birthday cake

Have your cake and the candles too!

by Heather Doherty


My son Conor (aka Conor-the-kins to his mama) celebrated his birthday with a Smurf Cake. Mmmmmmmmm – made from real Smurfs. (Okay, no Smurfs were harmed in the making of the cake or writing of this blog.)  We skipped the 17 candles, but as you can see from the picture below went heavy icing. :)

Ever wonder where birthday cakes come from? Well in Dohertyville, that would be The Superstore on Main Street. But what about the origin of this sweet tradition?

We can thank Artemis, Goddess of the moon for our annual birthday sugar fest. The ancient Greeks would celebrate this Goddess’s birthday with moon-shaped (full and round) honey cakes topped with candles.  The candles honored and represented the glowing moon. Cool or what! (And think about it – now that we, in our tradition, add a candle for every year – the more candles the merrier, the more the glow, the more honour – kind of outstanding.)

There are various superstitions about blowing out the candles on a birthday cake. Many believe (and this is the superstition/bit of magic that I grew up with) that if a person blows out all the candles on her/his birthday cake in one breath, they’ll get their wish. Ah, but silence is golden – your wish will not come true if you tell.  It is said by some, that the smoke from blown out candles carries their wishes to the Heavens. I like this concept, fire and smoke really have strength of their own in superstition, and adding it to one’s birthday celebration could only make the wish workings more powerful.

Long before we were plunking candles on our cakes in North America, they were a popular birthday tradition in Germany. The Germans would put a large candle in the center of a cake as the light of life.

This superstition, I heard years ago, but was never one I held on to: you should always have an odd number of candles even if you have to add an extra one, otherwise it is bad luck.

Some traditions hold that you can tell how many years before you’re married by blowing with your birthday cake, either by how many candles are left glowing after the first huff and puff, or by how many puffs it takes you to put out the inferno.

It’s said that the best day to start a business venture is on your birthday. This makes perfect sense, after all, one’s birthday is their lucky day!

So happy birthday to Conor-the-kins! And yes, the cake was awesome. Beautiful! Wish worthy even without the 17 candles.

What about you? Have any of the birthday wishes you’ve ever made come true? I hope so! And I hope you’ll post them here.

While we’re touching on awesome cakes, these crack me up! Take a look at these wrecks!