Dear AJ...

Dear AJ, 

Your parents asked some of your friends to share a word of encouragement for your 1st birthday so you'll be able to read them on your 18th birthday. I wasn't sure if I would have anything to share but as I edited this photo of a cupcake I baked for your birthday, it dawned on me that I can give you a pointer or two about making a cake. 

First, you  have to start with a solid, trustworthy recipe since this is the foundation that you'll need to build a cake. A lot of times, I'll wander and attempt to create my own recipe even though I already have one that's tried and true. Those are the times my cakes collapse or overflow out of the pans and everything is a mess. I learn my lesson, and go back to my dependable recipe. 

Once you have baked your cake with a trusted recipe, you can now put in your own flairs. The world is your oyster when it comes to fillings, frostings, and sprinkles. Do you just want a simple vanilla cupcake with vanilla frosting without glitter or frills? Go for it! What about a 7-layer chocolate cake with raspberry Swiss meringue buttercream piped in ruffles, topped with a sugar flower? As long as you have a solid cake foundation, you can create anything your heart desires. 

There will be times when you make mistakes and it'll take a few tries for you to get it right. Sometimes (ok, a lot of times) your cake will not look perfect. But you know what? That's totally OK. You know why? Because you can still share and enjoy the cake with your mom, dad, family and friends (and I hope, me!) Even though it may not look like it, the cake will still be sweet, rich and delicious! 

I hope you know where I'm going with this cake analogy, AJ. If not, come on over and I'll explain it to you while we make a batch of your favorite cupcakes. 

Happy Birthday, AJ! 


Auntie Lillian