Oh boy do I have a good one for you guys today, One of the reasons I wanted to go with more of a Custom Made approach to my business its because I Love, Love, Love making items that make you stop in your tracks to really savor the moment, whether its the look of it, or the taste that brings you back to the first time you ever had it....Those are the moments that I live for.
So of course when my friend Alex reached out to me to make a very special cake for her mom's birthday I immediately jumped in and said YES!! but before I tell you guys that story, let me give y'all a little background.
Alex and I met about 10 years ago when we worked at the same bakery, we're about the same age which made it really easy to not only get along at work but become friends.
I remember she used to make an amazing Cherry cake for her mom's birthday almost every year, it was a family recipe that she was always very protective of and with good reason, it was her Grandmothers recipe...According to Alex
"Growing up my mom and her sister each had a favorite birthday cake that their mother would make for them every year. My Aunt, a November child, had Pumpkin Chiffon Cake. My mom, born just after Valentine's Day, got a very pink, very girly, heart-shaped Maraschino Cherry Cake. She doesn't remember a birthday during her childhood without it."
when you look at the recipe you don't think much of it, I mean is a bit of a weird recipe and it has Maraschino cherries, which as a baker you don't really think of adding them to a cake which is the same response Alex's dad had (a professional baker) He "could never quite get over the addition of maraschino cherries to an otherwise "respectable" cake" according to Alex.
which I completely understand LOL.
But this cake is no ordinary cherry cake, the cake itself has a subtle almond taste, with sweet notes from the cherries and an earthy crunch from the back walnuts (a southern favorite according to Her) it's also paired with and almond vanilla buttercream frosting
"It yields a balance of sweet, bitter, nutty and floral unlike any other cake I've had."
When I tell you guys this cake is what cherry dreams are made of I mean it. one slice and you are forever hooked.
Alex now lives in CA, she moved there around 7 years ago, taking that tradition with her, that's where I come in.
"This last year has been tough on all of us with the pandemic. It's been about a year and a half since I have seen my family and I miss them more than I can express in words. My mom was gearing up to celebrate a milestone birthday, her 70th, and I wanted to do something to make her day special".
I like to call it "Operation Big Al's secret cake recipe" Alex send me a few emails with the recipe and even the link to where to order the Black walnuts since they are not commonly found, the plan was in motion, and the pressure was on... I mean this was her grandmothers recipe, her mom grew up eating this cake for every birthday and even her Dad was in on it..
"I called my dad and laid out the plan. He agreed to pick it up, and even managed to keep it a surprise from my poor unsuspecting mom who eventually was led to believe she was getting no cake that year."
I've done a lot of cakes in my career, and every time I make a cake I wonder if they are going to love it...This time was different though, I had to make sure it was perfect, I followed the recipe to a Tee, I even made it into a heart shape like Alex's grandmother used to do, I had done my part, now it was up to Alex's Dad to pull the surprise off. Alex told me
"During our virtual celebration my dad announced that he'd be putting a candle in a brownie, while my mom tried to not look too disappointed. He got up, and returned a few moments later with a very girly, very pink, heart-shaped maraschino cherry cake adorned with candles. Her reaction was a perfect blend of confusion, excitement, surprise, and just sheer joy. We explained how we managed to pull it off while she dug in for her (first) slice. She quickly gave it her seal of approval, remarked that the pale pink color was just right, and offered her sincere gratitude to the chef.
Being able to help make my mom feel special on her birthday during such a difficult time was a priceless moment that I will never forget."
*1st picture is the birthday girl and the last cake Alex made for her birthday, 2nd picture was this years virtual celebration and the last picture is the cake I made.*
Its these kind of moments that make it all worth it.
Specially when you get to help your friend celebrate a milestone birthday with her family even if it is from far away.
I'll like to thank Alex and her family for trusting me and letting me be a little part of their celebration.
Making #FOODMEMORIES is not just about making a beautiful cake, it's about that feeling that you get anytime you see it, the way the scent of it makes you feel, and how it can take you back to that first time with just one bite.
As always, Stay safe. Be kind to each other. And stay tune, You won't want to miss a thing!