Cakes / Cupcakes / Brownies Desserts Holidays / Birthdays Miscellaneous

pandan chiffon cake — a 10 year old’s birthday

decade baby ::::

Ah, dear girl. You are ten.

Though we celebrated with an early party a rainy weekend before, visiting an animal shelter and the always-asked for pandan chiffon cake (the only difference this year is how I frosted it) with a group of 4th and 5th grader girls, Peach’s birthday fell during the time I am attending a national meeting for work (#PMRIsMoreThan #PhysiatryDay). Being gone for her birthday with colleagues from my past have made her birthday all the more nostalgic this year.

They remember or heard stories about when I went into labor while rounding on patients on morning. I was in denial when it occurred to me that I was going to have a baby that day, earlier than we expected at 35 weeks. I couldn’t leave: I had patients to see, patients to discharge, prescriptions to write, ACGME requirements to complete, an appearance to keep up. I’d be back at the end of the day, I illogically reasoned. No, I wasn’t an exhausted pregnant woman with swollen legs. No, I didn’t feel panicked having no diapers or no crib. No, my husband wasn’t on call that day. No, my back pain didn’t mean anything. I was excited about my first baby arriving, which wasn’t now. It couldn’t be now.

Oh, but it was all of this.

I stoically yet anxiously walked right next door to the hospital (“How did you get here so fast?” “I work next door, really. Down the hallway and out the window, I can see my patient’s room where my water broke.”) Admitted, pitocined (God Almighty), and some wicked tetanic contractions later, Peach arrived by emergent C-section, pink and crying, all five pounds of her.

I don’t remember ever being so tired. I woke up, my brain, my heart, with your sneeze. It all dawned on me that yes, there is a person my arms, when you sneezed. It was a tiny, mouse-like sound. But it was all you.

You continue to grow in to a person with opinions. You love to get your nails done at a salon, the nail techs focused on each cuticle and jagged nail edge. The swipe of color and dainty polka dot flower mosaics decorate each fingernail. “Mommy,” you say with an eye roll when you insist we go to the salon. “You don’t do it right.” You flit from friend to friend, rollercoasting with boy and pet talk. You snuggle the cat and he is the most willing with only you and not anyone else in the family. You insist on doing things your own way, which is good. Sometimes. You are creative. When the cupcake frosting doesn’t turn out the way you see in the photo when you’ve used three of the five ingredients, you are beside yourself.

I wrote about my imperfect offering last year and the whispers held in a ziggurat on two of your other birthdays. Today, this is my simple reflection on a familiar tang and your burst of arriving in this world, Peach. Keep being curious and remember how you started, a firecracker. You are all you. I love you.


Recipe, once again, is a repeat of our family favorite pandan chiffon cake, save for the frosting pattern. I used a #1M tip here. I decorated with whipped cream frosting (recipe also in the pandan cake link above) without any additions to help consistency (like marshmallow cream or cornstarch). I chilled the frosting in the bowl or piping bag as it warmed to make sure it help its shape when piped on the cake. This pattern looks fancy but is really easy to do. No special twist of the wrist or know-how. Just pipe designs closely together and approach the cake at a 90 degree angle.

One year ago: kitty sugar cookies (for Peach’s ninth birthday)

Two years ago: painter’s palette cookies (for Peach’s eighth birthday)

Three years ago: coconut cream puff birthday (for Peach’s seventh birthday)

Four years ago: black cocoa cookie-coffee-almond ice cream sandwichessalted pumpkin and pepita caramelsstrawberry cream cheese frosting (for Peach’s sixth birthday)

Five years ago: rainbow brown sugar cupcakes (for Peach’s fifth birthday),  apricot oatcakes

Six years ago: revelatory caramel cake (for Peach’s fourth birthday), lemon cupcakes with lemon cream cheese frosting (also for Peach’s fourth birthday),  sgroppino al limone.

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