Saturday, August 27, 2011

Anatomy of a Birthday Cake

So, I made Noah a birthday cake.  Yeah, no big except for my compulsion to make Complicated! Character! Cakes! complete with multiple decorating tips and practicing shell borders and what not.  Actually, it's become sort of a tradition in our house: each child picks their birthday theme and I procure the baking pan necessary to transform their hearts' desire into edible reality.  Or I pick because I'm pretty damn sure that Wilton does not make a Super Martian Robot Girl cake pan and I'm also fairly certain that is what Noelle will pick this year and Bzzz! Snap! GAH.

This year for Noah we went with Blue's Clues and I'm sure that this will surprise absolutely no one. 

But Mommy, I love Blue so much.  Crap.
But, how does one accomplish this with a full time out of the house job and no motivation after 8:30 pm Oh Masochistic One with No Discernible Artistic Talent Whatsoever?  I'm so glad that you asked as I shall tell you.  And then you may commit me to Sheppard Pratt post haste.

First up, the cake.  Actually, first you have to find the damn cake pan on as it's no longer being produced of course even though the show that landed the character in your life is shown daily on NickJR and then hope to god that 1) it's actually in semi-decent condition, 2) won't require the sale of a kidney and 3) arrives sooner than the day before the party.

No, I'm not bitter.  Why do you ask?

Therefore Step 1B becomes actually making the cake which I do with the few remaining brain cells remaining after work/dinner/play/bath/bedtime and a beer (or two or three) thrown in for good measure.  I of course didn't take a picture of the naked cake but trust me, we had a very naked and forlorn cake in our kitchen for a couple of days.  No Duh step 1C: cover the cake so it doesn't dry out.  You will only make this mistake once.  I guarantee it.

Now you have the cake all prepped so now it's time to assemble the 80 million icing colors, tips, couplers and decorating bags. I'm only slightly exaggerating here. I kid you not, this thing required 3 different shades of blue.  (Not to be outdone, Noelle's last birthday cake called for 3 different shades of grey.  For Diego's SHOE.  I still can't talk about it without twitching.)

The coffee is necessary as it was too early for beer

We are now ready to decorate!  The damn dog is blue.  So how many different colored icings were required?  7.  SEVEN.  FOR A BLUE DOG.


Any good decorator (read: parent hack) knows that you should follow the directions exactly except for when they make no sense.  Which they frequently don't so either throw caution to the wind and DO WHAT MAKES SENSE or invest in a lot of different tips and couplers.  YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.

I'm the ghost of cartoon characters in endless reruns
Yay!  The sides and blank spaces are done!  We are rockin' now!  Let's get this party started with something easy.

I don't remember the episode where Blue goes to the office but okay
I'm feeling more accomplished by the second but you know what this is missing?  Yeah, you guessed it, some blue.  We should fix that.

Much better
This is the first point where I deviated from the directions.  GASP.  I know but hear me out; the darker colored spots weren't apparent on the cake even though according to the cake pan they should have been so in reality, they forced me to do this. 

Zombie Dog: coming to an office near you
I sustained an injury to my wrist about 12 years ago at work that results in weakness and fatigue whenever I do a lot of repetitive motions with that hand.  It's probably a good thing that I'm not a guy.  I'm just sayin'.  Why this fascinating segue?  Squeezing hundreds of itty bitty stars to cover the dog may not have been my smartest move ever. 

Noah, you better damn well appreciate this.

The finish line, it's in sight!

I mock you with my off center tongue
Crap, not the finish line.  I hate it when I confuse that with Pit Road.  At this point I just wanted to be done so voila, the finished cake:

You see that printing? That's me.  Yeah, believe it.
So why do I go to these lengths to make a cake when buying a ready-made one, even a special order one (from Giant people - love Charm City Cakes but am NOT dropping a grand on a birthday cake for a toddler.  Ain't gonna happen.) is probably more cost effective?  Well, my mom always made our birthday cakes and I'll readily cop to a bit of Mommy Guilt over having to work.  As if a homemade cake will even things out on the cosmic scale but it makes me feel a little more connected and present.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go freeze the cake as there is a hurricane just itching to sit on our heads.  I'll let you know how this turns out.

I'm not cancelling the pizza yet

1 comment:

  1. Your cake is AMAZING! Really! I would never in a million years attempt it. I don't have the patience for that. You rock!!!!


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