The Thrill of Friendships and Birthday Cakes: A Pastry Challenge

Cake blog 9

I’ve always loved celebrating people’s birthdays. There is something so special about dedicating a whole day to one person just to appreciate the fact that they hold an important place in our lives. When I was in high school and close friends of mine had birthdays during the school week, I would stop by the supermarket that was across the street from my house and purchase a cake before homeroom and I would ask the cafeteria lady if she could keep it in the fridge for me until lunchtime. Later, when it was time to light the candles and cut the cake, everybody, students and teachers alike, would join in the celebration and sneak a slice. Some of my most treasured memories throughout the years have been formed during birthday parties, and recently, one of my best college friends turned 21, which is a major milestone that needs to be honored properly. As I continue to learn how to cook different meals and such, I figured that, instead of going to my local shop and purchase a cake, I should make this cake myself in an effort to cross the learn how to make a good pastry dish item off my to-do list. When I began following the recipe, I realized I had enough ingredients to make two decent sized cakes, so that’s exactly what I did. For my first order, I made a yellow cake mixed with large quantities of Nutella (don’t ask me the exact measurement because I don’t think you can ever have too much Nutella) along with some fresh, sliced strawberries. My second dish was a simple yellow cake with Vanilla frosting and lots of sprinkles. They don’t necessarily resemble the Cake Boss standards I was looking for, but we all had a great time baking them and the night ended with a fantastic party, which is better than anything else I could have asked for.

People always told me that the friendships we make during our college years are the ones that endure for the rest of our lives. Judging by the wonderful group of wacky and supportive friends I spend my time with here, I must say that I feel very fortunate to share in my university experience with each and every one of them. Surely we are all involved in each other’s triumphs and tribulations, and that is precisely what we need to latch on to in this long and treacherous road. My good dorm room neighbor Daniel Millan and I became close pals almost two years ago during the worst hurricane season in Puerto Rico’s recorded history. His spirited, fun, intelligent, and passionate nature is the reason why we all wanted to bond with him then and why we needed to honor him now. He will always be that trusted neighbor whose door I will knock when I need to borrow some food or when I need some quality company or when my essays need proofreading or when I need to vent out some deep feelings or just when I seek to spend some time with a precious soul.  I hope that the birthday cake feast I prepared alongside my friends Alana and Cristina was enough to launch him into this exciting new phase of his blessed life.

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I don’t mean to sound biased, but most of my friends are very gifted.  Lately,  I’ve been thinking about how my friend Alana is a full-blown food whisperer. I look up to her and seek her help in my cooking ventures. That woman can find a hot dog and a bottle of barbecue sauce in the fridge and whip up a steak dinner in 2.5 seconds. Lately, she has been trying to expand my appreciation of food by taking me out to some underground cafe’s and restaurants that serve lick your fingers worthy meals. This Saturday we had breakfast at a pastry shop called “Lucia Pattiserie” in Miramar, Puerto Rico. The place was very crowded and with good reason seeing as every single item behind the glass counter looked like something out of a Martha Stewart magazine. The owner of this cute little shop only opens Saturday mornings and all her delicious creations vanish by noon, so this is why I was glad to wake up bright and early to stand in line.  I never bother to choose my own food when I’m hanging out with Alana because I know for a fact that her taste in food is superior to my amateur palate. When the waiter asked me what I wanted, I simply responded with “I’ll have what she’s having”. We had a combination of sweet and savory treats that included a mushroom quiche, a strawberry and pistachio cream tart (which was like tasting something that came straight out of God’s oven), a  blueberry pastry with powdered sugar that Alana swallowed with great speed and joy, and a tomato, onion, and goat cheese danish type of ensemble that could make the pickiest of eaters convert to a foodie lifestyle. I’m not much of a breakfast person, but eating here was the perfect start to my day. I definitely look forward to returning to this spot soon and I would recommend it to anyone who is in looking to eat a proper meal in the Miramar area. Not only is everything very reasonably priced, but it’s cozy enough to want to continue discussing the joys of food with your loved ones, much like Alana and I did this past weekend.

I definitely feel very inspired to embark on new adventures in the kitchen after eating here, and hopefully, someday I will be able to make greater quality cakes and amazing goodies like the ones I described here. Never forget that food is a powerful fuel of unity, a gift worthy of being shared with everything and everyone!

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