Sunday, October 23, 2011

Get out the vote: Crowd-sourcing birthday treats!

It's a big week ahead around here!

First off, my birthday's coming up. I know, commence with the streamers and balloons (not) and general princess-like behavior (double not)... 

Second, and of almost equal hoopla-do, it's Sweet Tea & Sunshine's birthday--three years old! It's been three quick years since friend Jen encouraged me to pick up my blogging "pen" and put it to "paper," and it's been quite a fun ride since then.

But for the birthday, I always spend a little time pondering what dessert I would like. (Please tell me other people do this? Or am I a freak of nature?) I know, cake is most traditional, and for a few years husband quite sweetly bought me the most beautiful cakes from Dean&DeLuca. But the past few years I've said, oh skip that hassle and expense (I think I said it more gently than that), I'll make something yummy, since I kinda like doing that sort of thing anyway. He objects, thinking somehow I'm not supposed to make my own treat, but I call silly on that idea. And, he lets me have my way, in this matter. What's the saying? Happy wife, happy life? He's a wise man.

So the first year of the blog (2008) I made galaktoboureko. That heavenly Greek custard dessert has been a big favorite of mine for many years, from first bite.

For 2009, it was a pile of cream puffs (choux pastry with custard), which have been high on my list since childhood. (Amazing how much Seth has grown in two years, eh? A-maze-ing.)

Last year is oddly fuzzy in my brain, but I think I made some spice cupcakes and mini-cakes in a new cake form I'd been given, but can't find a post or pictures of it, and apparently I was in a quandary about what to make last year too! (I do remember that my parents were here to celebrate with us, so it was obviously a lovely weekend!)

This year, the dessert question continues. I don't make cakes and sweet stuff a lot (despite what some folks think with my number of dessert posts) and so I do want to "make it count" for my birthday. It will be a lovely celebration with my men, so I suppose I should take some of their tastes into account, but honestly I probably won't (much)... when their birthdays roll around it's all about their tastebuds, right? (And I'll make sure there's something around that floats their respective boats, of course.) But the actual dessert? That can be all about me!

That's where you come in, pretty please.

I was browsing through my Pinterest-saved sweet recipes and thinking about what I would like to make, and really couldn't make up my mind. I was thinking to myself that Pinterest should have some sort of voting mechanism so people could weigh in and give opinions, and then I realized (doh!) that I have my own little voting place--between here and a targeted Facebook post or two, I should get a pretty decent crowd-sourced birthday dessert, don't you think?

1. Macarons. I have been wanting to make macarons for a very long time and have been procrastinating. There's a piece of me that's intimidated, and another than pooh-poohs that notion, but for some reason it just hasn't happened yet. My main concern with making macarons is that, like cream puffs, they don't really resemble a dessert or birthday cake, so you just pile them in a bowl and sing Happy Birthday? I guess...

2. Galaktoboureko. I loved it in 2008, and haven't made it since, seriously. So I'd be happy to recycle that concept.

3. Or, for something new, there's this cake: Nutella Icebox Cake. How amazing does that sound? Some of my favorite flavors--hazelnut, chocolate, graham crackers--and it even slightly resembles a cake! Bonus. Double bonus for the fact that it looks way heck easier than macarons.

4. Also in the cake realm is the Peanut Butter Sheet Cake. Hoo-hah. Or however Al Pacino said it in Scent of a Woman. It's a Pioneer Woman recipe, so you know it is filled with all things buttery and good.

5. It's also been awhile since I've made a crepe cake. I LOVE crepe cakes... and if I made a hazelnut one, that could be heavenly too... though even just regular vanilla custard is lovely enough. Hmmm. (The one on the upper right is tiramisu--that sounds pretty good too, doesn't it?!)

6. And then, there are the velvets: Red and Blue. (Why isn't there a Green Velvet cake? Surely that should exist, don't you think?). A true layered cake almost seems truly birthday-like...

7. I've enjoyed leche cake ever since I first tried it a few years ago... I usually think of it as a summer cake with fresh berries and fruit, but I could wrap my mind around a fall version...

8. It's been so long since I've made a cheesecake. My very favorite cheesecake recipe is the Three Cities of Spain Cheesecake from Epicurious--I've made this recipe more times than I can count, but not recently... Does a cheesecake count for a birthday? I think it could. If I wanted to step it up a notch in the cheesecake department, take a look at this creature: Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake Cake. Huh? You've got your layer cake (chocolate), you've got your cheesecake (plain), you've got your frosting (peanut butter). Wow.

OK, so, too many options? One that stands out, head and shoulders, and screams "Sher!" to you?

Please tell me. If you've never commented before, or you've gotten forgetful about commenting or (more likely) you've been too busy to comment for a while... vote, please!

I usually have pretty strong opinions on stuff and the idea of crowd-sourcing anything kind of makes me smile to myself, but in writing this down and sifting through my sweet-tooth desires, I've really gotten into the idea that which ever one gets the most votes, that's it. Period. So pick well. But pick soon. Polls will close Wednesday, Oct. 26. (A girl might need to practice her dessert a bit before the big day, right?!)


  1. I vote for:...ta da... Nutella Ice Box Cake

  2. I absolutely think you should make the macarons...wear a beret and sip a cafe au lait which nibbling a few. Plus they're colorful!

  3. Nutella Ice Box Cake!!

  4. I have the perfect of everything...the leche cake and the very first one...the Greek custard would probably me my first votes. And if we have to choose just one let it be the Greek one in honour of the dreadful financial mishmash in Europe!!! If you make the Greek one it may be a good omen for them ...everything will turn out fine!

  5. Everything you could possibly want in a birthday sweet: Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake Cake. Bonus: looks like a cake, so candles totally work. Also, available for leftovers here.

  6. Oh my! I am drooling...seriously. They all look good so of course I would say a sampler plate of EVERYTHING!! lol
    However, on the realistic side, I would say the Peanut Butter Sheet Cake or the galaktoboureko. MMMMMM!
    Whatever you decide, I hope you have a very enjoyable birthday spending it with the ones you love. :D

  7. Definitely a velvet layer cake...or the custard thing. Hope you have a happy birthday!

  8. I am going to go with the crepe cake...beautiful. Love the treatment on your home page too! Lovely.

  9. hazelnut crepe cake!

  10. I refuse to vote on accounta I can't have any of whatever you make, so pffft on this contest.

    xoxo, really.

  11. I was going to say Red Velvet before I even saw it was an option, just because it's one of my favorite cakes to eat and to make. I used to make a WICKED red velvet cake in grad school.

    And that peanut butter cake- nomnomnom.

    Can't wait to see what you decide!

  12. Thank you all for voting (except you, Jen. Pfft. xo)

    The results, between here and Facebook, ran pretty close between the Nutella Icebox Cake and Crepe Cake, but the Crepe Cake snuck in to win... So! I am off to make custard and crepes and that makes me very happy!

    Thank you all for playing along so swimmingly.

    P.S. I will definitely keep the macarons on my to-do list, as well as the Nutella Icebox Cake, and I also think a Green Velvet Cake seems like something I should experiment with too, don't you think? And, too that PB/Chocolate Cheesecake cake... OK, all of them, eventually!


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