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[Photographs: Carrie Vasios]

Summer birthdays need some extra love. People born in the June through August period are probably still traumatized by never being able to bring cupcakes into their middle school class, still scarred by all those poorly attended birthday parties when their parents would have to explain, "We're sorry Bobby, but all your friends are out of town. Here, take an extra turn at the pinata."

But the worst part? They have to deal with birthday cake imposters. You know, ice cream sundaes, popsicles, and the like. Especially as adults, these poor summer babies have to sit back and watch as their friends ask the waiter to put some candles in a piece of flan. They have to just sit there as an awkward amount of candles start to melt into into a bowl of tiramisu (cazzo! the wax!) and then pretend like they think that's even close to as good as a cake.

So let's get one thing straight: only birthday cake is birthday cake! And this birthday cake is awesome.

First, three layers of moist lemon cake are frosted with a tart lemon buttercream. You can decrease the amount of lemon if you like, but I love the intense citrus flavor and the way it cuts against the buttery cake.

As a nod to summer, the cake interior makes use of seasonal berries. I used raspberries for the first layer and strawberries for the second, though blackberries or blueberries would be just as welcome. Because they're ripe, the berries don't need any added sugar. They provide a deep red fruitiness and a bit of freshness to the cake.

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Top the cake with a simple scattering of berries around the rim. There will inevitably be ooh-ing and ahh-ing when the first slice of cake is cut, revealing the hidden layers of fruit.

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