Monday, May 1, 2017

What's Gonna Come Shootin' Out?!?

Soooo the only reason I'm telling you that today is (was?) my birthday is so I can show you this cake my sisters and A-train made for me. As your classic introvert, birthdays are a conflict between "please don't make me the center of attention" and "don't forget about me either." As I'm inching closer to the door of forty years old, I had a rough time confronting this one. I have always abhorred this growing up business--nobody asked me if I ever wanted to do it, and I don't, and it's not really fair.

OK, so cake. In the interest of trying to watch my caloric intake, I told my mother a fruit tart would serve well as a birthday cake. The female siblings had other pinterest-inspired ideas. Apparently the making of this cake was quite chaotic, and I was warned like so:
"So, Alicia and I [Rachel is doing the talking] made you something. It's a cake. Aaaaand we think it's ok. I mean...the inside should be cute...we think it's was'll have to wait until you see it. But we just wanted you to know it's not perfect. But our intentions were really good. So it might not look just right....but we meant well and we really tried hard. But we just want you to know it might look a little homemade. But it's going to taste good. But it was hot yesterday, and we didn't realize how much harder that would make's not perfect. That's all."
With an intro like that, my brain was swirling with what exactly they were talking about. I thought maybe they went for a rainbow cake and everything mixed on the inside and would be some strange shade of brown. When we went into the kitchen, there was some concern that the cake had shifted in the container on the drive over and that things would be a smooshy mess, and that layers would upend themselves when the lid came off. BUT--the lid came off, and this cake was probably one of the most "me" cakes you could make--

Polka dots, and red icing and the little heart!!! That heart apparently was a point of contention. One sister thought it was verging on "too much" and the other knows that when it comes to certain things I'm quite Victorian in my "more still isn't enough" approach. Rachel told A-train "Don't bump Aunt Leesh while she's writing on the cake." And he didn't. He stepped on her foot instead. Those little fruity gigantic non-pareils were a labor of love, apparently, in getting them to stick to the sides of the cake (and were a fiasco in and of themselves when A-train went to shake the container and the lid was off and they went everywhere). I declared the cake perfect, and that was that.

We had dinner, a bunch of us went for a walk, and then we came back for cake and tea. A-train insisted on putting the candles in the cake--

My mom and sisters were telling him "You have to put the candles in a certain way!" which is code for "symmetrically." He did it the same way he decorates Christmas trees--everything in one spot. It was a bit tricksy lighting the candles and keeping your fingertips fire-free.

The song was sung, a wish fervently made (I even closed my eyes and crossed my fingers, so you know it's legit--I take wish-making very seriously), and candles blown out. I went to cut the cake and was told "Make the first piece a nice big one." As I cut down, something felt funny, and I thought "OH my goodness, this must be what they messed up! I actually feel it!" So I made my two cuts, and was told "OK, take it out." I said "What's gonna come shooting out of this thing?" As I removed the gigantic slice, I heard a bit of a clatter. And this! This was the center of the cake--

Four layers, two partial, stuffed with M&M's, iced all around, with jimmies (you probably know them as sprinkles) everywhere, and red icing with a heart on top. They even picked out the brown candy so that it would be nothing but color.

As they told the tale of how this cake came to be, I could sense the tension that must have been in the room with two perfectionists (but in different ways) and a "helpful" little boy trying to pull off a layer cake in a hot kitchen. I'm surprised they all made it out alive.

And in case you're wondering--it tasted just as perfect as it looked. It certainly made this year's trip around the sun a little easier to swallow.


  1. HAPPY BDAY HON!!! Many happy returns!! (I am also on the wrong side of 35... almost... and I am quite miffed, I still feel like 23 and dancing all night long, and flirting with unsuitable boys, which my husband doesn't like, ha!!) Anyway, that cake is AMAZING! It's too bad I have a mom and sister who can't bake for the life of them, so I may have to do my own baking in a few weeks ;-) I bet you were amazed and I hope you had a really good day!

    1. Thanks! I can hardly believe I'm 39--sometimes I feel 12, and the oldest for sure about 25. If I stop and think about it I might cry, but not because of the number--because of how quickly it goes. As for the cake--I got that little 'Oh no!' flutter in my chest because I had no clue what the knife was hitting. I love picturing the chaos that must have swirled around the creation of this, haha!

  2. What a lovely cake. And happy birthday Bethany. What's best about the cake is the story of how it was made, rite? It's the effort! You're still so young. You have another decade before very quickly in succession, parts of your body start to break down. So enjoy your next decade.

  3. Happy Birthday Bethany!!! What a great cake and fun story. Enjoy the rest of your day!

  4. A PiƱata Cake! I made one for my granddaughters 5 th birthday. It was filled with M&Ms and rainbow sprinkles. So much fun! It does feel weird when you cut it and hit that lumpy center. How nice it was for them to surprise you like that! I think the decorations are just perfect. Happy birthday and thanks for sharing!

  5. My motto- I may be getting old but I refuse to grow up. You can use it, too, if you like.
    I love your cake.

  6. Happy birthday! Time does indeed pass too quickly, but at least you got a fun cake with a fun story out of it!

  7. Happy Belated Birthday sweet girl! What a fabulous cake! All of those goodies, inside and out!!!
    I cannot believe you are close to 40! No way. Seems like we once discussed you being very near to my daughter's ages.
    Anyways.....hope it was great. You are obviously well loved indeed!
    xo Kris

  8. I can hardly believe it but that's what my birth certificate says! Sometimes I'm 12, sometimes I'm about 25. never 39.



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