Happy third birthday, W. I’ll fast-forward to the punchline: Lou ate the cake. Or rather W fed it to him, which is understandable; he was just trying to share.
It was a blueberry-buckwheat Bundt cake; I had stumbled upon a recipe for pancakes in cake form on Orangette, and since W is such a huge fan of pancakes and most of his party guests were under 4, it seemed like a good pick. (As a bonus, this cake actually improves after sitting for a day or two, which makes it perfect for events for which you do not want to be baking a cake the morning of.)
So I baked it yesterday, thinking that pumpkin ice cream might not make a bad pairing (a recipe I had to test anyway), and within an hour discovered it half eaten on the kitchen counter. I tried a chunk of it that hadn’t been tainted by dog lick, and it was pretty good, if not a little dense, plain and generally more appropriate for breakfast than a party. Mike was ecstatic, though, that I had to make another one and that it was chocolate. (He was seriously disappointed upon discovering that the birthday cake was to be blueberry-buckwheat; it was as if I was scarring W for life by making something too tweedy. I suddenly reminded myself of my parents feeding me ultra-grainy Bio bread – I actually asked for Wonder Bread for my birthday one year – and the neighbours down the street who I thought were weird because they ate only whole wheat spaghetti.)
So since I needed to re-test the chocolate zucchini cake anyway, I made one. And in the end I was kind of glad that Lou got his cake – the chocolate-zucchini was far better than the pancake-cake and everyone seemed to love it (or said they did) – I suspect that had I served the buckwheat cake they would have only complimented it to be polite. I put clouds of streaky blue icing on top (make any white buttercream frosting streaky by dropping in some food colouring but not stirring it completely in) and sat a 3 candle (found at a garage sale for 10 cents last summer and can’t believe I still have it) and a plastic Iron Giant on top. I’m sure next year the entire cake will have to be a robot or dinosaur or – please no – a Doodlebop.
We had a small(ish) third birthday party this afternoon, but we ate a lot and didn’t stop grazing until close to dinnertime, so lunch turned into dinner. (Why is there not a lunch-dinner equivalent to brunch? Linner? Lunner? Dinch?) W’s third birthday party menu included multicoloured baby carrots (my friend Sue brought me from BC) with a bright pink fresh raspberry-poppyseed dressing I picked up at Sunterra because it was so pretty I thought the kids might like it, bison hot dogs (you can get them from Valta Bison), cold soba noodles with broccoli and peanut sauce, roasted potato salad, watermelon, feta and mint salad and the aforementioned cake and ice cream.
The raspberry vinaigrette was thicker than your average vinaigrette due to the fresh raspberries, which were pureed. Seems simple enough to make – the ingredients: fresh raspberries, raspberry vinegar, sugar, poppyseeds, canolive oil (which I suspect is a blend of canola and olive) salt and pepper.
I’m seeing watermelon salads everywhere this summer – I first tried it at my sister’s last year and thought the combination completely earth-shattering, having not really done much with watermelon besides eat it and whiz it into lemonade. Hers was merely cubed watermelon and crumbled feta, drizzled with balsamic vinegar. I added some chopped mint from the garden and a bit of oil (didn’t combine them, just drizzled with canola oil, then vinegar), and black pepper. It couldn’t be easier. You do have to serve it right away though, because the watermelon quickly loses its juice and goes kind of spongy.