Martha Stewart's CAKES : Happy Birthday to me

My birthday was last week and it was sooooo boring. I took my cat to the vet to have his teeth cleaned. I went to Target. We had a quiet dinner at home.

It was exactly what I wanted.

Except for one thing.

For the first time in my entire life, I didn't have a birthday cake.

No cake.

No candles to blow out.

A couple of days later, Martha Stewart's CAKES arrived for review from Random House of Canada and my immediate thought was, 'I'm going to make myself a birthday cake'.

I pored over the pages, reading every sweet little recipe intro, drooling over the beautiful photography, trying to decide which one would be perfect.

It turns out that choosing a cake recipe was much like choosing my wedding dress. The first one that caught my eye turned out to be my favourite.

Maple Cake.

'The incomparable flavour of pure maple syrup is reason enough to make this sweet treat; that it is quick to prepare is an added bonus. Maple syrup is marked and graded by its colour, ranging from light to dark - the darker the colour, the more intense the flavour. If you can find grade B, use it here for both the batter and the icing.' - Martha Stewart's CAKES, p 120

Martha's book instructs the Maple Cake to be baked as a single layer in a 9-inch square pan, but who wants a flat, square birthday cake? I divided the batter between two 8-inch round pans and doubled the icing.

Oh my god. The icing.

Anyone from Canada that's ever gone on a road trip has probably eaten a Maple Dip Donut from Tim Horton's.

Martha's maple frosting has the texture of the top of a Maple Dip but the taste is about a gazillion times better.

The cake itself was light and fluffy on the inside and baked to a perfect light golden brown crust on the outside.

Martha Stewart's CAKES is being heralded as a ' stop resource for cakes - birthday, chocolate, coffee, Bundt, upside-down, loaf, and more. From pound cake and angel food (with many variations) to genoise and streusel-topped, from comfort classics like red velvet, six-layer coconut, rich chocolate, lemon meringue, and cheesecake to sophisticated grown-up fare including chiffon cakes and tortes with luscious fruits, these 150 recipes and colour photographs cover techniques, decorating, and gifting ideas for every taste and occasion, whether no-fuss or fancy.'

A beautiful cake from a beautiful book.

Happy Birthday to me.

Martha Stewart's CAKES is available for sale on September 24, 2013.

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