I think birthday parties should be all about the food, and especially all about homemade cake. But, much to my children’s disappointment, I draw the line at specially-shaped cakes.
I mean, really! Who has the time for that?! Amid the whirlwind of invites, bookings, games and goody bags, who has time to make a cake that is an exact replica of the Death Star? Please. My boys have had to make do with regular square or round cakes, possibly with a coloured icing or themed candies sprinkled on top.
But my resolve was broken this year when I agreed to make my youngest son a spider-shaped cake for his 5th birthday. I can’t actually remember now why I agreed to it. Did his big blue eyes puppy-dog me one too many times? Did he pitch a massive fit, which I am spared from remembering by post-traumatic-mothering-syndrome?
Whatever the reason, I agreed to it. And (surprise, surprise) I got really INTO it. Plans, ideas, designs. How to go about a spider-shaped cake with the equipment I already have. Which type of batter would work best? What kind of icing? This was actually fun! Like a modeling project for parents! I saw the theme-cake light.
Of course, it was not all fun and spideys. My 8-year-old, who is the anatomical authority on spiders since studying them at school, urged me not to forget that “all 8 legs come out of the spider’s cephalothorax, Mom”. (Thanks for that, now I can’t get all 8 legs to fit on the serving platter!)
My almost-5-year-old was quite proprietary over “his” cake and had very specific ideas about how it should look and what kind of spider it should be. “Discussions” ensued over child’s fanatsy vs cake reality. Even after we agreed on spider shape and sub-species, he insisted on complete control over the decorating of the finished cake. I had a hard time with that, the letting go of my austere and scary genoise black widow, handing her over to a little boy who turned her into a carnival of candy stripes.
However. It was the perfect fall birthday cake for a 5 year old boy: spidery and chocolaty and candy-covered. A bonus gross-out factor: the cake was served atop cake-crumb “dirt” which hid baby candy spiders and gummy worms. How could it get any better?
The only problem with this joyful story is that I have set a precedent . Now the boys have higher expectations. My oldest can’t wait for his birthday in the spring where he anticipates a Death Star cake, which, when cut into, would reveal dozens of different layers like on the Death Star itself.
Um….? Really, Mommy doesn’t do shaped cakes… only when she feels like it… or could we compromise on a caterpillar? PLEASE?