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Rethinking Birthday Cake

Debra Redalia


Traditional French petit fours are little cakes, about an inch square.

Since it was my 65th birthday last Thursday, I had the opportunity to take a look at what I wanted for a birthday cake.

Since I am now focused on wholefoods, I would have loved a wholefood birthday cake, but didn’t have time to figure out what that would be.

We had purchased a store-bought birthday cake for Larry’s birthday, but even with three other adults in the household it took us several days to eat the whole thing.

I knew I didn’t want a big cake but I wanted something that would represent “birthday cake.” Something I could put a candle on and get the two bites of pleasure, but not keep eating and eating beyond the pleasure point.

What I had in mind was a petit four. It’s a small French confection that is about two bites of cake with a smooth icing, beautifully decorated.

I thought I could just go to a patisserie and they would have petit fours, but no, they didn’t. We ended up buying a slice of cake, just because we didn’t have any more time to look. It was excellent cake with cream and raspberries, but it wasn’t what I was imagining.

After we purchased this, we decided we wanted to get a gluten-free cake and bring it home for the family. Larry’s brother is gluten-free so he always appreciates it when I bring home something he can eat. But our local Whole Foods no longer has the beautiful bakery they once did and all we had to choose from were small gluten-free cupcakes. So we bought those and arranged them on a plate with candles and everyone sang Happy Birthday and we each had two tiny cupcakes.

The next day while Larry and I were driving around and I had time to think, I imagined what would be my perfect birthday cake bite.

I remembered once making an almond flour sheet cake for a party. I frosted it and cut it into small squares and put berries on top. Something like that.

My ideal was a small square of some kind of wholefood cake (to be determined) with a mascarpone cheese and honey frosting, topped with tiny stems of fresh herb and an edible flower.

Now I’m ready with the idea for next year!