Saturday, July 18, 2009

the ugliest cake

allen will be coming home this evening from a week long mission trip in alabama.
while he was away, his 40th birthday came and went.
i was raised being an 'on the day' person, meaning we celebrate the event on the day; not the day before or the day after, but the day of. the big party with friends could be on the weekend or whatever, but we always did something on the day. my birthday is on the 16th of may. i dont want to celebrate on the 14th or 18th or the 20th. i was born on the 16th. get it?
allen is completely the opposite. he doesnt really mind if celebrate at all, let alone on the day. having been married for almost 8 years now, and to a youth pastor no less (i.e. busy!), i've learned to get over it...for the most part. :)
all that being said, he's usually gone on his birthday with summer being his busiest season, and this year is no different.
however, this year is the big 4-0, and i was a bit sad actually to not be able to celebrate this one on the day.

to make up for the 'miss out' colby decided we should have a cake ready for daddy when he gets home tonight. we've been talking about it for weeks; what kind of cake we should make for daddy. colby finally settled on a baseball cake (like the actual field with players and everything, not a cake that looks like a baseball. that would have just been too easy, wouldnt it?) because its allens favorite sport, and because colby plays t-ball (thats somehow related). he got pretty extravagant in his plans for the cake, and i had to dumb it down a little for my sake. i'm a cook, yes, but not in any way a baker. but i thought, 'how hard can it be?'

we went to the grocery store yesterday to stock up on all our cake decorating supplies. we had quite a time deciding on white cake or yellow cake, should we do the field with colored icing or sprinkles? we decided icing is more pleasant to consume in large quantities than sprinkles are, and made our selections accordingly. we also found some candles that look like baseballs to arrange in the center, or maybe around the outside "like a fence", colby said.

this morning after colbys tball game we came home and got the cakes in the oven.
then we decorated the entryway so when daddy comes home "he'll see that we're celebrating and we can jump out and yell surprise in the dark!" (colbys interpretation)
happy birthday sign: check
balloons: check
streamer curtain: check
and just in time to take the cakes out of the oven. everything is going so well!

once again i know absolutely nothing about cake decorating except what i've seen on food network Challenge and Ace of Cakes, and lets face it, i'm no chef duff.

when the cakes came out of the oven, i put them in the refrigerator to get them nice and firm in order to spread the icing.
i was able to put the bottom cake on the plate and ice it with only minor issues.
then came the top layer (insert scary music, dun dun dun).
i dont know what i was thinking...actually i knew exactly what i was thinking. it was all poofed up, like cakes do when you bake them; they rise in the center, so i took a large knife and expertly shaved off the top layer of cake to make it level. i've seen them do it on t.v., so i'm feeling pretty good about myself.
then i go to spread on the frosting.
first of all i have no plan as to how to get the two different colors on the cake and make it all look fabulously like a baseball diamond, but, little to my knowledge, that was the least of my issues.
i just dove right in the with chocolate frosting and immediately i knew i was doomed. the cake and frosting all started rolling up onto each other, and before i realized what was happening, the top of the cake was mutilated and i had this crumby frosting mass on the end of my spreader.
the kids are standing there to 'help', and my first thought was, 'i can blame this on them! i can tell allen they decorated it and thats why it looks, well, like preschoolers got ahold of it . then its a cute ugly cake rather than a poor attempt at a legit bday cake.'
but no.
i can admit defeat.
i fought the cake and the cake won.
colby had a small meltdown when he realized his mommy is a cake loser and would not be able to produce the masterpiece he had envisioned in his head.
i told him he could put the men on the cake and all was well in the world again.
so we moved forward with the decorating as if nothing were wrong. i squirted some green icing on and mutilated the other half of the cake to match the chocolate half, colby placed the little figures on (in totally the wrong places), and molly stuck the baseball candles in.

and when daddy gets home we will have a wonderful birthday celebration with our ugly cake...made with love and way too high expectations.

yeah, a big chunk fell off, so i just kind of shoved it back on next to the poorly placed pitcher.


sara said...

the best part of this cake is that you will remember it ALWAYS! and when colby is older this is one of the memories he will talk about......remember when we tried to make that cake for dad......the ugliest cake will turn into the sweetest memory!!!

happy 40th to your hubby!

Dawn said...

LOL... I've had my share of cake disasters. (One very recently!)

I actually worked in a bakery and decorated. I picked up a few tricks. So, for future reference...

Bake the cake the day ahead of when you want to frost and it and freeze it. (Wrapped in plastic wrap.) Decorate it while still frozen. Much easier to handle and frost. (FYI... almost all bakeries decorate their cakes frozen - that's why they are sometimes cold when you pick them up - they defrost very quickly.)

When you've shaved a "poof" off a cake, always place the cut side down.

Make a small batch of frosting slightly thinner than you would usually use it. This is for your "crumb coating." Frost it very, very thin and then let the frosting set up. THEN, you can frost it with the "real" frosting. Doing the crumb coating first "traps" all the crumbs and keeps them from getting into your decorating frosting.

Know what? It will taste all the same anyway and you've created great family memories!!!

KALDesign said...

But I am sure it tasted wonderful and Daddy Allen was thrilled.

Audrey and Company said...

It is the thought that counts anyways!