Foiled by cake

I lusted after creations like these when I was a kid

I lusted after creations like these when I was a kid

WHEN I was a kid I never had a birthday cake. Not because I grew up in some grim orphanage or had horrible parents but because I had the misfortune of being born just after Christmas.

After the excess of the festive season the last thing anyone wanted – or more importantly, could afford – was more cake.

So every January my mother would slap some Royal Icing on a leftover manky Oxford Lunch and present it to me with a fixed smile, telling me just to be glad there was a cake at all. It became a running joke in our family and in fact when I got married, my Mam iced an Oxford Lunch for me for my hen night for the craic and we all fell about the place laughing.

The cake Mam iced for me for my Hen night

The cake Mam iced for me for my Hen night

It was no laughing matter in 1991 however, when I threatened to run away from home unless they got me an actual birthday cake from an actual bakery with my actual name on it. I was deadly serious and luckily the folks realised I was a woman on the edge and made with the cake. It was such a novelty in our house that they even took a photo of me with the cake. That’s me there below, wearing, inexplicably a jumper more suited to the cast of the Fresh Prince of Bel Air.

Proudly showing off my cake

Proudly showing off my cake

Anyway, I always swore that if I ever had a kid, I’d make sure he or she always had a brilliant birthday cake – in fact I’d make it myself so I would. I made a promise to my future child that day that their birthday cakes would be creations of wonder, lovingly prepared by their doting mother. No manky Oxford Lunches for them, no Sir!

Seán aged just one day old. Aw!

Seán aged just one day old. Aw!

Seán aged almost one year. Aw!

Seán aged almost one year. Aw!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fastforward 20-odd years and it’s about ten days until Seán’s first birthday and the panic has set in. You see, I can’t bake. No really, I’m useless. I’m not a bad cook now, but I don’t have the light touch you need to make cakes.

I’m dreadful at following recipes, preferring to fling in handfuls of stuff instead of weighing out the ingredients needed. I can’t knead, I don’t own an electric hand whisk and I don’t even know the difference between bread soda and bicarbonate of soda.

I attempted to make fairy cakes a while back and this happened:

A fairy smush!

A fairy smush!

Then I attempted to make a sugar free apple cake and it turned into this wet, stodgy, tasteless mess:

Horrible apple cake

Horrible apple cake

And don’t even talk to me about the time I attempted pretzels and took these oversized misshapen penises out of the oven:

Ginormous willy anyone?

Ginormous willy anyone?

I’m not so bad at bread now, I made a tomato loaf once and it was good. But I can’t serve this at a one-year-old’s birthday party, can I?

Stick a candle on it, be grand

Stick a candle on it, be grand

I feel like such a failure but I know what I have to do. I’ll be letting down my 13-year-old self but it has to be done – now, someone pass me the Royal Icing.

11 thoughts on “Foiled by cake

  1. I know your pain, being a just before Christmas twin baby. You will make the cake though, and it will be good. Failing that, ice the top of your tomato loaf and call it an iced finger!

  2. Make something melty, you cannot go wrong (melt, add biccies and marshmallows). Rice krispie cake in the shape of a number one. Win. I’ve done a loaf tin maideira for my crew and cut it into a number 1 and covered in buttercream, nomz. Buttercream makes everything gorgeous.

  3. Ha I rarely really laugh out loud reading posts but this was so good! I’m a disaster too, but I buy Betty Croker choc cake mix and the choc fudge icing. It is fool proof and delicious.

  4. Karen. Life is too short. Buy the fecking boxes of cake mix! I always buy the Betty Crocker ones and they turn out magnificently :) Even the Tesco Madeira sponge ones aren’t too bad, two of them with a bit of jam & cream in the middle is lovely!

  5. LOL! LOL! Chuckling away here. LOVE the willies!! Feel your pain though. My happy birthday is in early Dec. So is my mother’s. So is my sister’s. then there are a glut of them in January. None of us get a look in. we all have to do joint affairs. I believe Betty Crocker is your friend. You will find her in the supermarket. In the homebake aisle.

  6. Omg so funny,I actually laughed out loud😂.
    I’m a Christmas baby,so made a mental note to myself as a child,never have a child at Christmas!
    Bread looks good,why don’t you icing it 😂😂😋

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