I’m a decent baker but I’ve never had a lot of success with cakes, let alone with making them look fancy. My mom was always the cake person–she even took a few classes on cake decorating–so I never really needed to try to improve. But I think the last six weeks have made me want to try more cakes?

It started with an easy gingerbread layer cake for my sister-in-law’s birthday. The frosting was stabilized whipped cream and I didn’t even try to ice the sides. Decorations were just garnishes, really, but it looked so fancy!

Then I made a carrot layer cake for Doc’s birthday. I attempted to ice the sides on that but was able to use chopped pecans to hide the unevenness. The cake didn’t fall! It had real layers! Maybe I was on to something?

I took a brief detour over Christmas and practiced my piping on our family’s sugar cookie recipe:

Then I took all my mom’s cake boards and decorating tools and thought, “Let’s go all in and make my birthday cake.” And reader, it mostly worked! The layers didn’t fall, I was able to frost it pretty well, and I even piped decorative borders! It was a tiramisu cake and it not only looked fancy(ish), it tasted great:

I kind of want to keep practicing with a cake a month: I have my mom’s little 6-inch pans, which would make a delightful cake for two for Valentine’s Day…my brother’s family gave me a horseshoe-shaped pan for my birthday, which could be a lucky St Patrick’s Day cake…and on and on. I like the thought of 2022 at least having cake, whatever else it holds.