Half birthdays

Sunday, February 19, 2017
When the girls were young, we celebrated half-birthdays. Half birthdays happened on the six-month anniversary of the actual birthday, and we celebrated them with half a cake. Literally, since we cut a one-tier cake in two and placed the halves on top of each other. The other rule of half-birthdays is that you do something nice for someone else (instead of receiving something as you would on your regular birthday).

We haven't celebrated half-birthdays in years, but did so recently when both girls were at home and my youngest daughter reminded me it was hers. I'm always happy to recreate childhood memories, and it was fun baking our traditional half-birthday white cake with caramel frosting.

What are your favourite family food traditions?

Half-birthday White Cake with Caramel Icing
(Note: if you want to make the whole cake, it was inspired by this recipe. The icing recipe is adapted from a recipe in Company's Coming Cakes, a cookbook I received at one of my wedding showers.)

For the cake:
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1/4 cup vegetable shortening
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 egg white
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
pinch salt
1/4 cup milk, room temperature
1/4 cup buttermilk, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter one 9" round cake pan on sides and line with parchment paper on the bottom.

Using a stand mixer, cream together butter and shortening until light and fluffy. Slowly add sugar, continuing to beat. Add eggs and egg white one at a time, fully incorporating each before adding the next. Continue to beat, scraping down the sides as necessary, for 2 - 3 minutes until very fluffy.

Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl. Combine milk, buttermilk and vanilla in a measuring cup. Add to butter mixture alternately, starting and ending with dry ingredients, stirring until smooth.

Pour cake batter into pan and bake 36 - 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. Let cool slightly in cake pan for 5 minutes, then remove and cool completely before frosting.

For the frosting:

1 cup brown sugar, packed
6 Tbsp cream or milk
1/2 cup butter
3 cups icing sugar
8 - 12 pecans, toasted

Heat brown sugar, cream, and butter in medium saucepan until it boils. Boil for 2 minutes, then remove from heat and cool completely.

Add icing sugar and beat until smooth. (You may need to add more cream to make it spreading consistency.)

Frost the cake and top with pecans.


Natalie Aguirre said...

Oh that's such a great tradition. I would have loved to do that with my daughter when she was younger. I'll have to remember it for hopefully when I'm a grandma.

Liz That Skinny Chick Can Bake said...

Such a fun tradition! I love the half cake!!! You know that caramel frosting is calling my name. This must go on my baking list :)

That Girl said...

We've never celebrated half birthdays, but I did make a cake with caramel icing for my little one's birthday last year!

Angie's Recipes said...

That's a fun tradition, Beth. The cake looks splendid!

Cakelaw said...

What a cute idea!! And this cake sounds delicious - who can resist caramel icing?

Monica said...

Love that tradition - so sweet, fun, and considerate to do something for someone else while you get to enjoy cake. : )

Jemi Fraser said...

what a great idea! I've had a few students with birthdays on Christmas who celebrate on their half-birthdays but I never thought of doing this for the kids. Love it!
And caramel anything is always so good!!

Cheri Savory Spoon said...

Half birthdays have to be the sweetest thing I've ever heard of Beth, sounds like you have created some wonderful times with your family. Delicious looking cake too.

grace said...

what a fun tradition! i'm inclined to start that with my own family, as i can never get enough cake or time for celebration! :)
also, caramel icing is my FAVORITE. :)

Kitchen Riffs said...

Fun! My wife and I always wish each other Happy Half-Birthday, but haven't made half a cake. Gotta do that! Neat idea. :-)

Unknown said...

Half birthdays sounds like a fun idea. I should start that with my little one. And this cake looks so beautiful. Love that caramel icing.


Karen (Back Road Journal) said...

What a cute tradition and love that cake of yours with the caramel icing and pecans.

Inger @ Art of Natural Living said...

I love this idea (and your cake looks delicious)! I think my favorite food tradition is staying in for fondue and a movie on New Year's Eve.

Gingi said...

This looks mouth watering and marvelous!! Must try!! - http://www.domesticgeekgirl.com

Abbe@This is How I Cook said...

What a nice tradition and a very good cake. I always thought I needed a half birthday because I hate when mine falls. Oh well!

Gloria Baker said...

Look absolutely delicious Beth. ]Usually I make a cake for every birthday !Hugs!

handmade by amalia said...

Oh, this is a clever idea! Like!

Ruth Schiffmann said...

Aww, I love that tradition. Especially the part about doing something nice for someone else to celebrate.

lisa is cooking said...

This is such a fun idea! I love the half cake. The caramel frosting sounds delicious too.

DMS said...

I love this tradition. I have never heard of people having half a cake or doing a kind act for someone else on their half birthday- but I love both ideas. So glad you got to recreate a memory with your daughters. :)

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