Today is my birthday. Today I am 30 years old! I told you last year, and I’ll repeat it: my birthday is one of my favorite days throughout the year, along with Christmas. Those blessed five minutes I spent under the sheets before getting up are full of expectations, of a rarefied happiness that makes me feel slightly different and special all day long. Today is special for another reason, too.
When I turned 28, more than one person told me, with a worried yet enthusiastic look, that I was entering into the Saturn Return. Astrologers believe that when Saturn returns to the point where it was when you were born, you cross a major threshold and enter the next stage of your life.
Since Saturn is the planet that represents the time, the responsibility, the inner strength that helps you achieve your goals, those ranging from 28 to 30 are two years in which you cut dead branches and leave behind heavy burdens, but in the meantime you reconfirm the values you believe in and the important people in your life. These are the years when you have to make choices, and you finally realize that these choices, for the first time, depend only on you, not on your parents or on social conventions.
And so today I put ideally a full stop after two intense, sometimes tiring but always interesting and challenging years. From now on, I start a new journey, with a little more awareness of my goals, my dreams, who to consider a friend, who to rely on… and mostly who I am.
My birthday cake is affected by these changes as well. I sat at the kitchen table, with some trusted good books you know you can count on in the important moments, a squared notebook and a pencil, and I started thinking about what I wanted for my special day, because there is no doubt that my 30th birthday cake will be remembered for a long time.
I indulged in my last preference: I usually feel like a cake that is not too sugary, which has a rustic and natural flavour, made with an interesting flour. I like simple cakes, simple to make and simple to taste, with no complications, something that makes you feel good, with seasonal fruit to give freshness. I believe this is a kind of cake very similar to me, now.
So, this is the recipe, described picture by picture …
… and now, the real recipe! Enjoy it!
POPPY SEED BUCKWHEAT CAKE WITH FRESH RED CURRANTS
My 30th birthday cake, recipe adapted from 1-2-3 poppy-seed cake, from Nicole’s Delicious days book.
- 250 g soft butter (plus a bit more for the pan)
- 5 room temperature medium or large organic eggs
- 200 g of caster sugar
- 100 g of fresh cream
- grated zest of 1 organic lemon
- scraped seed of 1 vanilla pod
- 100 g of ground poppy seeds
- 200 g of buckwheat flour (plus a bit more for the pan)
- 2 tablespoons of baking powder
Ingredients to make the butter cream filling:
- 100 g of butter
- 175 g of icing sugar
- grated zest of 1/2 organic lemon
- a few tablespoons of cherry/strawberry/wild berries syrup
- icing sugar for dusting
- 200 g of fresh red currants
- All the ingredients should be at room temperature for optimal baking results, so be sure to take the butter, eggs and cream out of the refrigerator ahead of time.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C and brush a 18 cm round pan with butter and dust evenly with the flour.
- Beat the butter and sugar until creamy with the whisk of the hand mixer.
- Add gradually the eggs while mixing continuously.
- Wash the lemon with hot water and grate the zest on a fine grater directly into the bowl. Add the scraped seeds of one vanilla pod.
- Whisk in the fresh cream and the poppy seeds.
- Stir in the buckwheat flour and the baking powder.
- Scrape the batter into the pan and bake in the oven for 45 – 50 minutes.
- Take the cake out of the oven and let cool for 10 minutes, then turn the pan onto a wire rack and remove it. Let it cool completely.
- To make the filling, whip the butter at room temperature with the icing sugar, the grated zest of half of an organic lemon and a few tablespoons of your favourite berry syrup.
- When the cake is completely cold, slice it horizontally and spread half of the cake it with the butter cream, sprinkle with half of the red currants and top it again with the second half of the cake.
- Dust with icing sugar and decorate with fresh red currants. Let it set at least half an hour in the refrigerator before serving it.