27 Candles Birthday Cake

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This cake should have 27 candles. I used my grandmother’s recipe for the cake batter—to call upon the ancestors for strength. I used my mom’s frosting recipe, guided by her compassion as I whipped the softened butter into the confectioner’s sugar and cocoa powder.  There was no need for salt—a few warm tears did the job just fine.✨

As I placed each candle on the cake and lit them, I imagined Breonna as a young girl full of hopes and dreams growing up in the midwest. A nurturing person who realized her dream by becoming an EMT. As I blew the candles out, I thought about how quickly her life was snuffed out—her spirit leaving her body as fast as the vanishing smoke. I thought about my little sister, who is 27, and a nurturer at heart, too. It hurt too bad to imagine my sweet sister in Breonna’s place. 💫

Breonna will never get to save another life, care for an ailing person, or blow out 27 candles on a birthday cake. This cake isn’t perfect—the frosting isn’t smeared “just right”—and our efforts do better won’t be perfect either. I’ve long been paralyzed by perfection, but we can’t let perfection impede action. 🙏🏾

There’s no greater way I show love than baking someone a birthday cake. But this is the first birthday cake I’ve baked for someone who will never get to bite into its frosting-filled layers. This was an easy recipe but a difficult bake. 


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  • gm SAYS | June 6, 2020

    As a medical person, I remember really feeling it when I heard her story a couple of months ago and that she had been an EMT. I was trying to describe to my sister why I couldn’t watch the George Floyd video— because any time I have watched someone die, I have been doing chest compressions, or in full trauma gear trying to stop the bleeding. The thought of someone deliberately causing death like that, something we fight so hard against— I couldn’t watch it. She would have done those things too. We save people— I have no doubt that she saved lives. And they just killed her. I hope what is going on changes minds and hearts, but even if it doesn’t, I hope it changes laws and procedures— the chokehold, the no-knock entry, things like that. I’m white, my kids are white— but we live in a diverse area, and our friends and theirs are a diverse group. I just want people I love to be able to relax and just be, and be safe. I’m sure you feel the same, except that you have to include yourself in that group, and I am so sorry our country is like this, and I’m trying to be part of the solution.

    • Vallery Lomas SAYS | June 7, 2020

      Thank you for sharing <3

  • Kathleen Pratt SAYS | June 10, 2020

    Oh my heart – this made me weep. May ignorance swiftly be annihilated, and may wisdom, kindness, compassion, understanding, respect and love guide us always.

    • Vallery Lomas SAYS | June 25, 2020

      Yes, thank you for these words of healing <3

  • alexia SAYS | June 13, 2020


  • Heather SAYS | June 14, 2020

    Thank you for sharing this beautiful post resulting from another U.S. tragedy.

  • Bobbie SAYS | June 14, 2020

    Not sure why I didn’t know you’d posted again since I follow your blog. What a lovely thing to do.

    Happy Birthday Breonna! You are missed. The world knows your name.

  • Karen Larsen SAYS | June 19, 2020

    So eloquent and affecting!

  • Nina SAYS | June 19, 2020

    "…but we can’t let perfection impede action." A beautiful message. My sister says that ignorance is curable, and you can’t fix stupid…use your energy wisely!. Here’s to the cure and Breonna’s lasting memory.

  • Rochelle Walker SAYS | June 19, 2020

    Wow. This put a lump in my throat. Beautiful…and sad, tribute. May we all take action now, and not wait for perfection to impede that.

about vallery

I am a lawyer-turned-baker. 
I left my 9-5 office job because I wanted to create recipes, videos, and most of all—Bake! I won the Great American Baking Show, and my debut cookbook Life Is What You Bake It contains some of the winning recipes! My motto is simple: When life gives you lemons, make lemon curd. We have the power to turn tart situations into sweet ones, and it’s my mission to teach people how.



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