It’s birthday weekend here—Caly turns 4 on Saturday and Jack turns 7 on Sunday. (Funny fact: all three of our “oldests” were born in February—Andrew turned 10 just two weeks ago.)
Speaking of birthdays, I recently discovered that I’m one of the only moms in America who does not know how to make elaborate, theme cakes for her children’s birthdays.
I really thought it was just my super-artsy friends (and Chef Duff on the Food Network) who made Cinderella’s castle with turrets and a drawbridge or a life-sized Washington Redskins football helmet. But apparently, most moms can design, bake, and decorate their child’s cake of choice, no problem.
This was news to me! You see, I never had a fancy cake growing up. Mom—God bless her—tried her best. She even took a cake decorating class. But as she laughingly says—“it just didn’t take.”
So, like her mother before her, she decorated our cakes with edible candy letters that said “Happy Birthday!” with extra letters for the name, and little stars you could put candles in. We thought it was great. We didn’t know we were missing anything.
Being less artistic than my mother, I never even thought about making a fancy cake for my children—until last year when my son overheard that another kid was getting a “Thomas the Train” cake for his birthday (the things they pick up at church!).
So, I went to the grocery store bakery and blew half the birthday budget on a cake with an icing track and real trains. It was beautiful. And easy. And expensive.
This year I’m actually going to try this Lego cake. That’s because all I have to do is cut some big marshmallows in half, ice them, and stick them on top. I can handle that. I think. (I hope Jack still likes legos when he’s eighteen!)
But if the lego thing doesn’t work out, I can always rely on the edible candy letters, like my mother and grandmother before me. Because really, do I harbor deep-seated regret that my mom never made me a Strawberry Shortcake cake for my birthday? Not a bit.