September 12, 2013 by talkaboutyork
I apologise if my last two posts have been melancholic. Today we shall move onto something that should make everyone – except possibly those on a diet – smile. Cake!
Birthday cake to be specific. I have spent years being a Very Nice Mum and making my children birthday cakes. I have only bought a birthday cake once. That was last year for my son’s seventh birthday. We’d just moved house and I had no working kitchen as the house was a build site and I had no idea where my baking stuff was and even if I did, the cake would have just been covered in dust, not the icing sugar kind.
This same child is about to turn eight. He would like me to make this cake:
Now admittedly he asked for this cake because in a fit of guilt (I have done very little for his birthday so far) I suddenly dug out my recipe books and showed it to him. And now he wants it. I know that I could probably convince him to skip cake entirely by waving strawberries and cream under his nose instead, but somehow making my children’s birthday cakes has become a right of passage. There are not many more years left where I can make novelty cakes that look shit and get away with it. So I should probably keep at it while I can. But can I really be bothered??? While I mull that over, let me show you some of my previous creations.
Please judge them based on the love put into them and the thought behind them, rather than on technical execution (I will never make it into the GBBO tent).
There was the pirate ship cake for our pirate themed party which I managed to pimp up with the use of sails and accessories but which my husband told me looked more like the Exxon Valdez.
There was my car themed cake for our jeep racing party. I was relatively impressed with this one although I don’t know how you stop ready to roll icing from looking dull/dusty.
Ah yes. The Lion cake for our safari party. I still think it looks like an Alsatian that has been shot, but c’est la vie.
Then it was the turn of the Superheroes vs Aliens party cake. Simple enough – two rectangles covered in very bright ready to roll icing with the addition of sweets. Any cake with sweets is a winner in the eyes of children (if not the parents who have to deal with the e-number induced hit from all the blue icing).
Speaking of sweets on cakes, this cake was made for son1’s ten pin bowling party because I wasn’t going to tackle skittles or a bowling ball cake. Covered with a chocolate ganache and smarties, it was by far the tastiest cake for kids that I have ever made. And it was kinda easy too. But it failed on novelty value. Kids don’t appreciate chocolate ganache.
The Harry Potter party. What a lot of work that was. What with making up potions, recreating Honeydukes sweetie emporium, making wands and house badges, the cake had to be done in a rush. So the Hogwarts castle looks a little as though it has been caught in a windstorm with its leaning turrets, but it was jolly hard to make it look pretty (I don’t do pretty).
This was my older son’s 8th birthday cake. He wanted a movie and sleepover party so I made this. I have to say that by this point I was getting the hang of it – simple rectangle cake with simple yet effective decorations. Minimum effort, maximum results.
Younger child turns 6 and has an army themed party. Mother really can’t be arsed so opts for basic cupcakes with a plastic tank to add decoration. Do you see how the effort levels are starting to slide?
Last year when oldest child turned 9 he said he didn’t want a cake, just chocolate brownies. So I was very happy to oblige by making a tray of chocolate brownies covered with chocolate buttons and chocolate chunks. They loved eating it (and actually ate it rather than leaving it in a napkin on the back seat of their parents car only to be discovered months later covered in mould….) and it was easy. By now I was on the slippery slope to apathy in the home-made cake making department.
Until at last we arrive at this time last year with the store bought haribo covered, e-number laced creation. Ta Da! The effort transformation was complete.
So now do I really want to go back to being a good mother again? I feel the answer to this will lie in my ability to find ready to roll icing on my walk on the way to school….