Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Curse of the Cake

I think I have been targeted by some sort of birthday cake curse that threatens the success of my baking efforts year after year.  When Graham turned two, I labeled his cake with more than one "two", resulting in a "happy 22nd birthday" cake that any young adult with a Mickey fetish would be proud to claim.

Cael's birthday cake that year seemed to go off without a hitch until we sat down to enjoy my efforts and Cael informed me that the cake tasted "so, so, so yucky".


And when I tackled Graham's cake a couple of weeks ago, all went well until the eleventh hour when the weight of the top tier crushed the cake below.

Sure, one could argue that these issues were of my own doing, but I think a curse seems totally plausible.  It's almost Halloween, right?

From the moment I developed a concept for Cael's fifth birthday cake, I seemed to hit roadblocks around every corner.  It is often said that God opens and closes doors, and if that is the case, God must really not like Chocolate Fudge CakeOr maybe Betty Crocker.  How much do we know about her anyway?

It all began Saturday when I devoted my only free morning to baking.  Wait-- that's not quite correct.  I had planned to devote my morning to baking, but instead I spent nearly an hour reconstructing my children's bedroom after Hurricane Cael-trina and Tropical Storm Graham put the entire contents in a blender and spread them across the floor and walls.  Every minute I spent flipping mattresses and unknotting flat sheets was a minute I could have been baking, so when I finally found myself back in the kitchen, I felt even more pressure to get the cake done quickly.

Given that I needed two large round cakes and two small round cakes, I planned to bake them all at once in multiple pans.  But could I find the second set of pans?  Of course not.  So instead of baking the cakes simultaneously, it took twice as long and the cakes weren't completed and cooled until lunch time when I thought I'd have moved on to the decorating stage.

But the kids had to eat.  And not cake, despite their protests.  So I took a break to make lunch and take a shower because no one wants to eat food prepared by someone who has been standing for 800 consecutive hours without bathing.  So while I took a few minutes for myself during Graham's nap, the curse struck, and Graham woke up.  Possessed by whatever supernatural entity causes three year-olds to act like three year-olds, Graham decided that it would be a great idea to eat some cake as a brief afternoon snack.  But Graham has specific tastes and apparently the center is the filet mignon of the cake, so he took a sweaty handful of chocolate fudge cake right from the middle.

Normally it wouldn't matter, but this time I wanted a point at the top of that cake.  Because what was I making?  A volcano.

I had to do some surgical work on the cake to create a shape that would still be useable.  And in one of the only curse-free positive points to the experience, I remembered to add support to the cake so that the weight of the volcano tier wouldn't crush the dinosaurs frolicking below. 

Been there, done that.  See above.

I worked on the cake gradually throughout the day, but with the boys hanging on my ankles, it was difficult to get much accomplished.  I was anxious for Joel to return home from deer hunting (it was opening weekend, people) to take the kids off my hands.  And then I got a text.


Because of Daddy's absence, it was clear I wouldn't be getting much work done until Cael and Graham were asleep in bed.  But when that point rolled around, I was physically and mentally exhausted and daunted by the idea of trying to recreate in fondant the image of the cake that was taunting my in my head. 

I crawled in bed around 2:30am-- aching, sticky and shaking from tasting one too many fingers-full of buttercream frosting.  And still, despite my efforts, the cake wasn't done.  Maybe it was the curse, maybe it was the children.  Maybe it was the apple cider with rum I'd nursed throughout the night. Whatever was to blame for the many roadblocks I'd hit that day, one thing was certain.  I was gonna have to work my prehistoric tail off to finish the cake for Cael's party...

4 comments:

  1. oh man! I've walked into the girls' rooms too many times and seen a similiar disaster! Usually my response is to close the door and pretend it's not there :-P

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    1. I've tried that. The only problem is that when I walk away, I only guarantee that the disaster gets worse...

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  2. I have the same curse when it comes to cookies lately. I swear... if it's not Averie keeping me from getting it done, it's the cat, who NEVER jumps on the table, who decides to jump on and destroy half of the cookies and royal icing. It would figure this would kick in as soon as I started to take paid orders. I really don't want anymore 2, 3 (or 5 AM!) baking/icing sessions. I love making them, but not more than I love sleep!!

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    1. I totally agree... Sometimes I feel like I'm asking for trouble!

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Leave your own "ism". Cael and Graham double-dog dare you.