Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Star-Spangled Seven

My apologies to everyone who might still be checking in on my blog-- after last weekend I've been living in a bit of a haze (sleep, baby, and dessert related) since Cael's birthday last Saturday.

If you've followed the blog, you know our birthday routine.  The kids choose the theme of their cake, I spend two or three weeks thinking about it and revising my plan only to have them change their mind from some clever, original idea to an overdone media character a few days before the event.  So when Cael requested an "America" cake back in July after the fanfare of Independence Day, I jumped at the opportunity and did what I could to prevent him from switching to Mr. Freeze or some complicated Transformer.

 "Mom, can you make me a ridiculously time-consuming cake that turns into a set of luggage or a VW peace bus?

No I can't.

When last Thursday rolled around and Cael was still confident in his choice, I baked the cakes and mixed up my homemade fondant.  I knew that I wanted the base layer to be red and the top cake to be blue, but when I added (and added, and added...) my red gel food coloring, I found that it took nearly 2/3 of the bottle in order to truly achieve a believable shade of red.  What I didn't know, however, was that large quantities of food coloring can affect the elasticity of the fondant, and when I went to roll it out, it consistently ripped and was completely unusable.  I needed to buy some pre-made red fondant which was okay, because I'm also always on the lookout for an excuse to go to Hobby Lobby.

Seriously, they have everything.

I spent all of my free minutes Friday alternating between trying to coax the very dry store fondant into submission, and working to color and sculpt the Statue of Liberty from gumpaste.  I chose gumpaste rather than fondant because it dries hard like clay and because I'm a glutton for punishment.  And cake, as it were.

I wasn't too confident that I could actually pull off the statue, but I didn't have many other options.  When a seven year-old wants a patriotic cake, there aren't many American symbols at one's disposal.  My first instinct was to carve Mt. Rushmore into the side of the top tier, but if the faces weren't recognizable I'd be left with a grayish mound of whatisthat that would not enthuse my son.  I also considered the Liberty Bell, the US Capitol building, the Golden Gate Bridge, a display with pilgrims and lots of buckles, a small diorama of the Boston tea party ( complete with tea packets), or in honor of Columbus Day, a detailed scene showing the escalating tension between the Native Americans and the white man determined to acquire and develop the rich soil of North America at any cost.

See what I mean?  Statue of Liberty it was.

So I got to work sculpting layers as quickly as possible because gumpaste dries very quickly, and after reaching a color I liked and getting a basic body shape on my support dowel, I was left with something that better represented an Easter Island sculpture than the Statue of Liberty.

But I persisted and, by about 2am (much earlier than I retired when working on Graham's cake) I headed off to bed with the statue completed and the Presidential seal affixed to the side of the cake. 

This cake is actually much simpler than others that I have done, and I will simply gloss over Lady Liberty's laughable disproportion before saying that I am proud of myself for pulling her off. 

Cael had a great night and got lots of gifts and books and enough Lego/Transformer objects to ensure I'll never walk barefoot in the house at night again.

Then we lit the cake with some less-than-bombastic sparkler candles and sang "Happy Birthday" and after, Joel led us in an enthusiastic and spontaneous rendition of "God Bless America".  I thought strongly about starting in on "You're A Grand Old Flag" but decided against it.  I was too distracted by the statue's charring hand to give the song my best effort.

As much as I love trying to create something my boys will love on their birthdays, I am relieved to have them behind me.  Now things can get back to normal and I can pack away my cake gear until next fall.  Because Adler doesn't really need a life-sized plush bunny cake, right?

No comments:

Post a Comment

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