Wednesday, August 7, 2013

cake

this is not about diana's forays into cake decorating.  if you want that, go here and here.  no, this is about steve.

it comes up as a topic of conversation every once in a while.  you know, that steve makes cakes for his children for their birthdays.  the most recent emergence was triggered by finding the most adorable mushrooms at the farmer's market.  well, re-finding them.  i saw them weeks ago as i meandered among the vendor stalls on my own during the fourth annual lake anne plaza ukelele festivalteeny-tiny little polymer clay toadstools with spots and stems that glow in the dark.  i knew that diana would be exceedingly fond of them, so we looked for the same vendor again a week later and, as predicted, diana uttered loud squees of delight and purchased four right on the spot.  the lovely vendor, jessica, was so pleased to see diana's obvious pleasure in acquiring them that i felt compelled to share how one of diana's birthday cakes was, in fact, a giant puffball toadstool, and so, my reminder of the cake post i have wanted to do for some time.

there.  still with me?

this was all his idea, you know.  it started with diana's first birthday.  we selected a duck theme because it was her first word.  well, "ack" was her first word.  for "quack" which is what a duck says, so, close enough.

steve volunteered to make the cake.  sure, i thought.  why not?

he created the ingenious bill using chocolate pieces that look remarkably like pringles.

the birthday girl seems nonplussed. or uncertain. or suspicious.
noah's ark was the theme for party two.  because of the pairs of animals.  there were two of everything, including guests for the party.

i thought the ramp and porthole were nice touches.

yes, the animals are a little weird. and not sized appropriately. that's what you get for dollar-store purchases. hey, we were on a graduate student budget.

no complaints about the taste, though.
number three: a snake.  yes, she asked for a snake cake.  a diamondback rattlesnake.  big enough to serve to our entire playgroup at her party.  steve made two bundt cakes for this, one yellow and one chocolate, to suit both preferences.

fruit leather. brilliant.
fantastic four: "lemon vader."  don't ask.  our daughter certainly knew her own preferences, thankyouverymuch.

luscious lemon cake underneath all that creepy frosting.

hey, hey, we're the vaders! (with an obliging set of grandparents)

fabulous five: she asked for the universe!  no, just the solar system.  we had her party at the planetarium.  it was out of this world.  no, i won't ask you to pardon the pun.

the birthday princess helped out on the decorating this time, as there were many planets to adorn.

yes, there are 10 heavenly bodies plus a sun and a rocket.  pluto had been demoted to a dwarf planet by then, and diana was fond of eris. she wanted to make sure her dessert was cosmically correct.
ander enters the scene here.  we didn't quite know what to do for his first birthday.  hey, who let in all these elephants?


it's important for babies to have their very own smash cake, at least for their first birthday. it's so much fun to watch them play.  the bigger cake is for bigger guests.

he knew precisely what to do with that chocolate elephant. eat it. one bite at a time.

diana was next.  the number six cake had, in fact, eight legs.

we went to the st louis zoo, one of our very favorite places in the world. we adopted, on diana's behalf, a red-kneed tarantula as part of the zoo parents program.  (she still, to this day, has the plush animal guarding her on the headboard of her bed.)  so, she had to have a cake to represent her favorite creature.

at the party, her friends' reactions to the cake ranged from disturbed to ecstatic.  they pretty much all knew she'd have something . . . different.  also delicious.  no one refused to eat it.

when ander turned two, we knew what he liked.  rainbows.



it tasted as beautiful as it looked.

by diana's seventh, we had made the decision to foster a rabbit through the spca.  diana knew just what she was hoping for in a bunny.  and she wanted a cake to match.  (actually, several cakes, as we had friends coming to share with us.)

she designed the ears herself.


snowball joined us soon after and has been our house companion ever since. she looks pretty much the same as the cake, with the exception of the chocolate chips.

when ander turned three, he was all about musical instruments, particularly percussion.


and when diana turned eight, she loved snails.  we had plenty in the yard to play with and watch, but this one we got to eat.


note the giant leaf it was on. he thinks of everything!
ander's fourth birthday brought out the real builder in steve.

yes, folks, that's the st. louis arch


diana's ninth birthday celebration was all about fairies, and nothing says fairies like a mushroom cake, right?  she hasn't lost her fanaticism for fungi since.


ander's fifth birthday was a little out of the ordinary, in that steve was not home to make the cake.  he had just moved across the country to start his new job.  we were disappointed to break tradition in this way, but i did make sure to provide ander and his friends a triple-chocolate cake that was enjoyed by all.

back to animals again for diana's golden birthday.  diana and her sleepover guest watched in avid amusement as steve had to fashion a way to keep the head into place so it wouldn't self-decapitate before the party the next day.


and most recently, for ander's sixth birthday, he requested that daddy make "a lego brick. 2x4. brown."  ok, so legos don't typically come in brown, but they do exist for a variety of specialty sets.  we understood he was going for chocolate here, and we indulged.

my very favorite part of this cake?  after we had consumed some of it, ander noted that we had eaten it down to a 2x3 brick.  another cut and it was a 1x2 attached to a corner bracket.  nothing gets past this boy of ours.


after all these years and steve's success every. single. time. in producing an epic cake that wows its intended recipient, i think i'm finally starting to relax.  after all, he takes tim gunn's phrase to heart: "make it work."

note: please check out his dalek, phantom, and superman's cape.

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