This year, I had two reasons to look forward to the Easter weekend, as well as the obvious four-day weekend, we would be celebrating a birthday in the Makes household, and not just any birthday, a 30th! Mr Makes turned 30 on Easter Sunday, and it was definitely a birthday to remember for all the right reasons.
So, what do you buy for the boy who has everything? Well, not everything, but generally has most of things that his heart desires? A special birthday requires a special present, but I was stuck for ideas. His dream present would probably be a flashy new road bike, but that wasn’t happening anytime soon. I’d bought him a fancy watch for his 21st (which he still loved), and my wedding present to him was cufflinks, but wasn’t necessarily about splashing the cash, I wanted to make sure that I found a thoughtful gift.
I’ve written many times about my love of independent creatives, and from my Instagram, it’s pretty clear that I am a big fan of the wonderful Hello Dodo. Mr Makes is an even bigger fan than me, and so when I spied on their Etsy shop that they did commissions, I instantly knew that I was sorted on the present front.
From a very vague brief (‘bikes’), Ali and Jam came up with two ideas that were so fantastic I picked them both! The first was an awesome bike print t-shirt, that hadn’t been released yet. The second, a custom, one-of-a-kind digital print. I can’t think of two presents better suited for my cycling-loving husband! It’s hard to put into words just how perfect/amazing/wonderful the print was, so I’ll let the picture do the talking! I had a very happy birthday boy when he opened his gifts.
A birthday isn’t a birthday without decorations, and I’d had my eye on letter balloons for a while. Considering these were purchased quite cheaply from eBay, and filled with air (not helium), I’m impressed that a week later they are still going strong. I hung these up in our living room and they looked really effective.
A big birthday requires a big cake, and a big cake is what I delivered. Mr Makes was allowed to pick any cake of his choosing, and quickly decided on a big chocolate cake from one of my trusty Hummingbird Bakery books.
The cake itself was really easy to make, so much so that my two-year-old niece helped me with no issue. I was a bit confused when the recipe wanted me to add boiling water (for this bit my niece was distracted with the washing up!), but it baked really well.
After leaving the sponges to cool overnight, I constructed the cake on the morning of his birthday. This admittedly didn’t go to plan. I made up the buttercream and left it in the metal mixing bowl to transport to my in-laws house. However the buttercream seemed to lose some of it’s fluffiness in transit, and I ended up having to whip up an emergency batch. Luckily my Mother-in-Law is also a baker and had plenty of icing sugar!
The buttercream was applied in two stages, an initial ‘crumb coat’ which looked pretty messy. I left this to set for approx. 20 minutes before applying a more polished second coat. The cake was topped with mini eggs (it was Easter, after all), and a custom cake topper I picked up from Etsy. I also picked up some tall candles from Etsy, which were the perfect finishing touch.
The cake tasted just as good as it looked, light but fudgy. Like many chocolate fudge cakes, it seemed to taste better after a few days, which was good as we had plenty to keep us going!
We had such a lovely day celebrating with friends and family, and the cake seemed to go down a treat. Now I just need an excuse to bake another chocolate cake!