My two oldest boys have birthdays one week apart. In years past, I have spent that week baking and decorating a ridiculous amount of cake. Two years ago, I made a cake for Son #2 and then a cake for Son #1 a week later, plus I made about a zillion cupcakes for Son #1 to have with his class at school. Plus, both of these cakes were rather involved – I am no professional cake decorator but I can Google and copy with the best of ’em. I felt like I spent the entire week in the kitchen making the same yellow cake recipe and the same buttercream icing recipe over and over. That’s my family’s favorite – yellow cake with white icing.
Last year, I gave myself a break from the actual birthday cakes and ordered cakes from the grocery store since I threw a joint birthday bash for the boys. But I still made cupcakes for Son #1’s class.
Found a Bowser cake on someone’s site that I think I can make. Decide to make it for Son #2, whose birthday is first. Decide (in my head) that I will copy make a Hogwart’s castle cake for Son #1 a week later.
The night before Son #2’s birthday: bake two round cakes, spend too much time trying to dip ice cream cones into melted white chocolate and have it look decent. Fail miserably, but whatever. Too late to back out now. Make a huge batch of the family’s favorite white icing and divide it into different containers to dye various colors in preparation for decorating tomorrow. Realize that there is not enough icing and try to whip together a second batch, except that there is no butter softened, so put butter in microwave and then attempt to make icing with half-melted stick of butter. Icing looks disgusting. Dump in more powdered sugar to try to salvage icing. Doesn’t help. Just put it in fridge and decide to deal with it in the morning.
Day of birthday: forget to take icing out of the fridge earlier in the day to soften, so when it is time to decorate the cake, icing is hard and un-spreadable. Nice. Enlist husband to make other sections of the cake out of rice krispies treats. Finally have soft enough icing to decorate cake. Assemble the various parts and think – I might have pulled this off!
The kids don’t know who it is and even when we tell them it is Bowser, they are unimpressed.
Son #2 says that he wanted a Harry Potter cake, not a Bowser cake.
We sing Happy Birthday and serve the cake. None of the kids likes the cake.
I had thought that they would want the white chocolate dipped ice cream cones so badly that they would fight over them. No one wants them.
Over the next few days, my husband eats most of the cake and the kids eat popsicles for dessert or even go without dessert rather than eat any of the cake.
I decide that we do not need to have an entire Hogwart’s castle cake that no one wants to eat and mention to Son #1 that if he wants to, we can have make-your-own sundaes instead of cake for his birthday. Both Son #1 and Son #2 are so excited that they jump around screaming like little maniacs. I smile to myself at how easy it will be to buy ice cream toppings and not spend 86 hours in the kitchen baking and making frosting and trying to cover toilet paper tubes with icing and then cursing when they don’t stand up properly on the castle cake. Pat myself on the back for all the work I have saved myself.
Have ice cream sundaes on Son #1’s birthday. Son #2 tells us six billion times that he wants to have make-your-own sundaes on his birthday next year. Does not seem to be fazed that his birthday is not for another 358 days (I had to use a calculator to do 365-7).
Night before I have promised Son #1 that I will bring cupcakes to his class (luckily school started a few days after Son #2’s birthday and he does not think to ask whether he can have cupcakes at school anyway): I clean up from dinner and decide that while all kids except baby are asleep and husband is home to take care of baby, I will make all the cupcakes! So smart! Then all I will have to do before school in the morning is make the frosting and ice them. So easy! Even if baby is crying and two-year old monster is wreaking havoc, I will have barely anything to do. Decide to make a triple batch of family’s favorite yellow cake recipe. Before I start my baking, my husband comes down to tell me that Son #1 would like me to go up and tuck him in and tell him what kind of cupcakes I am bring to his class (as if there is another option here). I tell him that it is yellow cake with white icing, his favorite, like we have every year. He is very pleased and then asks,
“There are no nuts in the cupcakes, right? Because we can’t have nuts in our classroom.”
I look at him like he is so silly! Nuts? In yellow cake with white icing? Did I say peanut butter cupcakes? Of course there are no nuts!
I go down and continue feeling so pleased with myself as I correctly triple all the ingredients and make a huge batch of yellow cake batter. I fill up my muffin tins (including the one with crayon residue on it, but am using liners so it is FINE) with the cupcake liners and am quickly cleaning up some of the baking mess before I start filling them with batter when I crush the milk container to put it in the recycling bin. Uh-oh. Big, big uh-oh.
I made the triple batch of yellow cake with almond milk. Yes, almond milk. As in, milk made from nuts. Nuts that are not allowed in my son’s classroom.
Oh man, I am such a moron.
Husband is actually excited when I tell him about the mistake.
“All that cake is for us!!!!!”
I bake all the batter in two 9×13 pans and two 8-inch square pans. I have no more eggs, and no cow’s milk anyway, so I can’t make another batch of cupcakes tonight that will be acceptable.
Husband is sympathetic and offers to go to the store in the morning before he leaves for work to buy eggs and cow’s milk so that I don’t have to drag baby, two-year old monster and Son #2 (goes to half-day afternoon Kindergarten) to the store.
Morning of the day that cupcakes are going to school: put 3 of the 4 cakes baked the night before in the freezer because husband says he has a horrible stomach ache from eating so much of the first one the night before and to please, please, please hide the other cakes from him. Start over with the triple batch of family’s favorite yellow cake, using cow’s milk. Listen to baby scream from the family room because he is mad that he is in there by himself. Stop every 2 seconds to deal with two-year old monster and his demands (Bee-nana!!! Mommy, bee-nana!!!!, whiny noise, Mommy, pweease milk!!! whiny noise, Milk!!!!, I lick it? Mommy? Pweease????? I wick it now? and on and on and on). Finally manage to bake all the cupcakes in time to turn off the oven before I take Son #2 to school. I made 50 cupcakes because I don’t know how many I will need.
Only a few more hours until cupcakes need to be at school. Come home and make a triple batch of family’s favorite white icing. Don’t think I will need such a huge amount but am not taking any chances due to the disgusting melted butter icing incident of the week before. Finally get all cupcakes frosted and into containers to bring to school. Get a text from husband that he won’t be home in time to watch the baby and the two-year old monster while I take the cupcakes to school. Like a bad movie, it was literally right at that second that I heard the thunder rumbling and the sky turned gray. Rush to get the kids ready, find my camera, throw the baby in the stroller and run to the school. It is already drizzling, but we make it before we get soaked.
Son #1 is so happy to have cupcakes with his class.
Of the 50 cupcakes I made, I only got rid of 20. Including the one that two-year old monster ate and one that I gave to the little brother of one of Son #1’s friends who I saw at dismissal time.
Husband surprised us by making it to the school in time to help me carry the (extra 30) cupcakes home with all four kids.
Now I have 3 1/2 yellow cakes, about 5 pounds of extra white icing and 30 cupcakes. Plus all the ingredients to make your own sundae, which was a huge hit BTW.
That about sums up the birthday week 2010. Lather, rinse, repeat next year.
At least my younger two don’t have their birthdays exactly a week apart. Oh wait, they actually share the same exact birthdate.
I can’t wait for them to be old enough to want cupcakes at school.