Have your cake

Jennifer FlatenThis post by Jennifer Flaten

Today we are celebrating my son’s 11th birthday, so yesterday I spent the afternoon making his cake. Actually, since I used a box mix, I didn’t really spend that much time making his cake. I did however spend a little time decorating his cake.

Until a few years ago, my son always chose a store bought cake. He really enjoyed going to the bakery, flipping through the designs and picking a cake. I think he choices were made less on how tasty/well decorated the cake was and more on the little toy that was usually included with the design.

Then one year he was disappointed because he couldn’t find the perfect Star Wars cake, sure there were Star Wars cakes, but none came with a toy. Maybe Star Wars is perceived as an older kid’s cake and therefore, no toy.

No matter the reason, my son was disappointed so I foolishly said “Pffft, don’t worry. I’ll make you a Star Wars cake.” Obviously, I’d watched one too many Cake Challenge on Food Network.

Excited my son tossed out idea after idea. His faith in my ability to create a Star Wars cake was both heartwarming and terrifying. It didn’t help that his sisters were just as excited as he was and even offered to fabricate the Star Wars themed decorations for the party. Now I really couldn’t back out, I had to come up with design that was doable on my limited budge and with my limited skill set.

What is that old saying “Promise a cake in haste, repent in leisure”? Okay, so maybe that isn’t the exact saying, but that is how I felt.

I was idly flipping through my cookbook hoping to spot some kind of inspiration and I found a recipe for a cake baked in a bowl, creating a half dome shape. Lightbulb! The death star, that’s it. I would make a death star cake…uh actually a ½ a death star but close enough. 055

If you squint at the picture it sort of resembles the death star…all that matter is the boy was thrilled. This, of course, sealed my doom.

Everyone loved it and now every year since he’s me to make him a cake representing whatever is his most current obsession. We’ve had the red bird from Angry Birds, a Mario Mystery box (a rectangle painted yellow with a question mark on it)

This year it is another nice simple shape-a creeper from Minecraft.

I can’t wait to see what next year brings.

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11 Responses to Have your cake

  1. erinfarwell says:

    Jeniffer – love this. It’s a perfect example of “be careful what you offer because someone is going to want you to do it again.” Great cake and happy birthday to your son.

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  2. Wranglers says:

    I remember the year I made the Turkey Cake. Everyone said, “Uck”. I said, “It’s not made of turkey, it’s shaped like a turkey.” They all laughed then–still I saw them peeking into each piece as they took a bite. Cher’ley

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  3. Gayle Irwin says:

    Great post, Jennifer! You are much braver than me, just like Princes Laiah!

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  4. Mike Staton says:

    Back in the day — late 50s and early 60s — my maternal grandmother and grandfather flew out to Southern California to be with us for two weeks. It was in November because I remember she baked a birthday cake for me. It must have been 1959, which means I would be turning eight years old. Nothing fancy, no themed cakes in those days. What she did promise was the tallest birthday cake I’d seen up to that point. It was four layers, I believe. A chocolate cake with probably chocolate icing. I don’t have any photos of the cake or us sitting around the kitchen nook celebrating my birthday. But what I do have are several photos of us standing outside in the driveway in front of the house, my sister, my mom, my grandmother and grandpa and, of course, me. Dad had to have snapped the photo. The date along the side of the photos say 1959. It’s wintertime (at least winter as Southern Californians know it) and we’re wearing coats. I wish I retained more memories of that birthday and other stuff that happened in those days. The older I get the more those memories fade, and with so many people gone from my life, I really do wish I could make those memories fresh again. Oh well ….

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  5. Thank you for giving me a good laugh to end the day. I hope you can continue to create enjoyable cakes for your son.

    Sent from my iPad

    >

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  6. Loved the post, Jennifer. At age eight my daughter wanted a Barbie Doll Cake. I promised to make her one, having no idea how I’d go about it. Somewhere I found an old cake decorating book with pictures and it helped me create my masterpiece. I used a new Barbie doll and simply designed a dress around the cake. It was mint green and white and my daughter was ecstatic! After that I decorated cakes for my son and daughter every year until they left home. Finally, I had the time to take a Decorating Class! I even got an offer to teach cake decorating but since it wasn’t my passion, I declined. I’ll bet your son was so thrilled with his cake. Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder and I think anything a parent makes for a child is special in their eyes. You’re a supermom!

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  7. Doris says:

    You have more patience and creativity than myself. I have a friend who makes and decorate cakes. I admire folks who can do that. Doris

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  8. Wranglers says:

    How fun. I made cakes for many years with themes also, it was fun and sometimes disappointing to myself when it wasn’t as smoothly executed as I wanted. But the kids liked it and now my daughter does the same for her kids. What great memories you are making.

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  9. sstamm625 says:

    Fun post, Jennifer! I love the Death Star cake, complete with Darth Vader. You rock!

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  10. Nancy Jardine says:

    Jennifer, your son is going to remember this in years to come because you took the time to create the decoration particularly for him.

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  11. Jennifer, isn’t it amazing that one disappointment can turn into something better? A tradition that will probably last a lifetime and possibly into another generation. Well done.

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