Saturday, April 28, 2012

Nothing to do with boats- The Birthday Cake

This post has nothing to do with the boat, or sailing or the sea. Sometimes I like to write about our life just so I do not forget it in years to come. This is one of those posts. Tomorrow, boat. Today, other stuff.

I have previously mentioned the fact that I am not crafty. I often have great ideas, its just that I don't possess the necessary hand skills to execute my brilliant ideas. This might be one reason I married Mark. Not only does he have great ideas but he can execute them perfectly. I on the other hand, can usually complete a project to a reasonable level of quality if I have time to redo said project over and over again. With kids and most especially a toddler, time is a luxury I do not have.

I think I've also mentioned that plotting holidays and celebrations on a calendar are also not one of my strong suits. We are not Catholic but my kids have often celebrated all 12 days of Christmas with Santa arriving to our domicile on Epiphany because I usually remember Christmas is coming up sometime around December 23rd. This is why when Kitty started receiving birthday cards 3 days before her birthday I finally checked the calendar and started to panic.

 I know she doesn't really know what day it is or what a birthday is but I felt pretty horrible about not planning ANYTHING for the poor kid. Turning 2 is a big deal around here. People throw pretty lavish Martha Stewart type shindigs for their toddlers and I had not even managed to get the kid a cupcake. I thought I would make it up to her by making a fantastic cake for her. One that she would help me bake and decorate because her favorite thing in the world to do is what ever we are doing and if it involves tools and paint brushes, even better. So armed with determination to ensure that years from now Kitty would have photos of her fabulous birthday cake as evidence of her parents adoration, we went to the local Martha Minion Mart and procured the necessary tools. While we were there, Kitty became entranced with the sugar bees and ladybirds and it was her desire to have a bumble bee cake that inspired  the design for her cake. We would make her a garden cake, complete with vines and flowers for the bees and ladybirds to rest on. It would be adorned with a 2 on top festooned with flowers and because Kitty is a girl who likes her chocolate it would of course be a dark chocolate cake.

Day one was fairly successful. Kitty loved mixing all the ingredients for her cake. We did have a moment of disappointment when she saw the bag of flour with the cupcake on it. If the bag has a cupcake on it it MUST contain cupcakes. I tried to explain to her that it was not in fact powdered cupcakes but she would not believe me until I finally told her to go ahead and eat it if she did not believe me. The utter look of disappointment coupled with distaste on her face when she discovered that flour tastes nothing like cupcakes was hard to take. We did end up with a bit of a crunchy textured cake thanks to Kitty's overly enthusiastic cracking of eggs but a little eggshell never hurt anyone. I managed to bake the layer without burning anything, got the layers leveled, filling spread, cake assembled, crumb coating on and popped the cake in the refrigerator to await decoration the next day. I was feeling like a crafty GODDESS! Check out my mad crumb coating skills. I'll see your cupcake cozies Martha and raise you one perfectly iced chocolate cake. BOO YA!

Day two saw us with an assist from Maura. I told her my carefully planned idea for the design of the cake and we got busy mixing fondant, rolling it out and smoothing it on the cake. There were one or two instances of tiny fingers poking holes in the cake but we weren't trying for perfection. Kitty and Maura cut out the fondant into flower shapes and began adding a bit of highlight to each one. Kitty thought cake making was the greatest thing ever. As they worked, I began the formation and attachment of the vine. It was here that things went terribly wrong.

I carefully attached the vines to the cake, undulating the vines around and carefully forming a big 2 on top of the cake. I stepped back to admire my artistry when I noticed that something was off. It did not look like the fresh, spring like cake I saw in my head. The colors were wrong, or the scale, or...I didn't know it was just off. Maura looked up and walked over to stand beside me and appraise my work.

 "Mom. It looks like poop." she said. "I know Maura, something's just not right about it..." I replied. " No Mom. The brown vines look like ACTUAL Poop. And what's really bad is you have made a huge number 2 on the top in brown poop fondant" she informed me with stunning accuracy. I was aghast. This was NOT the vision I had in my head. I had made my beautiful little Kitty a poop covered cake to celebrate her birthday. Happy birthday. DIG IN EVERYONE!

We tried to add texture to the vines but that did not work. Fondant is like epoxy (HA! boat refit reference) in that it has a distinct workable time frame after which any texture added will fade away before your eyes. We tried to remove the poop vines but there was no way to do that without tearing out all the work we had already done. There was nothing for it bit to add more flowers. And then more flowers and yet more flowers in an attempt to cover up the offending design.
 In the end, the cake looked like a technicolor, acid induced nightmare. Kitty adored it beyond belief. She asked to see it over and over again, wanted to touch it and admire it. To her, it was the most amazing cake in the world. The next day, after a brisk sail we sang to her and cut the cake. Once you peeled off the embellishments, there was a really tasty, moist cake (although a bit crunchy in places) hiding beneath. I suppose it could have been worse. I easily could have burned the cake or made it too dry or any number or culinary mishaps could have occurred. Embellished with poop but tasty somehow seems to be an accomplishment to be proud of.

Happy birthday Fiona-whom-we-call-Kitty-and-love-with-all-our-hearts. Next year we will definitely make a big cake with you but next year, I think we will stick to a polka dot cake. Polka dots are safe. Right?


  1. First of all - that girl! She is a gem! She's grown so so so much in the past few months and is gorgeous and so full of spark and wonder. Then Miss Maura and her sharp wit. I laughed my drink out of my nose. Too funny! I think the cake look fabulous my dear. Well done! I don't even attempt cakes. Never have. No thank you. I stand in awe of your poop garden.
    Happy Birthday Kitty and you too Cid :)

  2. Kitty's hair is getting so long!! Gorgeous girls you have. And that cake rocks.

  3. Awwww! Happy birthday to her! And the poop cake looks very pretty!

  4. Happy belated birthday to Kitty. The cake looks great. I don't do cakes, never had it in me...She looks so happy, that's all that matters.

  5. LMFAO...It had everything I had to contain the laughter at work reading this produced. And yes, I am laughing at you. Perhaps a lovely green color would have been best for the vine?

    Aside from the lurking poo, the other adornments are perfect!!! so cute.

    I highly recommend printing this blog post to keep with the photos of the cake so Kitty can one day appreciate just how much her event made the world laugh.

    Also you should write some kind of comedy book, I find you is truly unique.