Have my cake and eat it too

by Jessica Wong, CBCNews.ca

Is there a point when one becomes too old for birthday cake?

I'm a week away from a watershed birthday and age has come with a host of weighty matters on which to reflect, from eating more healthfully (whole grains and proper portion sizes) in general to the much more literal consideration of a thickening mid-section and slower metabolism.

Still, as a person who deliberates on dessert at the same time as I decide on my appetizer and entree, I've had an intense hankering for an outrageous and extravagant gateau for my birthday celebration. A recent New York Times ode to the old-fashioned cake — sky-high with multiple layers and thick, luscious frosting — served only to boost my craving.

Not just for kids: as you get older, most birthday celebrations boil down to the cake. (Hulton Archive/Anne or Bob Leavitt/Getty Images).

After a bit of exploration on the web, however, I'm happy to find I'm not alone in my desire for some dessert-filled decadence on my big day.

"As you get older, [birthdays] tend to mean less and less. With increasing age, the appetite for endless sweets and the marking of the cruel passage of time diminishes," writes Anna Pickard, one of the food bloggers at the Guardian newspaper's Word of Mouth blog.

Nevertheless, "birthdays, like so many holidays, are an excuse for raucousness and overeating — when you're little, this can take the form of many brightly coloured things: jelly, ice cream, as many sweets as you can fit in your mouth at once, and fizzy, fizzy drinks... as you get older, the party food gets boiled down from all those many bowls onto one enormous plate. To the cake."

Closer to home, Dinah Murdoch wrote recently in the Waterloo Record that she is "a firm believer that everyone should have a cake on their birthday. No one should be considered too old to be sung to over the glow of candles — be those candles few or many — or to make a wish before slicing and sharing something yummy (and preferably homemade) with their favourite people. It should be an annual right of passage for all of us."

Thanks, gals. Now, I don't feel so guilty about the fact that, for the past couple of weeks, I contemplated enlisting a wedding cake baker (too pricey) or that I pleaded with a favourite neighbourhood bakery to supersize their amazing raspberry-chocolate cupcakes into a cake-for-20-people size (unfortunately without success).

A friend may ultimately be my saviour: she might be able to score me a dark chocolate truffle cake from a well-known firm that creates a vast selection of cakes, pies, tarts and other desserts for shops and restaurants across the country.

Whatever I come up with, I'm hoping that the folks around me next weekend will indulge in a healthy slab of sweetness with me.