Classic Birthday Cake

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Over the holidays when I was staying at my parents' house, my friend and I had plans to spend a day at the spa for her birthday. Unfortunately we had to cancel our appointments since there was such a bad storm that we were terrified to get on the road. We ended up having a long, leisurely day of doing nothing - lounging by the fire, playing board games, and hanging out. And to our delight, my mom surprised her by baking the most epic birthday cake (from Cook's Illustrated) either of us had ever tasted. It's a classic white cake with buttercream frosting, but with a layer of toasted almonds and raspberry jam that gives it amazing depth. I made one last week - there were no birthdays or anything in particular to celebrate, but "flood cake" turned out to be just what we needed to make an average day feel special.

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