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Birthdays are kind of a big deal in my family

POSTED: March 12, 2014 1:00 a.m.

My firstborn and only daughter turned 28 last week. In our family, we make a big deal out of birthdays.

In fact, when this same daughter was 6 months old, we celebrated with a half-birthday party. This party started at half past the hour; we had half of a birthday cake; ate sandwiches cut in half; and sang half the birthday song.

With that kind of start, it may come as no surprise that throughout the years, we have had every kind of theme party: princess, Power Rangers, ’50s, Western, ’70s and Elvis, just to name a few.

Now that the children are adults, we continue to make this a special time.

It has been the trend in our family the past few years that instead of traditional gifts, we give “experiences.” For example, we have given the zip-lining tour, concert tickets and cooking classes; all things that we can experience and enjoy together. But one thing remains the same, I always cook the favorite meal requested by the one celebrating and we gather as a family. Every single year, my girl picks a strawberry cake for dessert.

But I have to be honest, the strawberry cake and I have struggled for years. It seems I could make any kind of cake except the one my dear daughter requested for her birthday. Year after year, I would try to put a perfectly frosted, camera-ready cake on the stand, only to get a watery mess of a frosting running everywhere.

Then one day, I happened to think that you could make a cream-cheese icing and add just a little strawberry puree to it. Surely to goodness that would be the answer I had been looking for. I’m happy to report it has worked perfectly every time.

So let’s blow out the candles and celebrate!

Crevolyn Wiley is a Gainesville resident with her first published cookbook “Cooking with Crevolyn” available at J&J Foods. Contact her at


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