There’s a continuous run of birthdays in mid-August. I counted and recounted on my fingers and eventually concluded that I know birthday girls and guys who lay claim to each day from the 15th to the 25th. This includes my uncle, my mother in law, both of my sisters, and Bill Clinton (August 19th).
Birthdays mean festive food, food that delights the revelers, party star and guests alike. I put together this list to inspire more/better opportunities for birthday feasting. Let’s start at cake and eat ourselves back through intimate dinners and cocktail feasts, not to mention breakfast, which should naturally be an extraordinary meal on birthday mornings.
**What to Cook for Birthday Feasts**
1. Giant Layered Cookie Cake. I’ve long loved the cookie cake for its whimsical flair and ease of assembly. To make the cookie confection more of a cake, I’ve layered it with a cream cheese frosting. Can’t beat this one for awesome presentation!
2. Chocolate Mousse Pie. This delicious cake meets pie meets mousse meets gooey chocolatey perfection has a million things going for it, including the fact that it’s both dairy and gluten free.
3. Raspberry Lemon Birthday Cake. The combination of dense lemon cake and pink raspberry buttercream makes this cake equal parts girly, summery, and crowd pleasing.
4. White and Black Pepper Marble Cake. Perfect for picnic and potluck celebrations, this sturdy cake allows for easy transportation, no cake carrier needed. The flavors develop with time, so feel free to bake this one a day in advance.
Intimate Main Courses
5. Polenta with Multicolored Peppers & Smoked Mozzarella. Rainbow colored peppers turn crispy-edged polenta “steaks” into a party on your plate, making this a perfect festive meal for the vegetarians among us.
6. Filet Mignon with Roasted Potato Wedges. Sometimes, birthdays call for classic luxury. That translates into filet mignon, the tenderest steak there is. I keep the meal simple: just some potato wedges and maybe some garlicky spinach. Paired with red wine, of course.
Big Rowdy Feasts
7. Peanut Noodle Buffet. I’ve told you a million times how I think peanut noodles are the perfect meal, for yourself, for friends, or for a big birthday buffet. They’re inexpensive to make and delightful to eat–a win.
8. Mini Meatball Subs. Baking a few batches of homemade meatballs is no big deal; besides that, all this meal requires are little potato buns, a bowlful of tomato sauce, and lots of hungry party goers.
Party on the Side
9. Arugula & Radicchio Salad with Pomegranate, Pecans, and Pecorino. The pink pomegranate seeds on top of this crunchy, satisfying salad are as celebratory as confetti, and a whole lot less work to clean up!
11. Watermelon Rickey. Cool, fruity, and not too sweet, this vodka drink can be mixed up in watermelon-sized batches and mixed with seltzer for each guest. Dancing will commence in no time.
12. Teenage Dream. A fresher version of the teenage classic mixed drink, canned pineapple juice and vodka (the pineapple definitely axes all taste of booze), it’s hard not to want to propose toast after toast while you’re sipping on one of these.
13. Hot Blue Cheese Dip with Sweet Potato Chips. Bring cheese dip home from the movies with way higher quality ingredients–i.e., blue cheese–and sweet potato chips.
14. Mini Shrimp Phyllo Cups with Dill Pesto & Feta. I think of these little phyllo cups like little gift wrappers unto themselves. And what’s inside? In this case, pretty green shrimp and dill pesto. But you could also add mango…
Breakfast of Party Champions
15. Apple Pancakes. These crepe-like pancakes are best dressed with tons of festive cinnamon sugar. Whatever the topping, nothing makes a birthday kid feel as special as pancakes made just for him.
16. Mango Crumble Breakfast Bake. The exotic fruit mingles with a brown sugary crunch to create a baked French toast breakfast that’s anything but ordinary.