Thanks to creative flavor designers, birthday cake flavors are not just for cupcakes, or even cake…or even your birthday. So what is birthday cake flavor?
“…there are three hundred and sixty-four days when you might get un-birthday presents…and only one for birthday presents, you know. There’s glory for you!”
– Humpty Dumpty, from Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking-Glass
Aren’t birthdays awesome? You get presents, get to eat your favorite things, don’t have to do the dishes, get to make a wish as you blow out the candles on your cake…ah, the cake.
To a child, only Christmas rivals his or her birthday in importance. Birthdays are so important to children that, in recent years, many elementary school students with the misfortune of having a summer birthday are allowed to celebrate their half-birthday with their classmates six months later.
Of course, adults love birthdays, too; it’s typically an excuse for a romantic date night, a fine dinner, and perhaps a few more cocktails than normal. And lately, it seems that adults wanting to relive that childlike fantasy of celebrating their birthday every day have fueled a trend in which everything tastes like birthday cake. Cookies, pudding, toothpaste—even vodka—are infused with that nostalgic flavor we all remember from our formative years. It’s really the “it” flavor of recent years…but what is “it”?
What Is Birthday Cake Flavor?
When it’s your birthday you get to pick what kind of cake you want, right? Some people have to have their chocolate, or carrot cake, or red velvet, or angel’s food. But the birthday cake flavor craze is built on one specific type of cake: white cake with white buttercream frosting, made extra festive by sprinkling with or otherwise incorporating multicolored “funfetti.” It’s the kind of cake most frequently found in supermarket bakeries, either as a sheet cake or cupcakes, and the white cake makes a perfect canvas for custom hand-decorating—especially with the celebrant’s name and images of favorite things.
Flavor-wise, it’s basically vanilla, with added notes of sugar and butter making it just about the sweetest flavor on the market. You’ll find similarly flavored items marketed as “cake batter” flavor that bring back another favorite childhood memory: licking the beaters, spoon and bowl when your mom would make that special birthday cake. Remember when we were cautioned not to eat cake batter and cookie dough because of the danger of raw eggs? The finger-wagging admonitions by authority figures only elevated the thrill appeal of these favorite childhood flavors…and birthday cake holds a similar nostalgic attraction by appealing to that part of the brain where everything is OK, if only just for today. (We won’t comment on birthday cake-flavored alcohol, which affects another part of the brain entirely.)
While birthday cake flavor brings back a flood of pleasant memories, what really kicks off the party in your brain is the visual appeal of those yellow, pink and blue speckles. Who can possibly have a bad day when looking at something so unbelievably festive?
So when you really want to brighten someone’s day, consider a surprise gift of a birthday cake-flavored cheesecake, or birthday cake-flavored cake balls, or even layered petits fours shaped like pie slices (also available in chocolate for those who want to be different). And remember, it isn’t necessarily just for birthdays…even an “un-birthday” will do. With birthday cake flavor, every day can be your birthday!