Saturday, June 20, 2009
Cakes of Love
Cool title, huh?
Are you wondering what this post will be about?
Well, it's about cakes. Made with love.
I don't profess to be a baker - and I'm most certainly not an artist. However, I like to make creative birthday cakes. They don't always turn out like the images I have envisioned in my mind, but I've learned to live with this and, instead, try to enjoy the creative outlet it provides for me.
For many years, every time one of my kids had a birthday, I would order a themed birthday cake from the specialty bakery in town. They were always very lovely cakes, quite yummy tasting, but also very formulaic. No style, really. Too perfect.
Then Aidan, my youngest son, told me that his biggest wish for his birthday one year (I think he was five) was for a homemade birthday cake. Guilt feelings from the working mom ensued and I immediately agreed that this was what he would have.
"What kind of birthday cake would you like me to make you, Aidan?" I asked. "A wedding-cake birthday cake, momma", he replied. Wow. Really? I wish I could find the picture of what I wound up making for him, but since I can't, let me just say that my memory tells me it turned out quite well. It was a two-tiered wedding cake that had the second tier resting on pillars. The lower level had a dirt bike scene recreated on it and the top tier was a skiing scene. I used props. PlayMobil was my best friend.
And so, with this one request, a new family tradition was born. Each birthday thereafter, both my boys would try to outdo the other with their request for their homemade birthday cake. They would try to think of the kookiest thing imaginable and thought it was hilarious to try to stump their mom. Here are a few examples from the years:
It's hard to tell in this photo, but this is Piglet and some lizard and snake pals playing soccer on top of this cake for Aidan:
Teagan asked for the "dinosaurs playing football on a volcano with a river running down the side" cake for his 15th birthday:
Here is the life-size electric guitar cake I made for my oldest son, Teagan's, 16th birthday (I was so tired by the end of this one, that the white guitar strings are more than a bit crooked):
This was the "purple monster with wings and sharp teeth cake" Aidan requested for his 14th birthday:
Aidan requested a "half rhinoceros, half alligator cake" for when he turned 15 and this is what he got. If I recall correctly, he was rather unimpressed but I thought I pulled his request off quite nicely:
I can't remember what the specific request was here, but obviously it had something to do with aliens fighting each other. Teagan has always liked aliens. I made the cupcakes individual spaceships:
I really have no excuse for this next one. I must've been really tired and did not receive my "instructions" in time:
My apologies for this next one. This was the "severed zombie head" cake:
It was, afterall, Teagan's 18th birthday. I pulled out all the stops:
He was surprised that I actually pulled it off:
So, when my sister asked me about three weeks ago to make a cake for her son, my nephew Andrew's, 10th birthday, how could I say no? Andrew wants a snake cake.
My creative juices began to flow.
First, I baked three chocolate bundt cakes. Andrew loves chocolate:
I covered a long piece of plywood with foil so my finished product would have something big to lie on for transport. Then, I looked up pictures of snakes online. I'm ready:
This is always the nerve wracking part: making the cuts and piecing things together:
Aidan assisted by preparing the frosting. We were trying to get a portion of the frosting red, like blood, for the inside of the snake:
Sadly, we got mauve instead. This will just have to do:
Aidan's next assignment was to grind cookies into "dirt" for around the base of the cake. He's such a great assistant:
The crucial moment: attaching the head:
Once I was finished, we moved him downstairs to my basement pantry where it's only 61 degrees. This will help his frosting harden a bit until tomorrow:
If I were to straighten him out, he would measure almost 54"...that's 4' 4" long:
I used those candies called "runts" for the teeth. Mmmm...banana flavored! Aidan cut a tongue out of "fruit by the foot". Everything's edible on this guy:
The tradition continues. I hope Andrew's as pleased with his snake cake as I was to make it for him!