most amazing holiday with my closest friends and I could not have asked for a better 21st Birthday! Luckiest girl in the world!!! 🙂

  4. My favourite birthday would have to be my 21st. There are no funny stories but I had my own little place, there were fairy lights and candles everywhere and mostly everyone was dressed up with a mask. It was so cool & almost like a fairy tale which was just what I wanted. My friend made cupcakes with little bowties, my brother wore a bowler hat & served drinks. It was perfect.

  5. My favourite birthday was my 24th in Paris. It started in a cute little cafe in the Marais district, then A took me on a lunch cruise on the rhone. Afterwards, we climbed the Eiffel Tower (and felt so queasy doing so after a few glasses of champagne!). My birthday cake was two macaroons from Pierre Herme. Such a brilliant birthday! 🙂

    p.s. Glad you enjoyed yours and congrats on your 1st year blogging 🙂

  6. Reading your post I’m seeing my sons future parties, I just had him on September 27th so hopefully he likes AFL as I think that could be a recurring party theme!
    My favourite birthday was my 6th. I was finally allowed to get my ears pierced. I picked out some love heart earrings and sat in the chair while they loaded the gun. First ear, BANG! ARGHHHH! I screamed and screamed. Wouldn’t let them come near me for over half an hour and was happy to leave with mum. A glass of oj and a lollipop promise later they finally did the other. Certainly my most memorable birthday.
    Happy first bloggy birthday!

  7. Stacey says:

    Does it count if the best birthday celebration occurred a week before my actual birthday?? This year the boy was going to be away at work on my birthday so he had planned to take me on a trip away the weekend before to celebrate. It was going to be a surprise, until his dad gave it away, but we went to Sydney and had an awesome time. One surprise that wasn’t ruined was dinner at Quay restaurant, a glass of Bollinger, and an engagement ring as my birthday present!

  8. Prue says:

    My partner’s birthday this year, I organised a surprise birthday celebration with all his close friends. He has a really small family and they’re usually really low-key peeps. I set up for 15 of his friends (and their partners, including people I had to fb stalk to get in contact with) to meet us for breakfast at one of favourite cafes and decked our little section out (kids section painted with barney and rainbows!) with helium balloons, streamers and dinosaur parties (haha yes we are in our mid-20s but he’s never had big birthday parties). He’d just come from night shift and I dragged him out of bed; where he was grumpy and out of it. We arrived, his friends sang happy birthday really loudly and proudly; some of the other customers joined in. He was so shocked! The look on his face was priceless!!!

  9. Hazel says:

    My best birthday was on my 27th when my secret admirer took me out on a date and showered me with lavish gifts. That was the start of something amazing. We got married 2 years after…

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