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  • Writer's pictureDeborah Yaffe

Happy birthday indeed

For most people, this past year has been at best pretty bad and at worst utterly tragic. On the bright side, however, the challenge of pandemic quarantine seems to have inspired the partners of Janeites to step up their gift-giving game.

Last summer, as blog readers will recall, a British graphic designer gave his Janeite girlfriend a handcrafted Jane Austen Monopoly set as a second-anniversary gift. And now a Philadelphia-area husband has marked his wife’s fortieth birthday by commissioning a truly spectacular Pride and Prejudice birthday cake.

The chocolate mocha cake features a rendition of the famous peacock edition of P&P, topped by edible figurines of Darcy and Elizabeth, as played by Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle in the BBC’s iconic 1995 mini-series. Alongside the cake stands a fondant rendition of Pemberley, as played by Chatsworth in the 2005 feature film. The finishing touches are two ribbons reading, “Happy Birthday Mary Beth” and “You Are a Timeless Classic.”

Although the guest list for the birthday party was limited to six, the cake created by pastry chef Jackie Swain of Night Kitchen Bakery was big enough to feed thirty. Not quite as big as last year’s life-size sponge cake rendition of Firth-as-Darcy, but I’m betting that Mary Beth didn’t mind.

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