What do birthday cakes + the Statue of Liberty have in common?

This is the story of a girl who loves cake + the Statue of Liberty, a girl who also loves to paint, play games, put puzzles together and who loves the whale at the Museum of Natural History, the Alice in Wonderland statue in Central Park and running around the Egyptian wing at the Met. Since she was about two, S has waved to the statue whenever she sees her and often pretends to have “a torch, a book and a crown.”

For her 4th birthday on Monday, we took her to see Lady Liberty, playing tourists in our own city. The wind was furious that day, but we were determined and didn’t care much that we got splashed with water. On the way over we met a lovely woman who arrived in Ellis Island from Germany in 1928 and who worked in the Empire State building until 1945. Her 90-year old husband (they’ve been married 67 years!) sat quietly next to her while we chatted.

At precisely 10:59, the moment S was born in 2008, the ferry approached land, and S and I kissed.

We walked around Lady Liberty’s perimeter and tried taking many photos but the winds were mighty that day. Thankfully, we captured a few moments of our time there.

On the ferry ride back we met a lovely English woman who now lives in Switzerland, along with her daughter, an engineer. They were happy we shared our Carr’s “biscuits” with them.

It can be fun playing tourist in your own city.

Sipping chai tea—like mother, like daughter

We enjoyed afternoon tea and ordered “The Mad Hatter” at Alice’s Tea Cup, which consists of tea, scones, sandwiches and cookies—not a vegetable in site, which I’m sure S found amusing.

Little S sipped chai tea with milk and honey. Along with my cup of tea, I devoured a sea salt caramel chocolate scone.

The next day I baked a cake for S’s birthday party at nursery school.

The whir of butter and sugar mixing together is a sweet site.

I made butter cream frosting using the requested color (I want blue!) with non-toxic icing color I picked up at one of my favorite stores: New York City Cake & Baking Supplies. Choosing a “blue” that resembled the color of the Statue of Liberty was not planned, but perhaps an unconscious choice.

The edible gold dust looks nice on teal. S agreed.

S, the now 4-year old girl who loves cake and the Statue of Liberty, made a wish and blew out the candles.

Traditional Vanilla Birthday Cake from The Magnolia Bakery Cookbook
by Jennifer Appel + Alyssa Torey

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups of sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups self-rising flour
1 1/4 cups of all-purpose flour
1 cup of milk
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

Make the cake
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Grease and lightly flour three 9 X 2-inch round cake pans, then line the bottoms with waxed paper.

In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, cream the butter until smooth. Add the sugar gradually and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Combine the flours and add it in four parts, alternating with the milk and the vanilla. Divide batter among cake pans. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until cake tester inserted comes out clean. Cool cakes in pan for 10 minutes, then remove and cool completely on wire racks.

Traditional Vanilla Buttercream

1 cup of unsalted butter, very soft
8 cups of confectioners’ sugar
1/2 cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla

Make the icing
Place butter in large mixing bowl. Add 4 cups of sugar and then the milk and vanilla. Beat until smooth and creamy. Gradually add the remaining sugar, 1 cup at a time, until icing is thick consistency. If desired, add a few drops of food coloring and mix thoroughly. Icing can be chilled in airtight container up to three days but use at room temperature.

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