Why I thought upping the ante in the world of children's birthday parties was a good idea, I have no idea, but it all started with a very homemade looking tractor cake for my first born's first birthday, carefully pieced together with boxed cake mix and way too much chocolate frosting.
The problem starting a tradition with one kid is that as soon as you give birth to another, there's the pressure to keep it up. Everyone wants you to crack under the pressure of two kids like, "Oh yeah... she used to make these cute cakes but then she had two kids."
Listen here, Suburbia: My hard-headedness greatly exceeds my fear of death from exhaustion via baking and icing so lookout, all THREE of my boys will have themed birthday cakes each year, so help me Paula Deen.
Of course, wouldn't you know it, one son became three sons and a once-innocent idea quickly morphed into a sickening investment in frosting, creativity and so-so results. Not to mention that exhaustion. I should have quit while they were too young to have unreasonable expectations.
Naturally, simple cake and frosting concoctions lost their luster and I found myself stumbling upon the frustrating world of fondant. Any baker (yes, a baker - certainly not me, it's still boxed cake mix for me thankyouverymuch) knows once you go fondant you can't go back. It's like selling your vintage Rolls Royce for a used Geo Metro - it just doesn't make sense.
The downside to fondant is that it's pure white and everyone knows you can't have a plain white cake for your kid's birthday party. Choo-choo trains are not pure white. Pirate ships are not pure white. SpongeBob and Patrick? Neither are pure white. (WHY COULDN'T SPONGEBOB AND PATRICK HAVE BEEN PURE WHITE?) Leave it to me to discover a new "solution" to creative cake decorating which is three times as much work.
If you've worked with fondant you know that the only thing worse than trying to shape it around a square cake is dying it any particular color. An hour into kneading the fondant, you're essentially weighing the perils of carpal tunnel against how much you love your kids. This, apparently, is why god invented Costco sheet cakes.
As my oldest son's 7th (!!) birthday quickly approaches, I'm staring at eight (EIGHT!) boxes of Betty Crocker Chocolate Cake Mix, a shit-ton of Betth Crocker chocolate frosting and more pounds (yes, POUNDS!) of fondant than I care to admit and trying to visualize it baking and then shaping itself into a Mario Bros themed cake.
It's not working. Apparently this technique only worked for Mr. Magorium because there ain't enough magic in the world to make this little project go smoothly.
It's times like these when I wish I were smarter and more reasonable, choosing to whip out a couple dozen cupcakes, slapping a knife-o-vanilla frosting on them and calling it good. But apparently simplicity is far beyond my grasp as I continue my journey of insanely disproportionate children's cakes with my scorched fingers, a few crunchy egg shell "surprises" (as I like to call them) and a few tears.
But I'm not a reasonable person. Instead I've chosen to call-out and challenge Matthew in a Mario Bros themed cake SMACKDOWN! since he says claims he's a better cake decorator than me.
Uh, yes. He did.
Oh my dear friends, this should get interesting. A good challenge only makes me that more crazy and over-the-top and reckless so lookout assholes, I am spending this next week making the best fucking Mario Bros cake you've ever seen. And I'm vlogging it.
Meanwhile, while Matthew toys with his rendition of the video game version of The Situation and DJ Pauly D, he will also be vlogging it so that YOU! can judge for yourselves just who is the best damn cake decorator - me or him.
I mean, it's fairly obvious who will win. *cough* me *cough* But on February 1st, you'll get to see the cakes and vote.
In the meantime, if I seem fairly absent from the blogosphere it's because I'm either a) working on the best. damn. cake. ever. or b) in the fetal position by the stove, rocking back-and-forth to the tune of "Happy Birthday."