Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Colds and Cakes

I may have failed to mention that it was my birthday yesterday. Happy day to me! The kids gave me a cold.

I actually started to feel sick this weekend. Enough that I canceled my usual Monday morning volunteer gig. Harper was with Matt's mom for the afternoon (visiting Matt's grandma, who also celebrated a birthday yesterday) and I had grand plans of napping while Michael napped. I ended up dozily watching television (I have a serious addiction to our DVR) between happy birthday phone calls. With the phone, email, Facebook, and even the USPS I had lots of birthday messages yesterday and I have to say it is really nice when your birthday reminds you that you have a large network of wonderful friends and family.

Matt and the kids gave me an iPod Classic for my birthday - which is a generous and awesome gift. Seriously, spoiled much?

You may remember that I got an iPod Nano a few years ago, but it was only 4GB which seemed fine at the time - I was so happy to have it and it has served me well - but has been making me sad because, according to iTunes, my music collection hovers above 30GB. Even when I spent hours trying to choose only my absolute favorite songs I would have to randomly cut out more than half to them to make a set that fit on that first iPod. NOW I can gleefully carry all my music, probably add a digital file of UP, get audio books from the library, AND subscribe to my favorite NPR podcasts and have room for all of it. Yippee!!!

I am a very happy camper. I can even forgive the kids the side of sinus pressure/cough/throat full of razors that came with it.


And now - the cake drama.

First of all, let's review that I make the kids' cakes because I can't buy them from a bakery due to nut allergies. I mean, I do kind of like the idea of making them cakes from scratch, (Which, this year, required the use of egg whites for the love of Pete!) but my decorating skills rarely live up to my vision and I find myself thankful that the kids aren't too picky.

This year Harper wanted a cake with a yellow layer, a pink layer, and blue frosting. I was so thrilled that she didn't want me to make a cake in the shape of anything! So I whipped up a batch of cake batter and poured it into my very thoroughly greased and floured cake pans and the yellow layer came out nicely and then pink layer came out in about five pieces.

And then I cried in the middle of the kitchen.

And then I sent Matt for more eggs.

And then I started again.

I made two more pink layers and NEITHER of them came out cleanly. And I'd had a seasoned baker (i.e. not me) do the greasing and flouring. My conclusion is that my cake pans are lousy. One out of four is not an acceptable ratio of successful cakes, you know?

Anyway - the second and third pink layers were intact enough that we just decided to try to work with them. Many baking sins can be covered with copious amounts of frosting. Here is Uncle Joe assembling the pieces of the top layer, note that part of the layer is on the cake and part is still in his hands:

We ended up including both of the pink layers from the second batch, making a HUGE cake. It took nearly four batches of frosting to cover that thing. And then, per Harper's request, we added some princess sprinkles. Here is the final product after the candles has been extinguished:

And a shot of one of the cake slices on a party plate:

And a cake cross-section:

In the end, it was fine, but this is not the first birthday where I've had to do the cake over. I find re-baking to be a discouraging experience. And I would like for the cake to be better than fine. Oh well. As long as the children want birthday cake I will keep trying. I have until March to come up with my next cake plan.


bluedaisy said...

The cake is lovely- I really like how the layers look in mixed colors :) And while you have to make the cake at home, it's still makes you a super-mom b/c you put so much effort into making it perfectly...so you get lots of kudos in my book even if it is forced situation! Hope you feel better soon--I am fighting off a cold thanks to two snotty children & am hoping to sidestep it...but we'll see!

Hillary or Ryan said...

Happy Birthday! I am so sorry that I didn't wish you a happy birthday yesterday! Hope you had a wonderful day and that you get healthy soon! I love the cake...even if it took many attempts. I'm planning to make Dirt Cake cupcakes for Grady to take to daycare next week. And then I'm planning on some kind of cake for his actual birthday. We'll see how well I do. :)

Emily said...

I was scrolling through the pictures and Katy said, "Oooooo! That's pretty!!" She's right. :)

And speaking of music - I was digging through my DVD's last night looking for an exercise one (ugh) and I found a Dar Williams that belongs to you! I will try my darndest to remember it the next time I see you/send you something.

Jen said...

The cake looks great, both inside and out! I'm decent at decorating cakes, but thankfully, my mom lives close and takes great pride in making birthday cakes for her grandchildren. She's been doing it for 30+ years and is way more creative than I am.

Sorry that you were sick on your birthday. I was sick over Jacob's birthday weekend at the beginning of the month. Made it through his party, but spent his actual birthday on the couch. Hope you are feeling better soon! Enjoy your new iPod!

Chris said...

The cake looks great! But I understand your frustration. Perhaps Santa will bring new cake pans?

Jin said...

How about lining the cake pans with parchment paper beforehand? Anyway, sorry you have a cold. I'm working with Zicam and would like to share with you a coupon for $2 off Zicam Extreme Congestion Relief Nasal Gel. Visit http://bit.ly/aZLzSy for the coupon. :)

CARRIE said...

I think your cake looks great, but I think I would just present a big mound of cake crumbs before I'd bake again after that. Kudos to you for being so dedicated (or crazy).....whatever. ;)

Mommy Daisy said...

It did turn out cute, but what an ordeal. I have some awesome cake pans (Pampered Chef), and when I bought them years ago I got a checkerboard insert for them too. It's a lot of fun to make a checkerboard cake with different colors.

Just in case, here is the link for the cake pans that I have. They are awesome! I bake a lot, so that should be with telling you how awesome they are. :D