short and sweet

I don’t remember my first one.

There are pictures, but they are yellowed as photographs from the 1970’s tend to be.

In one shot I am sitting in a high chair at my grandma’s house, confused.  In the very next I am covered in yellowed cake.

I vaguely remember Cookie Monster.

My aunt made it for me when I was six.  Or thereabouts.

In this photograph, I am standing on a chair leaning forward onto the table–hovering over the perfect cake.

I am missing teeth, which is incredibly apparent by the giant smile on my face.

At some point I decided marble cake was my favorite, and my mom started making me a round double-layer each year.

Always with homemade chocolate frosting.

Always with the sugar candy attached to a piece of paper that needed to be wet before the candy would release.

Always with pink letters spelling out: H A P P Y   B I R T H D A Y  K A T I E !

On Sunday my mom will again make me a cake.

An ice cream cake.

I will do my best to eat the vanilla ice cream, fudge, and cool whip first, saving the Oreo cookie crust for last.

But first I will blow out my 33 candles.

And pick off the pink letters one by one.
This week’s prompt was to be inspired by this photo:

what? it's a CAKE donut!

About Katie

Just a small town girl...wait no. That is a Journey song. Katie Sluiter is a small town girl, but she is far from living in a lonely world. She is a middle school English teacher, writer, mother, and wife. Life has thrown her a fair share of challenges, but her belief is that writing through them makes her stronger.


  1. I love those Ice Cream cakes! Yum! I save the cookie crust for last, too. 🙂 Hope you have a great weekend!

  2. The cookies are the best part of an ice cream cake! I wish my mom still made me birthday cakes.

  3. Gosh that sounds so good! I need to go goodie shopping. Have a Happy Birthday weekend Katie!

  4. Ice cream cakes are so very yummy…and I love those pink sugar letters. How nice that your mom makes them for you, she is sweet.

  5. You know The Rule, right?

    If it doesn’t have chocolate, it’s not cake – it’s bread.

    Friends don’t let friends have bread for their birthday.

    Go for the fudge, girl.

  6. 33- you are a baby. Happy Birthday- hope you have a great one.

  7. Happy Birthday!!!

    Lori is right…go for the fudge!

  8. I love the simplicity of this story. You captured the feel of birthdays very well. For me, birthdays were always about CAKE. However, my birthday was in July. This meant the cake was usually small because my parties were usually family due to summer vacation. One year she actually gave me a watermelon cake with candles. I thought this was quite a feat, but was not too happy. Somehow watermelon isn’t quite the same as chocolate cake (my favorite):~)

  9. p.s. I forgot HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU!!!

  10. Ah. I love how the rituals we develop around sweets stays with us even as we get older. My mom still buys me a carvel ice cream cake every year for my birthday and still make sure each bite is equal parts chocolate, equal parts vanilla, and most importantly, equal parts crunchies.

  11. Is it wrong that I want some cake at 10 am? No? I didn’t think so.

  12. Happy birthday! I don’t remember my first either, but have a 1970s picture as well, the “J” spelled out in jelly beans. After reading this, I can see it so clearly.

    In so few words, you painted a vivid picture of those years. Your descriptions mixed with my own memories of that time, so I felt like I could have been there eating cake with you. I can taste those sugar letters, the way they crunch then melt away.

  13. This is really cute and I like the way you describe the details, even though you can’t remember them.

    One thing I might do here is to introduce the pink candles a little sooner. That way, when you mention them in the last line there’s a little more punch to the conclusion.

    • Sorry, I was trying to say that I like the way you describe the details from the picture. Even though you can’t remember them, you see them in the picture and you paint the picture that this is the start of many similar celebrations.

  14. Now I am craving those candy letters. mmmm.

  15. Too cute.. I love looking back through old birthday photos. My stepmom made us character cakes of our choosing every year – I think, to this date, Strawberry Shortcake is still my favorite.

    The only thing I would change is this line:
    “I am missing teeth, which is incredibly apparent by the giant smile on my face.”
    to this:
    “I am missing teeth, which is made incredibly apparent by the giant smile on my face.”

    Only because a giant smile isn’t always indicative of missing teeth. 😉

  16. Marble cakes have always been one of my favorite kind, there’s something magical about cutting one open and seeing the swirl work inside. I love that this was short and sweet (kinda like a yummy pink donut!) and that you truly let the picture inspire you instead of rule you. It’s a good reminder to us(okay me)to think outside of the box sometimes.

  17. Homemade icecream cake! Yummy! Enjoy every bite birthday girl!

  18. I remember saying I loved marble cake one year.
    And then for years after that’s all we had.
    I had to keep reminding them I liked other kinds of cake.

    Happy Birthday to you Katie!!
    I hope its a day filled with wonderful things!

  19. Happy Birthday to you on Sunday! I’ve never been much of a cake girl myself. I’m more of an ice cream cake girl! I remember the candy letters too.

  20. ice cream cake sounds sooo good right now! happy birthday katie!

  21. Wait?

    The candy comes off if the paper is wet?

    34 years in two and a half weeks and I never knew that.

    Happy Cakeday, er Birthday, Katie!

  22. I love short “sweet” blogs sometimes. I especially loved the question and answer blog you did with your friend. I have a buddy like that… sometimes it’s very suprising what shoots out of your mouth, or what is typed out on the computer screen. Keep dreaming about being published. It’s worth it. Love your writing. It’s very cozy and to the point.

  23. How lovely. Making a cake is such an act of love. It’s why I continue to make cakes for my boys, even though I hate decorating and crafts with every fiber of my being. Happy Birthday!!