That Time I Bought My Daughter A Bakery Birthday Cake
One of my favorite things to do with my kids is baking. It's a time when we get messy and creative and keep adding extra chocolate chips. Significant planning is required for every birthday cake of our family members, from the grueling introduction of brown fondant to making a football-shaped cake for my father-in-law to designing a camping-themed cake for my husband. I let the kids decorate each cake while I focus on making it taste good!
The birthdays of my youngest daughter and my husband are a day apart in the middle of September. I am a teacher and every year it is a challenge. But in a pandemic and the year my youngest started school, it felt like a lot. Then my daughter asked for a mermaid cake with a barbie and it was officially too much.
I drove past a bakery on the way home from work and realized that this would be the year we would commission a cake. We would bake for my husband and buy for my daughter. I felt good about it and allowed myself to feel that I didn't have to do everything.
I ordered the cake and asked for the smallest possible size. Done. Success.
An hour later I got a call saying the worker didn't know I had to deliver the barbie. I looked at our container of plastic dolls and saw one with a missing finger and a mottled tan of dirt. I remembered keeping it simple. I went online and found one that was $ 8 and had brown eyes like my daughter's. Success - thank you, delivery within two days!
The doll arrived and after work I went to the bakery with a clean, smiling Barbie with untangled hair. I stood in line and realized that I had to undress Barbie. Her bare, nippleless breasts looked huge. While I waited, I looked at her face and figure and wondered why I support an industry that maintains that image. The man next to me saw me eyeing Barbie's body and I quickly covered her bare parts with my hand. Finally it was my turn and I handed them over and asked if they could make a clam shell out of fondant. The worker at the counter took the doll to the baker to ask if he could do that.
The baker then returned with the doll in hand and we discussed how she should cover her breasts. He explained that their bakery doesn't use fondant and that the frosting would slide off. He also politely told me that most people buy a mermaid doll for the cake or sew something.
Sew something? I thought of mermaids and tried to justify that a more authentic mermaid would likely have bare breasts. I gave him a good three seconds of justification in my head, then imagined how soon I would be five years old as I looked at her cake and how much I would focus on why Barbie was naked upstairs. I assured the baker that I would bring Barbie back with a top tomorrow.
Barbie stared at me with her blink-free eyes and her annoying white smile. I asked my daughters to help me solve this problem and we were almost ready to use duct tape when my daughter thought about our container of scraps of cloth. I cut a piece of blue fabric into a rectangle and tied it at the back. Done.
The day after I dropped Barbie off, the phone rang and it was the bakery. They realized the ticket had no price and wanted to confirm that I knew the cake was going to cost $ 90 and that the smallest cake they could make was a three tier cake. A tiered cake !? Ninety dollars !? I said the only thing I could at that point, which was "okay". We were all indebted to this cake.
I arrived Monday at our scheduled pick up time and they said it would take about five minutes to wrap it up. The baker came out and explained that this is how they prepare wedding cakes to get to the place safely (I didn't have a wedding cake, this was all new to me). The baker explained that they cut off one side of a sturdy box, fold the cut side of the box, and tape it. then you cut the tape and slide the cake out, he stressed not to lift it. Before he sealed the cake for safe delivery, he showed me what he had created.
Courtesy Katie Coppens
My mouth fell down and the artistic side of my brain said, "It's amazing! Thank you very much!" Then the practical side of my brain took over: "Um, how do we cut into it?"
“You cut it like a ham. If you hit bones, stop cutting. By bone, I mean Barbie. "
Gross. I looked at the barbie looming over her tail as awe of the cake turned to regret. "Can I ask you a question?"
"How do you come back to give your kids homemade cakes?"
"Honestly, probably not. The same people come back every year and the cakes they order just keep getting bigger."
"Oh," I said, but oh no, I thought.
The box was big and clumsy, and he kindly offered to carry it to my car.
When I drove home I could see the box looming in my rearview mirror. What had I done I came home and asked my husband for help getting the cake into the house safely. He saw the size of the box and also asked what we had done.
Then my daughters ran into the kitchen and when we opened the box there were both jumps and shouts of joy from both of them. My youngest daughter even pulled out a stool so she could see Barbie in her full glory as I turned the cake in circles. Then came the moment I feared. My older daughter asked, "Why did you never buy me a cake?"
Her 7th birthday was in April, early in the pandemic. We planned and prepared your chocolate mousse cake. We love our chocolate mousse frosting recipe. Most people request it weeks before their birthday. In April, our family had so much fun decorating their cake and enjoying every bite. I reminded her how much fun we make baking cakes, including the one we made for her father yesterday, and she nodded politely to me. How do we get back from designer baking cakes to our homemade creations?
Courtesy Katie Coppens
A glimmer of hope came when my older daughter ran to our cake topper drawer and slipped a number five candle into the cake. I loved that there was a crooked candle in the middle of Barbie's perfectly shaped cock. It felt real and it felt like us. When we sang "Happy Birthday" it was heartwarming to see how happy my daughter was. And in that moment I agreed with our decision.
Then it was time to cut the cake, and it was really like cutting a ham. It was tight. My youngest took the first bite of the three-layer chocolate cake and pushed the plate aside. Then she got up and ran to her opened presents. Then my oldest did the same to her plate and said, "I don't really like it." These are the words every parent hates, especially when each piece of cake costs about nine dollars, but at that moment words would have been delicious if they could have a taste. Then they got even better when she asked, "Anything else from Papa's cake?"
I went to the fridge and got out the angel food, chocolate mousse cake we'd devoured the night before. After taking a bite, she said the best words of all, “I've changed my mind. Can we still make my birthday cake? "
I kissed her head.
She smiled and our homemade chocolate mousse frosting stuck to her lips and smiled with her.
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