Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Too Much Cake

A long time ago, way back when I had only two toddlers, I decided to make a cake for my eldest daughter's second birthday. I wanted it to look like her favourite picture from her favourite picture book, "The Baby Catalogue" by Janet and Allan Ahlberg. I almost had a nervous breakdown trying to create a wicker basket texture in the icing and felt as though I had failed miserably. 

Little did I know then that I was setting myself up for annual birthday requests to conjure a birthday girl/boy's dream in flour, eggs, butter and icing.

Growing up, we would pick a cake from the classic Women's Weekly Birthday Cake Book and my mum would recreate it beautifully - to instructions. We had the piano, the train, the clock, the paint pallet, the typewriter - so many!

My kids mostly seem to want to create original never before thought of cakes. Usually I take it as a challenge. Get excited...then stressed...then really stressed...then lick my fingers too much while using icing, then feel sick, I'm racing the clock, I'm spending  zilch time with the kids, I'm having structural disasters, there are cake crumbs flying everywhere and I'm feeling high on glucose like I've been snorting icing sugar. 

There have been Dolly Varden cakes, Eiffel tower cakes, swimming pool cakes even a Grotto of chocolate crackles to house a Virgin Mary statue. There was Shang from Mulan, a duckling,  Mr. Potato head, Trotro, My Neighbour Totoro, trains and more trains.

Now I think I retire. I'm a complete disaster in the food colouring and icing confectionary department. I can't handle it any more.
All the birthdays come at once. In the last month I have made a swimming pool, an Olaf the Snowman from Frozen and a ten layer Princess and the Pea bed. 
(The princess and the pea was a ten layer cake - five cakes bakes separately) in different colours. The bed ends were pretzels I dipped in chocolate and put together)

It takes up too much time and effort and stress! I don't think I can do it! I'm no good at it! I AM that pinterest disaster person! I'm over it! I DON'T EVEN EAT CAKE! I AM ALLERGIC TO CAKE! I AM A CAKE-TASTROPHY!
Yet I know that when next year comes around and a little voice  says, "Please Mum can my birthday cake this year be the Taj Mahal in meringue" I will probably say yes.


  1. You are NOT a "cake-tastrophy Julianne! Anything but by the look of those cakes you've showed us.
    My two weren't much for themed cakes - although I made my fair share of Dolly Vardans (aka easiest kids birthday cake ever!) over the years. And once I made a farm cake (plastic farm animals on a green tinged, shredded coconut field) to much (undeserved) applause.
    Funny the memories evoked by the Womans Weekly Birthday cake book...my Mum made nearly all of them for us too (five kids!).
    We loved all of the Ahlberg books here. Can't count the number of times I read Starting School and Eat Peach Pear Plum!

  2. They are super impressive Julianne. I can't believe you baked cakes in different colours for all those mattresses. And my kids would love Olaf ...

    1. I can't believe I did it either! You need special gel colouring and everything!

  3. Cake-tastrophy -- I love it. Gosh we women are hard on ourselves!! You are a super super mum -- your kids are so very very lucky.

    I love the Princess and the Pea cake. One of my favourite Ladybird books -- I swear it was those layers of pretty textiles, not the fact that I could relate to the Princess's overly-sensitive nature -- you depicted it as beautifullyl as any illustrator would. In three dimensions! In cake and icing!!!!!

    You deserve a lie down.

    1. Yes a little lie down would be nice...or a straight jacket and padded cell would also be quite helpful! I think the cakes never match my expectations! But I also love the story of the princess and the pea -perhaps you could illustrate a modern single girl's version Sandra??