This is the time of year when the birthdays pile up in my family, which (like most families) are full of traditions. We each choose our favorite birthday dessert (which isn't always cake) and favorite dinner menu which is shared by all, always homemade, and usually prepared by my daughter and me.
The first birthday in July is my mom's - and each year she never fails to choose fresh strawberry shortcake. As you can imagine, there are no shortcuts allowed, so we will not be buying those pre-made shortcakes at the grocery store. Instead, we build a full-size layer cake piled high with fresh berries and real whipped cream. It looks like this angel food cake with fresh berries on our website but we add some secrets to ours.
When whipping the cream, we like to add a little Amaretto for a flavor boost. While layering the cakes, I always slide some sliced strawberries in the middle nestled into the sweet cream. We never have any leftovers with this birthday dessert, so give it a try for one of your summer celebrations!
The second birthday is celebrated for my son-in-law in August. He loves my grandmother’s lemon cake, but when he had to switch to a gluten free life a few years ago he hasn't been able to enjoy it. Because of all the great gluten free options today with flour and cake mixes, I am going to re-create a gluten free version of my grandmother’s famous Meyer lemon cake and pile fresh berries on top for his birthday this year.
Lastly, is my grandson’s birthday coming up at the end of next month. He and I both share a deep love of fresh California Giant blackberries grown here in Watsonville, so he has already got his request in for a blackberry cobbler for birthday dessert. I quickly volunteered to make that one and am taking it up a notch by using this recipe we have on the site for blackberry-raspberry cobbler.
This is my favorite recipe in the whole bunch because of the combination of these two berries and the yummy buttery, crispy topping. Due to a gluten-free household, I substitute gluten free flour in the recipe (be sure to use the ‘one-for-one’ by King Arthur and it is impossible to tell when eating it that there is any difference at all). This is such an easy dessert to make, and warm out of the oven is the best way to serve it with or without a scoop of your favorite ice cream.
The bottom line is that treating loved ones to special desserts and traditions brings everyone some joy whether you are the cook or the one being served a plate full of freshly made desserts like these. Start your own tradition with family or friends this summer and enjoy the moments shared with each other.
The summer days are long, the sunsets are beautiful and the memories we create together are timeless. We hope you enjoy these, or other recipes featured using fresh California Giant berries and we encourage you to add your own twist to make it your own creation.