Friday, March 25, 2005

*** From Me to Myself ***

Here’s a little something from me to myself to cope with this crisis of getting one year older ; )

My homemade Birthday Cake

I spent all afternoon yesterday making this special cake. To rationalize the time and effort I was going to spend on it, the cake had to be really special, the one and only cake on the face of the earth. So I decided to do everything I had always wanted:
1. Making a square-shaped cake. Japanese birthday cakes are usually round, but I miss the kind of cakes I had in the U.S….
2. Writing “Happy Birthday ” on a cake. It sounds like something you can do anytime, but actually, I haven’t done it before.
3. Using “sugared violet” for garnishing a cake. I saw “sugard violet ” in a baking book when I was a kid and got charmed by it. It just sounded so romantic!

In order to give a little extra flavor to the cake, I added a little grated orange rind and orange juice when making the cake batter. I used “Kiyomi” orange, which is said to be the hybrid of tangerine and trovita oranges. To be perfectly honest, it made the cake a little heavy, but I loved the orange flavor!

It was really a big challenge for me, but I did slice the cake in half and sandwiched whipped cream and flesh of Kiyomi orange.

Now I have to confess that I’m not good at handling cream at all. It always takes so long for me to whip cream, even though I use a lot of ice cubes to cool it while whipping, and I get tired. Especially this time, the orange-colored one was runny no matter how hard I whipped, probably because of the tiny amount of water I added to dissolve the food coloring powder and orange curacao?

Anyway, I’m not going to tell you how long it took for me to decorate this cake, but finally!! I managed to smooth the surface and wrote “Happy Birthday” on it. When I put the sugared violet on the cream, I had a great feeling of accomplishment. It did NOT turn out exactly as I had dreamed of, but at least I tried out everything I had been dreaming of. It is nice to know that someone (even it was myself) spent so much time and effort for my birthday, after all.

A Big Piece for myself, of course.

So this is my XXth birthday, folks.
Looks like I love trying something new and/or different, and it’s not going to change no matter how old I get ;)

BTW, I tasted the sugared violet for the first time in my life, and it’s amazing! I expected it to be just sugar-sweet with no particular flavor, but it does have very distinctive flavor!! I wonder if the flavor was artificially added… or is it something that naturally comes from the violet??? Hmmmmm…. I love it! It tastes so good with nice black tea.


Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday .. Obachan!! and many happy returns of the day..!!

Posted by MrsT

Anonymous said...

Have a blessed birthday to you!! Many happy returns ... 

Posted by fashionasia

Anonymous said...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY OBACHAN! I hope you have many more, and may each one be better than the last! That cake looks really yummy, and i love oranged flavored cakes.**drool** I am seriously wanting cake now...
Im planning to make a chocolate orange cake for my dad this year. I hope it turns out half as good as your sounds! mmmmm! :D

Happybirthday and many happy returns!  

Posted by milgwimper

Anonymous said...

Happy birthday! Your cake looks beautiful, I wouldn't have a clue how to make something like that! 

Posted by Robyn

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday Obachan!

Your cake looks fantastic. No cake tastes better than homemade cake, even more so if you made it yourself! 

Posted by AugustusGloop

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday! How does it feel to get younger every year? ;-) 

Posted by Jonny Angel

Anonymous said...

A Big, Wonderful Happy Birthday to you! it's not crisis getting older if it means having the wisdom and adventurous spirit to make cakes like this! I enjoyed reading the process. Orange cake & tea always make me drool. I wonder if the same can be done with grapefruit (have a basket of them to rid of...)

Anyway, March Babies are Go! 

Posted by alfie

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday! That cake looks wonderful and delicious, thanks for sharing your birthday with us! 

Posted by Amanda

Anonymous said...

Happy birthday! I enjoy reading your blog :) 

Posted by Mia aka The Skinny Epicurean

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday! You did a really good job with the cake :) 

Posted by Mia aka The Skinny Epicurean

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday! The cake looks beautiful.  

Posted by Jennifer

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday to you, obachan! Here's wishing you good health and happiness. :) That'a a fabulous-looking cake. It must have been delicious too. 

Posted by Julia

Anonymous said...

mmmm, that looks delicious! happy birthday obachan!

have you ever had violet candies? i forget what they are called around here (new york) but you can get them at all the deli. i wonder if they taste the same as sugared violets. 

Posted by gleek

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday, Obachan! Your cake looks oishii. I hope you had a very fun birthday. 

Posted by Mariko

Anonymous said...


Posted by keona

Anonymous said...


Tanjobi ometedoo gozaimasu!

Kei-ki wa totemo kireii desu! Joozu desu, ne!


Posted by Anonymous

Anonymous said...

Oh, thank you, everyone!! :D You guys made my birthday such a wonderful and memorable one this year. I really mean it!

> MrsT --- I had a nice birthday, but I had to work at Izakaya Friday night, so didn’t have much fun that night. More fun is expected on this Sat. and Sun!

> fashionasia --- Thank you for your nice birthday wish.

> milgwimper --- Thanks. Good luck with your chocolate and orange cake! I’m sure your Dad will love it : )

> Robyn --- Thanks. Making that cake took a long time, but I enjoyed it, after all.

> AugustusGloop --- It’s true. I mean, my cake wasn’t as perfect as store-bought cakes made by professionals, but it was “special.”

> alfie --- Thank you for the positive image of my birthday. Hmmmm… grapefruit cake. There seem to be many grapefruit cake recipes on the net and I really wonder what they’d taste like…

> Amanda --- Thank you for making my birthday even more cheerful!

> Mia --- Oh I’m so happy to hear that someone enjoys reading my blog. It makes me keep going ; )

> Jennifer --- Thanks. I’m glad that I made it.

> Julia --- Thank you. Actually the taste was so-so, not really great. But the cake was something “special” to me.

> gleek --- No, I have never tried violet candies. What do they taste like?

> Mariko --- Thanks. The real fun part is coming tonight ;)

> keona --- Thank you. So nice to have blog friends all over the world to celebrate my birthday together! 

Posted by obachan

Anonymous said...


Posted by chika

Anonymous said...

> Natasha --- Arigato gozaimasu! Totemo ureshii desu.

> chika --- ありがとうございます。誕生日が春だと、本当にそこから新しいサイクルが始まる感じがして、なんとなくスタートの気分になってます。これからもよろしく。 

Posted by obachan

Anonymous said...

Obachan, I am a bit late but a very happy birthday. Such a nice cake and a nice icing work (I love the writing in the colour of persimmon). Many happy returns to you. 

Posted by OsloFoodie

Anonymous said...

Obachan, I hope I'm not too late in wishing you a happy birthday! I really enjoy your blog as it's actually inspired me to create dishes on my own (as opposed to eating things out of tins). Thank you :) 

Posted by Kiley

Anonymous said...

Tanjobi Omedeto Gozaimasu, Happy Birthday and Feliz Cumpleanos, Obachanita!! The cake looks wonderful. 

Posted by Sarah

Anonymous said...

> OsloFoodie --- Thanks a lot. It (writing “happy birthday” on a cake) was my first experience, and I forgot to breathe while doing so : )

> Kiley --- Oh, I’m glad to hear that my blog was inspiring to someone. I do eat out a lot, though…I just don’t blog about it because I’m too shy to take photos in restaurants… ;P

> Sarah --- Arigato gozaimasu!! “Obachanita” sounds great! I love it! :D 

Posted by obachan

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday to you Obachan! Your cake looks amazing.  

Posted by umami

Anonymous said...

Belated Happy Birthday dear obachan!! sorry for my late greeting, was busy for the past 2 days. That was a lovely cake u made for yourself, like the orange colour cream. Hey, have you finished eating all of them? :P  

Posted by fish fish

Anonymous said...

So sorry to have missed your birthday. You are much better at celebrating yourself than I am. I bought some brownies and my son ate more than half of them. ;) So, now you have all these good wishes from all over the world. How wonderful is that? Happy belated birthday from me, too. 

Posted by Annie

Anonymous said...

hi obachan! i don't know how i missed your birthday; i suppose it was because i was participating in your is my tamagoyaki burning? event :-D happiest of birthdays to you and all the best wishes. 

Posted by santos.

Anonymous said...

gomene obachan, for being late. But here's my birthday greeting from down under:
o tanjobi omedetou gozaimasu~~

Posted by pinkcocoa

Anonymous said...

Hi Obachan,

お誕生日おめでとうございます! Sorry my birthday wish is a bit late. Hoep you enjoyed your day! 

Posted by Reid

Anonymous said...

> umami --- Thanks! I feel so rewarded :D Honestly.

> fish fish --- Oh, no need for an apology. Yep, I ate half of my cake on my birthday and the rest on the next day. BTW, a friend of mine took me to Karaoke to celebrate my birthday, and now I have BIG ECHO’s members card with Kitty-chan on it…. ;P

> Annie --- No problem. Yeah, the birthday wishes from all over the world are such special and wonderful birthday gifts. What a privilege of being a blogger! Right? ;)

> santos --- I just visited your tamagoyaki-related event. You are brilliant! And thanks for the birthday wish.

> pinkcocoa --- Arigato gozaimasu for your nice birthday wish : ) Sending you a *BIG hug*…

> Reid --- ありがとうございます! Yep, I enjoyed my birthday. These international birthday wishes made my birthday in 2005 so special! :D 

Posted by obachan

Anonymous said...

Obachan - belated happy birthday!! Hope you had a wonderful time with your beautiful cake! 素晴らしい1年になりますように。 

Posted by keiko

Anonymous said...

ありがとうございます。Yep, I had a wonderful Karaoke night to celebrate my birthday ;) 

Posted by obachan

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday Obachan! I've been busy and haven't been reading your blog as often but it's nice to see you've been busy blogging, cooking & eating! Take care and many happy returns! 

Posted by spottiswoode

Anonymous said...

Happy Belated Birthday!

Just wanted to suggest you put down that whisk and buy a hand mixer! They're not so expensive, maybe 2000 yen maximum, and your arm will never be tired from whipping again. I've only seen electric ones here in Japan, but my mom has an old-fashioned crank one that we use sometimes in the States.  

Posted by Malia

Anonymous said...

> spottiswoode --- Thank you so much. Hey no apologies : ) I’m just happy that you remember my blog and come to take a look when you have time. Like all other kind readers, you made my birthday very special.

> Malia --- Thanks Malia. Actually I do use an electric hand mixer and still I feel it’s always taking so long. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that I bought it for 980 yen or it’s just me… I guess I have a short temper, to be perfectly honest, so maybe whipping cream is just taking as long as it should take but I just can’t wait ;P 

Posted by obachan