When I was little, my mom always made me a homemade birthday cake. I never had a store bought cake and therefore decided in my own mind that they were somehow inferior. Now, that I have my own kids, it has always been an unspoken rule that I would make all of their birthday cakes. I take great pride in planning, baking, decorating and serving my homemade cakes (sometimes I cheat and use mixes, but I always decorate them myself). They never look professional and they always have little finger marks in them, but they are my creations and they always reflect the theme of the party. Although I am sure the kids remember the jumpy houses and the ponies and dancing the limbo, the cakes have become some of the fondest memories of my kids’ birthdays for me.
I clearly remember sobbing at 10 pm the night before my son’s 2nd birthday because I could not get his train cake out of the pan. I baked that one 3 times before I actually got one that didn’t break. I remember the first time I worked with fondant, the tons of decorated cupcakes that outnumbered the guests at my littlest daughter’s 2nd birthday and the replica of Wrigley Field that required my husband’s help (what is an outfield?). I remember the bird cookies that had to accompany the bird cake and decorating them to look realistic because my 7 year old would know the difference. I remember begging my husband to help me squish pink and white gumdrops together to mold small shrimp for the top of my daughter’s “Sushi” cake.
So, tonight I am staying up late trying to figure out what kind of cake to make for my soon to be 5 year old. She is having a gymnastics party and I have lots of ideas, but very little time. Maybe this year will be the year I finally buy a store bought cake. Yeah, probabably not.