When I was a girl, my mother made the most amazing birthday cakes for us, amazing confections of cake and sugar. It was, for me, a part of the definition of motherhood. Moms make dinner, say prayers, love you, make spectacular cakes.
I don't make amazing cakes. In fact, I've made very few birthday cakes for my children at all. Our local grocery store does a good job, they're cheap, and I'm too scared to do it. In my chicken-hearted defense, I've attempted cakes in the past and it has always been catastrophic.
When my first child turned one, I made the new mommy mistake of throwing a giant extravaganza in our small house. We invited 40 people for a dinner I was determined to cook with a cake I would expertly whip together. I finished the caked the morning of the party, and it was darn cute. It was Winnie-the-Pooh. It melted 2 hours before the party. The heat of the kitchen from dinner for 40 turned that darling cake into a pile of chocolate soggy glop.
When she turned 4, I screwed up my courage to try it again. She wanted a princess tea party. I made petit fours. Four dozen pink, purple and white individually iced cakes. I was the best mommy ever. The best husband ever helped me to clean the kitchen before all the tiny princesses arrived. In order to wipe down the counters, he moved my platter of cakelets to the top of the refrigerator. Did you know it gets hot up there? Neither did he. Chocolate soggy glop.
I swore to never make another cake for a special occasion. Cupcakes for friends? Sure. Cake for dessert? No problem. Birthday cake? Forget it. I'm under the birthday cake curse.
#4 turned 6 this week. (Her birthday post will be up tomorrow) All she wanted was a rainbow cake. She found a picture in one of those mommy magazines that lay around my house. We took the picture to the grocery store. They said they don't make that kind of cake. We went to the bakery. They wanted enough money to feed a small family for 2 weeks. She looked at me with teary eyes and said, "You can do it, Mommy. I know you can do it if only you try."
It took two days to try. Four layers. One each of pink, yellow, green, and blue. A towering confection of cake iced in sky blue with clouds and a bright yellow sun. A brilliant blue summer sky with a rainbow on the inside. It was exactly what my daughter wanted, and a triumph for me.
I took a thousand pictures and couldn't wait to post them here, to brag about my accomplishment. There is just one problem. I can't find the camera cord, so I can't upload the pictures. They are sitting in my camera unable to be shared.
I made a gorgeous cake. I can't show it to anyone. The curse continues......