They Don’t Care If It’s Pinteresting

I don’t know why I put myself through the ringer. Last month when my daughter was turning seven, she requested an Ariel cake. Because I am always a day late and a dollar short, I waited too late to call the grocery store to put in my order so I was stuck making one myself.

You have to understand. I can bake, but I cannot make a pretty cake. When it comes to birthday cakes, I buy them. But in a moment of insanity, I thought that perhaps I could pull off one of those cakes where you make the cake in a bowl, and invert it to make a skirt, and then stick a Barbie doll (or in my case, an Ariel Barbie) in the top.

I was envisioning something like this:

source: Trina Dimino Davis via Pinterest

 Well, that didn’t go so well.

Fortunately I was ready with a backup plan. Knowing my lack of talent for cake decorating (not that I even got THAT far), I had picked up a Barbie candle (there were no Ariels) and some of those premade sugar decorations just in case I need to drop back and punt.

Drop back and punt is exactly what I did.

My second attempt didn’t turn out MUCH better, although at least the cake cooked evenly. Barbie, however, did NOT want to stand up. Here she is, swimming in a sea of icing.

Finally, after much finagling, I managed to get her to stand up. I quickly plopped some sugar candies around her and decided to call it a day while I was still ahead.

My daughter entered the kitchen as I was putting the last candle in her cake. She took one look at the second cake, and exclaimed with awe and appreciation in her big blue eyes:

Mommy! Now THAT is a BEAUTIFUL cake!!!!!

WHY do I bother trying to be all fancy?? She was perfectly happy with a cake that looked like the ones we used to make in our college dorm.

Last night was my son’s 13th birthday. He specifically requested my homemade chocolate cake so buying a professionally decorated cake was out. Once again I got it in my head to try something creative.

Part of his birthday gift is getting to open his own Facebook account, so I started searching for Facebook cakes on Pinterest. I mean, really. HOW HARD CAN IT BE to make a cute cake?

I love this…

source: Claudia_Riegler via Pinterest

But I don’t do fondant.

And the family likes chocolate frosting on their chocolate cake.

So I ended up with this.

That was NOT what I originally envisioned, mind you.

My vision included the Facebook logo framed in a blue box. When I decided not to bother with the blue box, I thought perhaps I could make the word FACEBOOK look kinda logo-ish. But as soon as I started working with the frosting, I knew I was going to have to keep it simple.

I had at LEAST wanted to print out a picture of my son and glue it to a toothpick and have it standing in the middle, but I ran out of time.

When 6PM rolled around and I was frosting his cake and still had to make dinner . . . well. This was the best I could do.

But you know what?

He didn’t care.

He looks happy, right?

And best of all, it tasted great!

At least, everyone said so. Unfortunately my gluten sensitivity wouldn’t allow me to indulge. But the proof is in the smiles.

Happy 13th birthday, buddy! You’re a teenager!!

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18 Responses

  1. Your kids are the sweetest. I love your girl’s darling comments on her cake. Personally, I enjoy seeing a “real” cake made by a regular mom. Those are some great cakes.

    Once my son was all gun-ho up over a spiderman cake. He’s quite the perfectionist and I sweated it out on decorating this cake. It was a bit grueling. In the end, he never ate one bite of cake. I got myself so worked up over the stupid cake and he didn’t even eat it. Never again. Not for this girl. You tell me the flavor of the cake and icing and then you get what you get. lol.


  2. LOVED this post. 🙂 Totally gave me tears in my eyes for two reasons – 1) I was cracking up reading it 2) I related SO WELL it just touched something emotional in me! I can’t tell you how many cake fails I have had with my kids and yet I get the same end result. A cake I am less than impressed with (and slightly embarrassed by) and a child that glees with delight over it. I was so worried last year for my 3 yr old’s birthday that he wouldn’t recognize that was supposed to be a fire truck sitting in front of him…a white fire truck with PINK outlining….the red didn’t go so well. It was so bad I don’t even think I took a picture of it. A far cry from the RED fire truck shape I had envisioned with the silver ladder and black outlined windows. Yeah, not quite. But yet, he LOVED it and still talks about it today as we creep towards his 4th birthday. 🙂 Always a good reminder that you do NOT have to be perfect to be your kids “perfect parent” and that is comforting to me. xoxo

      1. teehee. when i saw barbie laying down i though “oh mercy, she’s gonna draw an icing mermaid tail?!?” i feel SURE that’s what i would have tried to do. i’m just like you; i can envision it so clearly, but when i try to use my ham hands to create something? mayday. i’d have had to call in my husband to FIX IT SOMEHOW AND NO LAUGHING when it went horribly wrong.

  3. I loved this post too! I don’t have kids yet, but my sister always gets our grandmother to bake birthday cakes for my niece…they aren’t beautifully decorated but they sure are yummy! And, they are special to all of us…I mean, how many kids are able to have a birthday cake baked by their Great Grandmother? And it’s always nice to be reminded that perfection is way over rated in some situations! 🙂

  4. We have a tradition of homemade cakes in our house- some winners and others not so much. My favorite was a birthday cake made for me by my daughter. The icing didn’t come our right and she served it as sauce in our best gravy boat.

  5. Happy birthday to your son! My son turned 13 in March. Glad your kids liked your cake! Isn’t it funny how we put so much pressure on ourselves to make things perfect and then when we feel like we aren’t, our kids remind us that we really are perfect for them? It’s nice to have kids to teach us a life lesson every now and then. 🙂

  6. I LOVED this post!!!! And yes.. the same kind of stuff happens here all the time. I call it experimental cooking and I try the recipes I see online, but sometimes I forgot where and what I saw, but I just remember “it had these three ingredients,lemme guess the rest.. “

  7. That is so like me! Nothing ever works when I try to cook, bake, anything in the kitchen. (i’ m better with clean up). I get frustrated because I try to make it look just like the picture. Now that my daughter is 14 and the baker of the family, she usually comes to my rescue and makes the recipe work! Now she’s the one who makes the birthday cakes at our house! I did make a Barbie cake for my oldest, years ago, but I had my brother decorate it. He used to do cakes.

  8. Better tasty than magazine pretty. Magazine pretty often lacks taste. Your cakes immediately makes me want to dig in – no wonder the kids are happy!
    Love your post, the fact that you took the time and baked and then spent time together when the kids ate their cake – THAT’s what matters.
    That’s the right attitude

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