We were in California last week, where Jaithan’s mother Rani celebrated a birthday in the rose garden of their home north of San Diego. She was the mastermind behind the menu of Jaithan’s party in July, so I decided to bake her a decadent birthday cake of her own. Her favorite, she said, was either an Italian almond or a golden rum cake. The result combines both flavors, topped with roses from Rani’s garden and served on a vintage gold platter we gave her for her birthday last year. We even made a special trip to dazzling Seaside Home in La Jolla for celebration candles in just the right shade of pink. I love using fresh flowers on a cake, like the one I did two summers ago for Pop pop and Mom Mom’s anniversary, garnished with white roses and strawberry blossoms. Just make sure you rinse the flowers in a colander, then let dry on a sheet tray in the refrigerator, lined with paper towel. Happy Birthday, Rani!

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