There are a number of things in life that I’m spectacularly bad at.
If you need help with anything to do with numbers or reading maps, for example, I’m definitely not your girl.
That’s okay though. I’ve accepted that I’m challenged in those areas and have moved on with life.
I will not, however, accept that I am spectacularly bad at baking my girls beautiful cakes for their birthdays.
Call it denial, call it what you will, but I refuse to let the cake win. I will not give in.
My Dad is an ex-baker and my Mum was a superstar at recreating the Women’s Weekly cakes for my birthdays when I was a kid. I live in hope that some of that talent will eventually rub off on me 🙂
I’m the first to admit that I have a bad track record with baking special occasion cakes. There was Curly-locks’ first birthday cake which critics claimed resembled a giant penis, baby Smiley’s Christening cake which turned out like a scary lopsided mess, and Curly-locks’ Snow White cake which made the beautiful Disney princess look like she had a bad case of cellulite.
There is no denying that last weekend while making baby Smiley’s first birthday cake, I was on the verge of surrender. I cursed my mum’s vintage Women’s Weekly birthday cake book and swore that if I owned an apron I would have thrown it in. I was disappointed and frustrated with myself. Just like my Grandmother said to me when she tried to teach me to knit, ‘Why can you not get this?’
I had chosen what I thought was a relatively easy cake to bake – a bunny rabbit cake. It involved baking three round cakes, one for the tummy, one for the head, and the last to make the ears and paws. Who could stuff that up?
It turns out I could stuff that up. It was one disaster after another, with chocolate cake crumbs through my white icing and an incident which involved using red food colouring rather than pink to colour the bunny’s ears.
Rather than looking like a sweet bunny, it looked like a zombie rabbit from a horror flick.
I was on the verge of throwing the cake out when Miss Three asked to have a look. In a soft voice filled with awe she said, ‘It’s great, Mum. So amazing.’ She then gave me a high five.
She didn’t notice that the bunny looked like it was bleeding from the ears, she didn’t notice that I used blue smarties instead of brown for the eyes, she didn’t notice that the liquorice was too thick, she didn’t notice that the coconut I’d covered the cake in was about two inches deep to hide the flaws beneath. She thought it was awesome and that’s all that matters.
So that is why, my friends, I will not throw in my apron.
I picture my girls at my age preparing to make their own kids’ birthday cakes. They will flick through their old photo albums and laugh about the crazy creations I dished up year after year.
It will be the memories of the cakes made with love that will be carried through to the next generation, not whether or not they were an exact replica of a cake in a magazine.
Do you make cakes for your kids’ birthdays? Are you as hopeless as I am? What are you spectacularly bad at?