My dear Flo turned 3 last weekend and in true Chivers tradition, I threw myself enthusiastically into the task of producing a perfectly imperfect birthday cake.
I’m nothing if not prepared and so months before the big day we started the discussion of what the theme for the cake would be. Both Dora and Bubble Guppies were suggested by Flo and after some extensive research, whereby I located the perfect character templates, I gently pushed Flo in the direction of Bubble Guppies. This Bubble Guppy cake campaign basically involved allowing her unlimited access to any and all episodes, singing along to all the funky songs (dear lord when did my music choice switch from Coldplay to Nick Jr?) and repeatedly asking her questions about her favorite characters and episodes. The seeds were sown. Or so I thought.
Now if you have been a follower of my blog for a while, you may remember that when it comes to my cake making skills I’m great at the planning stages, but not so great on the execution. Perhaps I am overly ambitious, or perhaps I’m just crap at decorating cakes. But this time I had back-up in the form of grandparents who were willing to keep the kids entertained whilst I worked diligently on Gil, Molly and Oona.
It wasn’t all plain sailing. My first attempt at gum paste turned into a something resembling a mixture of play-doh and superglue, which I literally had to scrape off my fingers with a knife. I must have spent a good hour trying to mix enough food coloring into the white paste to get those vivid cartoon hues. And Mo may be forever traumatized by the repeated poking and removing of eyes with toothpicks, until I got a passable resemblance to the originals. However, the end result was, I thought, one of my best to date. The frosting was the requested pink, (Flo said she wanted strawberry cake, but she obviously just meant it needed to be pink). And you could actually tell who the characters were supposed to be without the need for numerous hints. I even added a couple of last minute embellishments, including heart shaped balloons which held one candle for each of Flo’s 3 years.
Several times during the making of the cake Flo asked if she could see it, it was the first thing she asked about when she woke up on her birthday, but I intended to present it later that day as a big “ta, da” surprise. Expectations were high, but I was quietly confident. Imagine then how my heart shattered into a thousand pieces when instead of the squeals of delight I had expected on unveiling my masterpiece, it was met instead with a quivering lip, eyes openly reflecting feelings of crushing disappointment and the words “it s’pose to be a strawberry cake with Dora and Oona!”
Oh, well it’s not the first time the Chivers birthday bakery has been met with such harsh critique, and I don’t suppose it will be the last.