We always have a family birthday tea for the kids’ birthdays. This is when we do the ‘good cake’. For parties we sometimes brought out the ‘good cake’ but then gave them all a ‘here’s one I prepared earlier’ slice of madeira cake in their party bag to take home! This is a tip I have from my very talented baker friend, Pauline, and meant that the last ten minutes of the party is not taken up with stressful cutting and wrapping of cake as parents arrive and kids want their party bags!
The ‘good cakes’ I refer to previously have all been bought from Tesco or made by Pauline. The cakes Pauline makes are OUTSTANDING. You know the cakes you see in magazines and think they look too beautiful to eat? Well, those are nothing on Pauline’s cakes!! We’ve had a very sweet ‘My Little Pony’ cake for Ruby with rainbows and glittery bits and a jurassic cake for Alexander with dinosaurs walking past an erupting volcano!
I am a reasonable enough cook, I’ll give most things a go, a, because I’ll eat almost anything and b, because it’s not that hard – you just follow step by step instructions and then you get a meal at the end. Baking is somethig else entirely though, if the eggs aren’t added at the right moment in the right conditions, the butter is the wrong temperature or the flour is stirred in wrongly then the whole thing can turn out badly. I make reasonable muffins and cupcakes and, if I say so myself, I make the best cookies and brownies I have ever tasted – proper cakes though are beyond me so I have never made A or R a cake before.
I decided to bite the bullet this year though and make Ruby a birthday cake.
I made a madeira cake with pink buttercream icing and then decorated it in a way I had seen on the bbc good food website – with chocolate buttons (slightly melted and covered in hundreds and thousands – this was a total faff, I should have just bought the ones you can get like that!) arranged in butterfly shapes. The one on the good food website was MUCH better but I let myself off – anything edible without a barcode was all I was aiming for!
(She has a bad case of ‘Licky Lip’ so her mouth looks a bit odd but she was smiling, honest!)
YOu can just see how hard it was for Alexander to keep a straight face there – he is right at the ‘pull a silly face whenever you are meant to be serious’ phase! So we made a bargain, one serious, one silly (except Michael, he only has one photo face!)
So endeth the birthday celebrations!