We began the day with celebration – all sprinkles and glitter and colorful ribbon.
She embraced her first birthday like a well-loved toy, delighting in the noise of tissue paper wrapping and the sweet taste of maple buttercream on her French toast smash cake. Every day has been like that for her. Every day has held wonder and delight for Tyler, a little girl who laughed before she could coo.
And for her brother too, this life has been full of joyful moments. At three, Sawyer has already discovered a world with no strangers that is always made better with a dance and a smile. He deemed himself the “pastor” of his sister’s birthday, and made sure all little friends had donuts, oranges, and wide open places to play.
The adults walked through a forest created in a toddler’s imagination, and listened by flashlight glow to the homemade story of a lion cub that had the best day because he found his mommy.
And then, huddled in his bedroom, we listened to him sing. No reservation. No fear. Taking his time to look at each person as if it was just for them.
“Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so. Little ones to Him belong, they are weak but He is strong. Yes, Jesus loves me. Yes, Jesus loves me. Yes, Jesus loves me. The Bible tells me so.”
The little pastor smiled and said, “now I gonna pray.” And his words. Oh, his words.
“Dear Jesus, thank you for this WONDERFUL day, and for all your BLESSINGS…”
Earlier in the week, I had asked a friend what she thought a party for God might look like. After reading Psalm 100, I wondered just how big a celebration might need to be to honor Him – what music He would like or what type of cake would be His favorite. She laughed at me when I said,” I hope he’d like my desserts – they’re really good.”
Tyler’s birthday reminded me of what He finds most delightful – simply being with those He loves. He loves listening to our stories and hearing us sing. He laughs when we laugh. He was right there, sitting on the floor in the smash cake mess and excited to see what was in each present, and He was listening most eagerly to find out what happened to that little lion cub.
When we celebrate each other, we celebrate Him.
1-2 On your feet now—applaud God!
Bring a gift of laughter,
sing yourselves into his presence.
3 Know this: God is God, and God, God.
He made us; we didn’t make him.
We’re his people, his well-tended sheep.
4 Enter with the password: “Thank you!”
Make yourselves at home, talking praise.
Thank him. Worship him.
5 For God is sheer beauty,
all-generous in love,
loyal always and ever.
Today, take a moment to celebrate. Maybe you should make some French Toast Cupcakes or, if you want to welcome spring well, make this Vanilla-Kissed Lemon Cake filled with cream and fresh fruit.
Today – laugh, sing, pray, tell stories. Remember Whose you are. And celebrate.
Vanilla-Kissed Lemon Cake
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 cup non-fat dry milk
½ cup water
½ cup grapeseed oil
1 package instant lemon pudding
1 cup sour cream
2 t. lemon juice
1 t. vanilla
Preheat oven to 350. Mix first four ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Add pudding mix, water and oil, and sour cream and mix together until well-blended on medium speed, scraping the side of the bowl often. Add vanilla and lemon juice and blend; then add eggs, one at a time, to make sure all are incorporated well. Pour into prepared cake pans and bake until cakes are golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. For larger cakes, baking time is 25-30 minutes. For regular cupcakes, baking time is around 18 minutes. For mini-cupcakes, baking time is around 12 minutes. Makes 2 8″ or 9″ rounds, 3 6″ rounds, 24 regular cupcakes or 74 minis.
Best Buttercream Frosting Ever
1 cup salted butter (2 sticks), softened at room temperature
About 3 cups powdered sugar (cane sugar is better than beet sugar for this frosting)
2 teaspoons clear vanilla (you can find it at Michael’s or WalMart)
About 2 T.heavy whipping cream (this makes it magic)
In tall mixing bowl, cream butter and slowly add powdered sugar. Continue to beat on low speed, adding sugar, until mixture is stiff (it may start to look a bit like dough or break into pebble-sized portions). Add vanilla and cream to create a smooth, creamy consistency. Depending upon the type of sugar used and the weather outside, you may need more or less sugar and cream. It’s OK to make adjustments – just keep that mixer speed low to make the most beautiful, creamy buttercream.
Powdered sugar to garnish
To assemble: Torte cakes to that each round makes two flat discs. Place first disc on your serving platter, and pipe buttercream around the edge of the disc, then making a diagonal patter inside the circle of piping (no need to fill the entire center with frosting. With a knife, spread a little lemon curd onto the disc, marbling the frosting with the lemon curd just a little. Add slices of fresh fruit to the cream, and top with another disc. Repeat until you add the top disc to the cake. No need to frost the top layer. Decorate with fresh fruit and powdered sugar. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
What are your favorite celebration moments? And what desserts do you serve to celebrate? Share them with me – I’d love to try your recipes!