We raised a glass and feted Rebecca, the birthday girl, here in Charm City this past weekend.

I am slightly ashamed to say that the birthday girl basically baked her own celebratory cake, but after a quick comparison of culinary track records and  kitchen disasters of recent memory, it was pretty obvious that the only way it was going to be awesome was if one of us (ahem) stayed out of the way, so we rolled with it. I did minimal damage by annoying the pastry chef with my camera and adding a few festive sprinkles to the finished product.

Now here is RW with the inside scoop on the baking process and how it ended up so tasty. . .

Well, Molly’s finishing touches did make the difference. . .  After pondering more elaborate recipes–various coconut cakes, multi-layer extravaganzas–couldn’t resist the Best Birthday Cake. (Guess I’m swayed by “Best” recipes lately.) And how. This recipe is a beauty, turning out a lovely textured, buttery-tasting cake with a simple and not overly sweet frosting that spreads like silk.  This calls for cake flour and it’s worth making the effort to pick up some; it helps create moist layers that cut into perfect slices without lots of crumbs. Many thanks to Smitten Kitchen for the great recipe, and to my superb Three Points Baltimore prep cook.

P.S. The cake also travels well, surviving a long-slog, traffic-jammed bus ride back to NYC without a dent. My seatmate did look on a bit longingly as I dug into one slice en route, but sorry, too precious to share.