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A week away from Christmas happens to be a busy time and not the greatest time to have a birthday. For Leilah’s last birthday we only managed to get together for breakfast. But a lovely breakfast it was. I took a video, but no photos were taken aside from the cake. I served up the cake at the beginning of our breakfast so we started off with the singing of Happy Birthday. This just marked the occasion and the slightly warm cake went well with the rest of the meal. I picked a coconut loaf cake and made the presentation a little more festive by serving it on a cake platter. The thick coconut glaze gently rolled down the sides… it was lovely. 

When Leilah was a wee little thing we forgot her birthday one year. She got her cake for her first birthday, but the following year somehow we got waylaid with Christmas. Several months passed when one day I realized we failed to mark this very important event. I told my husband and his reaction was that this was just terrible. Leilah was too young to care of course, but her sister and brother never let me live it down. I really felt bad, actually I still do. And as one of great ironies of life, the extra kid is the one who sticks close to home and despite her own busy family and carrier she still makes time for her parents. 

Birthdays are important; they give us the chance to celebrate the important people in our lives. Egyptians started celebrating the birthday of the pharaoh. Greeks added candles to the cake. Ancient Romans were the first to celebrate birthdays for the common man [not for women] Birthday cakes were invented by German bakers. In 1893, Patty Hill and Mildred J. Hill wrote a tune called “Good Morning to All” which we all know as “Happy Birthday To You.”


1 cup unsalted butter, softened 
1 cup sugar 
4 large eggs 
1-1/2 cups flour 
1 tsp baking powder 
2 Tbsp milk 
1 Tbsp coconut extract 

Vanilla Glaze: 
1/3 cup unsalted butter, room temperature 
1 cup icing sugar, sifted 
1 Tbsp milk 
1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract 

• Line a 7-inch round cake pan or a loaf pan with parchment paper. 
• Preheat the oven to 350F. 
• In the bowl of an electric mixer whip the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. 
• Add the eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides. 
• Sift the flour and baking powder together. 
• Fold in the flour mixture, milk and vanilla essence until the mixture is smooth. 
• Pour the cake batter into the prepared pan and bake for 40 minutes, or until the center of the cake springs back when gently pressed. 
• Let the cake to cool in the pan for 5-10 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool. 
• Meanwhile make the Vanilla Glaze. 
• Beat the butter until fluffy. 
• Add half of the icing sugar and the milk. 
• Beat to combine. 
• Add the remaining icing sugar and the vanilla extract and beat for 5 minutes. 
• When cake cools down substantially top it with the Vanilla Glaze.



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I began to post recipes for my family and it turned out to be a work in progress. "zsuzsa is in the kitchen" has over 900 recipes of Hungarian and international recipes. My recipes are organized into a cookbook format. On top of the page click on the cookbook to get access to all my recipes. If I ever figure out how to add a printer friendly gadget I will add it. In the meantime feel free to cut and paste. Happy cooking!

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