When the girls were young, we celebrated half-birthdays. Half birthdays happened on the six-month anniversary of the actual birthday, and we celebrated them with half a cake. Literally, since we cut a one-tier cake in two and placed the halves on top of each other. The other rule of half-birthdays is that you do something nice for someone else (instead of receiving something as you would on your regular birthday).
We haven’t celebrated half-birthdays in years, but did so recently when both girls were at home and my youngest daughter reminded me it was hers. I’m always happy to recreate childhood memories, and it was fun baking our traditional half-birthday white cake with caramel frosting.
What are your favourite family food traditions?
For the cake:
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1/4 cup vegetable shortening
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 egg white
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup milk, room temperature
1/4 cup buttermilk, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter one 9″ round cake pan on sides and line with parchment paper on the bottom.
Using a stand mixer, cream together butter and shortening until light and fluffy. Slowly add sugar, continuing to beat. Add eggs and egg white one at a time, fully incorporating each before adding the next. Continue to beat, scraping down the sides as necessary, for 2 – 3 minutes until very fluffy.
Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl. Combine milk, buttermilk and vanilla in a measuring cup. Add to butter mixture alternately, starting and ending with dry ingredients, stirring until smooth.
Pour cake batter into pan and bake 36 – 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. Let cool slightly in cake pan for 5 minutes, then remove and cool completely before frosting.
For the frosting:
1 cup brown sugar, packed
6 Tbsp cream or milk
1/2 cup butter
3 cups icing sugar
8 – 12 pecans, toasted
Heat brown sugar, cream, and butter in medium saucepan until it boils. Boil for 2 minutes, then remove from heat and cool completely.
Add icing sugar and beat until smooth. (You may need to add more cream to make it spreading consistency.)
Frost the cake and top with pecans.