2009年9月3日木曜日

a comedy of errors

Meg's birthday felt like I was in a sitcom this year. Really, it couldn't have been more of a comedy of errors if it was scripted.

Every year the girls choose their cake and what we have for dinner on their birthdays. This is something my mum did when I was a kid. I ordered roast chicken for about 12 years straight. My brother lasagne and my sister roast chicken. (Little sisters are such copycats...) My mum made amazing flavoured cakes but, not sure why- maybe because it was the only cake pan she had?- we always had round cakes. Well, think I must be overdue for a visit to a childhood birthday related trauma counsellor because I am determined to make my kids the most whizz bang amazing cakes they can imagine. You know, Amy says she wants a star cake and I start in: "what colour? what flavour? with sparkles? a shooting star or just a star?" Poor kid looked justifiably overwhelmed!

Anyway, yesterday Meg turned six. She was most disappointed to find out we weren't giving her coffee, beer and the keys to the truck- all at breakfast time- as "six is so big, Mummy."

So, she headed off to kinder (in the passenger seat poor muppet) leaving behind her order for dinner and cake: natto and rice and a banana flavoured rainbow anpanman train cake with wheels.

Whoa... (For my family: natto and rice is a cop out meal. Like having a vegemite sandwich for tea or something. It's what you eat when there's nothing else in the house. Not really a request dinner...) but the cake request sure made up for it. So, started the day baking the cake, very proud of my cake making prowess I had it ready for the oven before the oven even beeped that it was up to temperature. In the oven and- out again in 2 minutes. Amazingly high powered oven? Nope. Miniscule quickcooking cake? Nope. I was cleaning up the table and I found an egg... why is there an egg on the table? Oh no!!!! Never mind, stirred the egg into the (now warm) batter in the cake tin and popped it back in the oven. Disaster averted...

Cake is cooling and I decide to mix up my icing but realise I'm out of butter. Oh well. Pit, dice and boil 3kg of prunes for plum sauce, take a lunch break while skyping my sister and am at the car ready to amble down and leisurely buy some butter (plenty of time you see, a whole 2 1/2 hours before I have to pick the girls up.)

'Heatherrrrrr!!!'

What the??? Ahhh, it's friend and neighbour A. Non-driving friend and neighbour A.... Where am I going and can she get a lift to the bank? Why sure, it shares a carpark with the supermarket so no problem. How lucky! Oh? and the post office, the JA bank and Aoki's??? Why not. Hop on in. Hmmm why is non-drinker A wanting to go to Aoki's? It's a bottle shop... Oh well, none of my business... Buy my bit of better butter (any is better than none!) do all the errands and start to head to Aoki's when A laughs and says "No! Not that Aoki's. Mrs Aokis. She wants to show you her garden and she has some peaches for me." "..." (I really do want to see her garden and we still have a hour and a half...) After many promises that we will just pop in, and then of course after a tour of the garden (stunning yet low maintenance) the house (gorgeous and palatial, gotta get into the peach business) a cup off coffee (asked to choose between Costa Rican and Ecuadorian- not often that happens round here!) three different delicious cookies, a pickled plum (goes so well with coffee don't you think?) a forkful of pickled myouga and a spoonful of what Aoki-san has made for dinner I start making strangled gurgling 'gee?? Is that the time??' type glances at my watch and we leave. I now have 20 minutes until I have to pick up the girls and a car full of peaches and early apples and pickled plums and....

Drive A home, offload food, back to kinder to get the girls, back home and we decide to make the cake together. Rather hard to go for the surprise wow factor with a kid under each armpit as I work... Back to the icing: melt butter, add to- oh damn. No way. For real?? I have no icing sugar. None. Never fear. Icing sugar is just powdered sugar, right? I'll just whiz some up in the blender. Worked quite well. I imagine it would have worked even better if I didn't start with a sticky brown sugar...

Anyway, after all that a few over liberal doses of food colouring, my inability to pipe wheels on a vertical surface and an argument over spoon licking rights seemed mere molehills in a day of rough mountainous terrain.

We finally finished making the cake, Meg was ecstatic with it and K even came home early to enjoy it with us.


Blowing out the candle. Too many figurine passengers to safely do more candles. And yes, she is wearing a pretty pink party dress and a towelling shower cap- over dry hair. You mean you don't?


From the front.

And some wheel detail coz damn I'm proud of these lopsided, sagging, misshapen wheels!


Oh and look, a head of broccoli in a bowl, wilted flower (Amy collects windfall so they never stand a chance) and natto and rice still life in the background...

Happy 6th Birthday Meg!

10 件のコメント:

illahee さんのコメント...

that is an awesome cake, heather!! i'm afraid my kids will have the round variety for a number of years, even though i have cake decorating training!! i'm really impressed with your train cake!

Kim さんのコメント...

WOW! Great job!!! I have done the whiz sugar in the blender for icing sugar - a recipe said to put some katakuriko in it too. Don't remember why I needed it, but guess it must have worked.

You are a stellar mother!!! BTW, my birthday is next week. I'd like a round chocolate cake with fudge chocolate icing!! HHAHA!! I'll have to call your mom!

anchan さんのコメント...

Nice save, Heather!! And the end result looks great - I bet Meg was thrilled! Oh, you made me laugh... I often find ingredients sitting on the counter after putting the dish in the oven, eggs on more than one occasion. We are entering birthday season in our house and I'll have three cakes to do within one month. I think I need to start taking the vallium...

Nay さんのコメント...

Wow, you did a great job on the cake!! It looks fantastic!

Natto and rice... LOL! Kind of reminds me of my choice for years and years - sausages and chips, lol!!

Semsavblanc さんのコメント...

Absolutely beautiful post!
Legendary cake! I've been loving your blog! Thanks for sharing.

thefukases さんのコメント...

illahee- you have cake decorating training? I'd love to see some of your stuff. I am seriously, seriously amateur but luckily my girls think anything with sugar and food dye is just amazing- a candle? bliss! So we're all happy.

Kim- wow, I guessed that it would need something and added cornstarch (what I had seen and assumed was icing sugar in the first place) and it worked quite well. I don't have a food processor so it was a little grainy still but still saved the day! Hmmm, your birthday? I make a wicked chocolate cake with coffee cream and chocolate icing? maybe some raspberries or dark cherries in there, too? Unfortunately we don't deliver to Kanto so you'll have to eat in. :)

anchan- I was imagining your amazing teddy bear cake the whole time I was making my train and (again) marvelling at your skills and wondering why you don't go into business (and deliver to Nagano!!) I can't wait to see what you make for your family. And I feel way less silly knowing that other people forget ingredients too!

Nay- love it sausages and chips. I think if Meg grew up in Australia that would be her request- or a vegemite sandwich! That would give me palpitations though as I can't fry stuff.

semsavblanc- thanks. I'm just glad it's over! I still have three weeks to come up with a pink chocolate star cake with a door (?) for Amy....

Lily さんのコメント...

Happy Birthday Meg. The cake looks great.
Aoki San sounds like a catch- I would trade my husband in for one of her *lol*- does the woman have children?

A BIG THANK-YOU- I just received the package of books, they look like good reads. I like Murakami's work but haven't read the one you sent so I am particularly looking forward to indulging in that one.

Midori さんのコメント...

What an AMAZING cake. I am not going to show it to Joey or he will want one for his next birthday! Puts my anpanman birthday cake to shame! LOL!
I love that she wanted natto and rice for dinner, Joey would totally ask for the same thing although obviously, natto is a bit harder to come by here.

Midori さんのコメント...

PS- My request was always my Mum's noodles. the good thing is that in Malaysia they believe that eating noodles on your birthday is good luck so you MUST eat noodles. :-) She still makes them for me even now...

Gaijin Wife さんのコメント...

Happy Birthday Meg! Great cake - I too am not good with the pen decorating cake thing. Wheels were oreos. I am pretty sure Marina will want a crab cake as only word she can say properly. Am wondering how that will go!! At least it doesnt have any wheels!!