Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Let Them Eat Cake
Every junkie has triggers. An activity, a song, a time of day--a baked good. Lord help me I lose all self control around anything cake-ish. Doughnuts, cake, muffins, & scones make me weak in the knees. Imagine my terror at the prospect of Link's 3rd birthday party & the epic cake that was required. For Dave's birthday in September I had no qualms with doing the fake cake applesauce substitute version. I couldn't do that to a child. He deserves the kind of cake that I remember fondly from childhood, butter-creamy & dense, the kind that leaves a grease spot on the paper party plate that it is dished out on. I would make my boy the cake that he had been asking for since we started talking about his upcoming birthday--but would it make it to the party or would I scarf it down days prior & be left offering party guests a partial bag of chocolate chips & some stale Fig Newtons as party refreshments?
For our dinosaur party I decided to do a large, round two-layer cake. I baked the first layer & was feeling good about my resolve. I had an obligation to my son & I was going to fulfill it. As I flipped the cake out of the pan, I knew that I could conquer this cake conundrum...until the cake stayed in the pan. I shook it, I slid a knife around the edge, I banged on the upturned bottom of the pan, & I cursed. Finally I felt some movement. I peeked under the pan & saw half of the cake laying on the board. In retrospect, I could have glued it together with frosting & no one would have been the wiser. Instead I threw a hissy fit, took one handful & handed it to my eager son & another handful & shoved it in my mouth. With a missing hunk, this cake was without purpose. Dangerous. Dave insisted that the cake be saved in hunks & put in the freezer for picking at later. Super dangerous. Dave may be able to pick, but I am powerless to anything but mow through.
Then I got serious. Still obligated, still motivated. I revised my plan down to a single layer realizing that it would still be more than enough for the family & friends in attendance. This kept me from having SIX cakes (two boxes per layer) laying around. I put Dave in charge of burying the broken shards in the freezer where I would have to risk frost bite to dig them out. And then I floured the heck out of the pan & made one perfect layer with an obscene amount of butter cream frosting.