It is my son’s second birthday in precisely eight days, and you all know what that means. It’s time to get my annual bake-on.
Those of you who were playing along with Hugzilla blog this time last year might remember the resounding success I had making the rainbow (hornless) unicorn cake. It was a triumph in the sense that it wasn’t one of my usual disasters, the same way that getting home drunk in a taxi without vomiting is a triumph: still a bit messy and embarrassing, but no great cause for shame.
The cake was edible, it remained in one piece and it resembled something in the way of the original brief, besides the fact that during both the planning and assembling stages I forgot to incorporate the unicorn horn, the only thing (other than magic and perfume-scented flatulence) to distinguish it from a rainbow horse. My kids loved it anyway, and I hand-on-heart swear that my friend’s four year old daughter is so taken with it that she is insisting her mother bake the exact same design for her next birthday. She likes the rainbow snake dreadlocks, which I substituted at the last minute upon realising I was not up to the task of wrangling with multiple shades of coloured fondant.
So twelve months have passed and it is time to produce another elaborate masterpiece to give my son a lasting visible reminder that I love him, in that curiously modern way we parents have of expressing our warmth toward our offspring with Pinterest-ready piles of colour-coordinated gifts, mammoth statement cakes and impeccably-styled lolly jar buffets. I’m way too lazy to do all that shit so I’m just going to take a stab at the cake instead.
This is it.
My friend made it. She has impeccable style, she surrounds herself with beautiful things, she makes things look effortlessly perfect. Class. Pure class. I saw this when she posted a photo on our mother’s group Facebook page and I wanted it – nay, I coveted that bad boy in the most desperate way – so in my typically impetuous way I decided on the spot that 2014 was going to be the Year of the Bird, because that cake is awesome and it inspired me to aim higher and rise above my baseline state of casual mediocrity.
It’s going to be a birds nest. With real birds. Well, not “real” birds. I promise to draw the line at taxidermy, but I know already that this project is going to push me well out of my comfort zone because I think I would prefer the suspended decay of bona-fide avian corpses instead of artificial birds. Random fact about me: I have serious issues with plastic toys in or on cakes, so I’m not terribly sure how I am going to deal with that yet.
I point-blank refused to eat any of my four year old’s birthday cake last year because it featured a whimsical lunar tableaux made from crushed-up Crunchie bars, synthetic space shuttles and little plastic astronauts. Even looking at it made me feel ill, and looking back I can’t believe I inflicted that shit on my guests. They would have looked like total assholes for refusing cake at a four year old’s birthday party, so I unreservedly apologise to any of them who might be reading this.
To be fair, I once had to eat a cake that was made out of blue jelly with a bikini-clad Barbie doll stuck in it, so I figure it’s the karmic loop of kid’s birthday parties. I will never forget that pink, petrochemically-derived plastic doll reclining in Smurf-blue gelantinous goop, her blonde synthetic hair lolling about on clumps of jelly waves, all the while thinking “Fuck me, I have to eat this shit” whilst struggling to control my gag reflex as a courtesy to the host.
Cakes with Barbie dolls stuck in the middle of voluminous skirts of cake batter with sickly sweet slatherings of neon-hued buttermilk icing are THE WORST, and literally make my stomach roil, so with that in mind I’m starting to wonder what kind of damn idiot fool spontaneously decides to make a cake covered in plastic flying creatures as the design focal point. Me. That’s who.
And helpful as always, my husband in his maddeningly typical way took his way-too-literal interpretation of the design to the extreme, exclaiming “WHAT?!? Who wants a cake covered in lice and bird shit!?!”
You do, asshole. You damn well shut-up and pretend you do.
So yes, my son is going to have a cake covered in plastic fluffy toys, bird shit and lice for his second birthday. I am going to make it for him. And everyone is going to damn well eat it. Even me.