Back in the olden days, mothers used to actually bake birthday cakes. It had nothing to do with whether or not she worked outside the home (as mine did), birthday cakes were made by yo' mama. No quick trip to Publix (great cakes, BTW) or Baskin-Robbins. Nope. Whipped it up in the kitchen, where you could lick the bowl of your very own birthday cake batter.
Since my birthday usually falls close to Easter, Mother had a special cake she baked for me - a coconut cake, complete with green coconut "grass" and jelly bean "Easter eggs" hidden in the grass. Candles were spaced amongst the jelly beans, making for a very festive birthday cake. No need for "Happy Birthday" scrawled out in icing. The coconut grass, jelly bean eggs, and candles said it all.
I honestly don't remember how many cakes I baked for daughter Kate's birthdays over the years. I'm not a very good baker - though Mother was no expert, either, so that's a lousy excuse. No, I relied on bakeries and grocery stores. I do wonder where Mother found the time to create her coconut confection every year, but she managed. (Plus, a German chocolate cake around Christmastime - she was excellent at German chocolate.) Coconut cake with jelly beans and candles always made it Happy Birthday.
Thank you, Mother, for the great birthday cakes and happy memories. I'll be thinking of you at 10:12 tonight and the gift of life you gave me 58 years ago.