21st Birthday Celebration For Daughter – Fondue and Pavlova Cake

Birthdays are always a festive occasion for my family. We shower each other with a special family meal, wrapped presents, and of course CAKE. The birthday gal/guy chooses their birthday meal and flavor of cake and the rest of us gets busy in the kitchen!

My daughter’s birthday is the 21st this month, and she was home for the three day weekend, so we had an early impromptu birthday celebration joined with her best friend and boyfriend.

She usually requests an Italian meal of pasta, salad, french bread, and chocolate cake, but my husband and I thought we would make something different, and a dish I knew she would love, FONDUE.

I’m the main cook in our house, but for Valentine’s Day my husband surprised me by planning, prepping, and delivering the most delicious cheese fondue meal. That meal was better than any restaurant reservation he could have made. I loved the combination of flavors and textures of the different bites he put together.

Fondue can be a romantic dish for two or a festive dish for a crowd. It was a perfect choice for our daughter’s birthday meal!

Cheese Fondue (served 6)

  • 1/2 pound Gruyere, shredded
  • 1/2 pound Emmentaler, shredded
  • 2 Tablespoons corn starch
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1 Tablespoon fruit liquor (we used Chambord)
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • assorted dippers; broccoli, bread, zucchini, apples,
  • shrimp, beef (pre-cooked)
Mix the corn starch with the shredded cheese and set aside. Put the wine in the fondue pot to warm. Gradually stir the cheese in the simmering wine. Once the cheese is smooth, add the fruit liquor and nutmeg.

Spear, dip, and swirl!

Ashley’s favorite cake is chocolate and I knew she would miss not having that as a part of her birthday meal, but I was inspired by the pavlova cake fellow blogger, Sweetsamsations made so I decided to incorporate the two. Meringue, fruit filled top and individual red velvet and chocolate cakes for the base. What a delicious combination! The assemble was a little time consuming, but I was pleased with the final presentation.

I doubled the whipped cream so I could use it as a frosting for the cakes, and as a layer of filling for the meringue shells.

I also added coloring (dusty rose; 6 drops red, 2 drops blue food coloring) to about two cups of the meringue and made “A’s” and a border around the main mini cake.

I made two sheet sized cakes from the box (gasp!) and cut mini cakes out of them from a 4″ circle cardboard template that I made. The main cake is two cups of batter baked in a Wilton mini 5″ cake pan.

The red velvet cakes bled through the frosting a bit. The chocolate didn’t have that same issue. Next time, I don’t think I would use red velvet with a whipped cream frosting.

Happy Birthday, Ashley!

I intended to serve everyone a mini cake with ice cream, but we we so full from the fondue that we shared slices of the mini cakes, and forgot about the ice cream!

Michael, Ashley and Jules for 21st Birthday celebration.

I love my daughter (the one in the middle). She has grown into a beautiful young lady.

She’s is a girly-girl. She’s kind and thoughtful. She laughs loudly.

She’s smart, studies hard, and is a hard worker.

She’s a half marathon runner and it’s her birthday!!!


Hugs Sandra Signature

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  1. oh wow!! Your mini pavlovas look so divine! The red velvet base must have complemented the meringue very well! Lovely presentation!

    Your daughter is beautiful! Happy birthday to her! What a talented young lady too! 🙂

    1. Thank you for the inspiration! I don’t think I would have ever tried making pavlova before I saw your post. I liked the way you cut down the sugar in the recipe. It was perfect 🙂

  2. It was very nice of your husband making this delicious recipes, I wish my one could make the same. I spent new years eve in Switzerland and I have fondue, that is always delicious and the pavlova mini cakes looks fabulous! thanks to share, saludos from Spain 🙂

    1. You’ve had authentic fondue! I wonder how it compares 🙂

      Thank you for the kind words, Katya! I would love to learn some authentic Spanish tapas!

  3. What a lucky daughter you have! This meal looks like cause for celebration all by itself! I have a BIG immediate family and starting in February all the way through August we have “birthday season”– a birthday or holiday nearly EVERY weekend! I am also the main cook (my weekend menu is staggering) and I love it. Might have to borrow your fondue plan 🙂 And make those cakes!!!

    1. I want to expand my fondue menu and try different cheeses, and of course a chocolate recipe. If fondue is a part of one of your birthday celebrations, please share the details 🙂

  4. Thank you, Tia! I enjoyed having my house full of activity this past weekend! We sure ate well. Sometimes I like being the only one in the kitchen, but I really appreciated my husband’s hand with the birthday feast. He’s a keeper =) Have a great week!