Maryam celebrated a very special 2nd birthday last week and we had a perfect party for our little ray of sunshine. It was a beautiful, albeit hot day and we had the best of times with family and friends. There was love, laughter, lots and lots of baking (both before AND during the party), fun presents, plenty of little grubby hands and of course- cake!
My inspiration for the party was a beautiful cake I saw at Sweetapolita
which I have very minimally adapted. The bright yellow was the perfect color for my very own sunshine. And the royal purple suited Papa’s princess to a tee. The day didn’t begin very well with Maryam down with a fever and a sense if deja vu hit me. The very same day last year, as we celebrated her first polka dot themed party, she had a fever too.
But she wasn’t going to let a slight temperature spoil her day. She had a busy day planned for her little friends. We began with cupcake decorating followed by something slightly healthier with fruit skewering. Our healthy intentions didn’t last very long as the fruit skewers were promptly dipped in chocolate. But a party isn’t a party without chocolate, no?
We finished off with a spot of pizza assembling before she cut the cake with a little help from Mummy and Papa. And of course, Dadu and Dadi (her grandparents). The day before, Maryam helped me in the kitchen with lots of cooking and baking for the party. We made juicy beef puff pastry rolls, fluffy pancakes,
gourmet beef burgers, Dadi’s samosas and some very special potted plant puddings.
These may look like plants but they’re not really. Maryam is known for being rather cheeky and loved fooling everyone into thinking they were potted plants This is a chocolate pudding recipe from Maryam’s Nani (my Mummy). This is our favorite pudding and we decided to jazz it up for the party to make them look like potted plants. She was feeling rather generous too and so we decided to share the recipe with all our friends as a party favor. Since Maryam knows how messy it can get in the kitchen, she graciously gave everyone an apron to keep them clean. And a spatula as well.
We had such a memorable and fun day. I wrote Maryam a letter as part of her present- a letter to tell her how much I love her, what she means to me, a letter to embarrass her when she’s a teenager but to also remind her what a joy she was as a baby, a letter to thank her for picking me and Akber as her parents and for being our sunshine.
Dearest Little Lamb
It was just two years ago that you came into our lives and I loved you more than anyone the moment I laid my eyes on you. I still remember the first time I saw you. You were a little dot on the ultrasound. And your heart was beating away like the thud of horses hooves running on a track. I have watched you grow from that little dot to a beautiful ‘little lamb.’ We always tease you that now you’re two years old, you’ve become a ‘big lamb.’ But you do know that you’ll always be Mummy’s ‘littlle lamb’ right?
In these two tears you’ve given us so many moments of joy, there is no way I can write them all down. Every day is a beautiful memory, every time we eat together is a memory, every time we build a tower together is a memory, every time I put you to sleep is a memory, everything you say is a memory. A beautiful memory. A memory to forever be cherished and never to be forgotten.
I still remember your first word- balloon. ‘Ba, ba’ you squealed as you crawled behind a red balloon that was almost twice your size. I love listening to your baby talk- when you say ‘strawbido’ and cumbala and ‘kabaat’ and ‘bibi’ and ‘dinosauce’. Words that only you and I can understand. And I miss listening to those special words as you’ve grown older and mastered your speech.
And how I can I forget the first time you walked at fourteen months. I felt like you had won the marathon as you walked between two sofas and cheered with excitement as you reached the other end. The bribe we left you on the sofa helped you waddle across. Don’t worry, I won’t tell anyone.
There are countless first times I can write about- the first time you smiled, the first time you ate real food, the first time you said ‘Mummy’, your first birthday, your first pair of shoes, your first Eid celebration, your first day at school. These firsts will never come back but their memories will forever be etched in my heart, And I know that, Inshalllah, there will be many more firsts to come.
I love you little lamb and thanks for being my sunshine.
Lemon and Blueberry Layer Cake
2 cups + 6 tbs all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
3 cups fresh blueberries
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup milk
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp lemon zest
1 cup butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
Preheat the oven to 175 degrees Centigrade. Grease and flour 2 9 inch round pans. In a bowl, toss the blueberries in 6 tbs of flour. In a separate bowl, sift together the rest of the flour, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, mix together the milk, sour cream, vanilla extract and lemon zest. Using the paddle attachment of your stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until very light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary. Stir in the flour mixture on low speed followed by the milk mixture in turns, starting and ending with the flour. Fold in the blueberries and divide the batter evenly between the two pans. Bake in the oven until a tooth pick comes out clean (about 45 mins) and cool in the pans for 10 minutes before turning out onto a rack to cool completely. When completely cool, out it into the freezer for 30 minutes before frosting.
Zesty Lemon Frosting
1 cup butter, room temperature
2 tsp lemon zest
6 cups icing sugar
60 ml fresh lemon juice
6 tablespoons whipping cream
2 tbs water
pinch of salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
yellow gel coloring
Using the paddle attachment of your stand mixer, cream the butter and lemon zest until fluffy. On low speed, gently add the icing sugar. Add the rest of the ingredients and beat on high speed for 3-4 minutes.
Lemony Whipped Cream Filling:
10 tbs whipping cream
3 tbs icing sugar
1 tsp lemon zest.
Whip the cream and sugar on high speed until stiff peaks form. Gently fold in the lemon zest.
This cake will serve around 20 adults. Cake and frosting very slightly adapted from Sweetapolita
.You can find frosting tips and advice there as well.