While we enjoyed playing hooky and eating breakfast donuts for my daughter’s birthday, every year we also surprise our kids on the day of their birthday party with a homemade cake because when my son was two years old, I said: I want to make his cake.
I had never baked anything in my life, but my attitude around a lot of things is: If she can do, I can do it. But my attitude is also: I’m not special. So if I can do it, you can do it. Which is part of why I’m posting this. I don’t bake every week or even every month. If I really feel like cookies and I’m too lazy to go to the store, I can bake cookies. But guess what? Nine times out of ten, they look funny. And yes, I can make frosting in ten minutes because all frosting takes ten minutes and any cookbook has a decent recipe for buttercream frosting. Mostly, add more butter and shortening and sugar than you think is safe for a human to consume and it will taste wonderful.
This year, we decided to make a My Little Pony, Pinkie Pie (because she throws all the best parties), six-layer rainbow cake.
We started around 7:30 p.m. the night before the party (everyone asks how long it took us so I’m just getting this out-of-the-way).
We were in bed by 12:30 a.m., which is better than I expected. We also ran out of frosting and out of Pinkie Pie (I thought N had one we could use but she didn’t) so Scott had to run out twice to Target and I almost fell asleep once.
While I’m proud of our awesome cake from this year and I have five years of experience making fun-tastic cakes for my kids, my best hints are to bake with a buddy and a good attitude.
YOU CAN DO IT. Have fun. When all else fails, add lots of candy and dye the frosting your kids’ favorite color. Oh and if the cake goes sideways, make it Jabba the Hutt. (Thanks C for that hint.)
PS. One of my favorite cake-making memory is the year I decided that I was too stressed to bake the cake or make the frosting so we would just buy a white sheet cake and focus on decorating it. I felt bad until a HURRICANE CAME RAINING DOWN UPON US, and we, along with most of our city, had no electricity the night we would’ve baked my son’s cake.
Instead we decorated by headlamp, and my son had a cake for his 5th birthday party. Good thing I hadn’t set my standard by “homemade is best” or “but I do THIS THING every year” or “what will so-and-so think” because his smile, when a racetrack with Mario and Luigi was set down in front of him, was worth more than living up to made-up ideas that the weather mocked and about which he couldn’t have cared less.
Sometimes not baking a cake means everything works out even better.
Because people asked, here’s where we got everything:
The candy is from our local candy shop the Sweet Spot.
The dye and our newest frosting spreader are from A.C. Moore.
The cake mix is Betty Crocker and the frosting recipe is a mix of the recipe book How to Cook Everything (looks like a revised version is out as well), Betty Crocker and my taste buds.