Sunday 25 Sep 2016

Bake a Cake
Jennifer Flaten

For the past couple of years, I’ve made my son’s birthday cake. Each year is an ode to whatever his current obsession is, two years ago, it was a Star Wars cake and last year it was an Angry Birds cake.

When I suggested I make him a cake, I meant a nicely frosted Betty Crocker cake, perhaps with a few tastefully placed sprinkles. This was supposed to be an affordable solution to expensive themed cakes from the bakery.

Somehow, my son, who has the skills of a professional sales person or excellent motivational speaker, convinced me to make him a theme cake.

For his Star Wars birthday, he asked for a death star cake. Honestly, the kid must have Jedi mind powers because he convinced me that I wanted to make this cake for him. That’s right; I agreed to make a cake modeled after a spherical object.

After putting more time than I care to admit into planning the logistics of a 3-D round cake, I determined the only way that I was going to remain sane during this process was to make half a death star.

In the event you feel the urge to make a cake whose primary color is gray, it is important to note that gray is not a color readily found at the grocery store or local craft store’s cake decorating aisle.

Had I known that before signing on to the death star I would have tried harder to talk him into another design, maybe the ice planet Hoth?

The cake turned out. Ya, I was surprised too. Alright maybe turned out is pushing it, more like it was edible, roundish and resembled the death star if you tilted your head to the left and squinted.

This is unfortunate because now I had a certain reputation to uphold. That I could actually make a themed cake that resembled the theme.

The next year I found myself once again agreeing to make my son’s cake. This time the requested cake was an Angry Bird. Specifically, the red one at least that one is round, he could picked the triangular shaped bird.

I also experienced déjà vu, when it came time to frost my design. I found myself in the baking aisle looking for a pre-made frosting color that didn’t exist.

Sure, now you can’t swing a cat in the baking aisle without hitting bright red frosting, but not so a year ago. I ended up making my own red frosting, with not so great results. My red bird was more of a white bird with a slight sunburn that a red bird.

This year my son took pity on me, or he got tired of explaining to the party guest what the cake was supposed to be because he asked for mystery box cake.

The mystery box is from Super Mario Brothers, his current favorite video game and it is exactly what it sounds like, a box with a giant white question mark on it.

Even better the box is yellow, a very easy to find frosting color. I figured it would be a snap to make the cake. I mean, how hard is it to make a rectangular cake, with a giant white question mark.

Very hard, it turns out. First, the cake wouldn’t come out the pan. When it finally did, it ripped up. Not a problem I figured I would just hide that with the frosting. Yes, except I ran out of frosting, the cake was so ugly one can wouldn’t do.

After make a special frosting run to the store, I got ready to put on the question mark. Ya, that took me six tries and another trip to the store to get a different white frosting.

Next year, I am getting him a themed cake from the bakery.

Jennifer Flaten lives where the local delicacy is fried cheese, Wisconsin. She writes about family life, its amusing or not so amusing moments. "At least it's not another article on global warming," she says. Jennifer bakes a mean banana bread and admits an unusual attraction to balloon animals and cup cakes. Busy preparing for the zombie apocalypse, she stills finds time to write "As I See It," her witty, too often true column. "My urge to write," says Jennifer, "is driven by my love of cupcakes, with sprinkles on top. Who wouldn't write for cupcakes, with sprinkles," she wonders.

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